Monday, March 4, 2013

Now Hear This: The Transformers™ The Movie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


     The Transformers™ The Movie came out in August of 1986 and took place in the distant future when the distant future was 2005. The script was written by Ron Friedman, who had previously written 32 episodes of Fantasy Island. The film featured the historic final performance by Orson Welles. I'm guessing he'd envisioned a loftier swan song to a legendary career. Not that the film is entirely without merit. My brother and I went to see The Transformers The Movie in the theater when it came out, we were just kids but we were quite impressed. Director Nelson Shin, who would later work on The Simpsons, created quite the spectacle. Spoiler alert: they even killed off Optimus Prime.

     As impressed as I might have been with the movie at the time, it has not held up as well as its awesome hard rock soundtrack. The most famous song from the album is obviously "The Touch" by Stan Bush. 

The song showed up ten years later in Boogie Nights.

     Stan Bush released a self-titled album on Scott Bros in 1983. Scotti Bros also released The Transformers™ The Movie soundtrack, so I guess that's how Bush landed two songs on it, "The Touch" and my favorite song on the album, "Dare."

     Scotti Bros released a second album by Bush in 1987, Stan Bush & Barrage, the album included "The Touch" but not "Dare." Bush has gone on to release at least ten more albums which are peppered with more great melodic rock songs like "Dreamin'."

"The Transformers Theme" was performed by the heavy metal band Lion.

     Lion formed in L.A. in 1983 and made their recorded debut with "Love Is A Lie" from the Friday the 13th Part IV soundtrack. Scotti Bros released a full length album by the band in 1987 called Dangerous Attraction. There had been a previous kick ass EP, Power Love, most of which was re-recorded for the band's second full length album, Trouble In Angel City. They were a cool band, check out "Armed and Dangerous" from Dangerous Attraction:

     Lion guitarist Doug Aldrich joined Hurricane for their Slave to the Thrill album and is currently in Whitesnake. He also had an alright band called Bad Moon Rising with Lion vocalist Kal Swann and the rhythm section from Hurricane.

     The Transformers™ The Movie soundtrack also features two songs by a mysterious band called Spectre General. For some reason this was actually the Canadian band Kick Axe going by a different name. Both of their songs are recycled but really good, especially "Nothin's Gonna Stand In Our Way."

     The song had previously been performed by John Farnham (the only Australian artist to have a number one single in five consecutive decades) on the Savage Streets soundtrack.

     The other Spectre General/Kick Axe song "Hunger" had been recorded and released the previous year by King Kobra on their Ready To Strike album.

     My second favorite song on the soundtrack (after Stan Bush's "Dare") is "Instruments of Destruction" by N.R.G. I don't know what N.R.G. stands for but it says on Wikipedia that the band formed in 1979 and opened for bands like Extreme and Judas Priest. They never released another song that I know of, but "Instruments of Destruction" is great.

N.R.G. singer Les Brown later formed a cool band called Damn Cheetah. I have their CD!

     The soundtrack is rounded out by three instrumental pieces by Vince DiCola (who also wrote the score for Rocky "I must break you" IV) and "Dare To Be Stupid" by Weird Al Yankovic. When Devo singer Mark Mothersbaugh heard "Dare To Be Stupid" he wrote Weird Al a letter telling him he had written "the perfect Devo song" and in Weird Al's episode of Behind the Music Mothersbaugh related that he "was in shock" when he heard it. 

"It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard," he said.

     I love Devo and Weird Al, by the way.

     When the soundtrack for the insanely horrendous Transformers reboot came out in 2007 it was a load of shit, but they did put Cheap Trick on the soundtrack of the second heinous atrocity of a film, Revenge of the Vomit or whatever it was called.


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