In 1982, Harrison Ford starred in the science-fiction blockbuster, Blade Runner. This was a movie adaptation of the 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, written by Philip K. Dick. Depicted in the dystopian age of a futuristic Los Angeles, California in 2019, a group of bio-engineered synthetic humans flees to Earth as a means to escape from the powerful grip the Tyrell Corporation has on them. In the movie, Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a reluctant police officer that has agreed to chase the fugitive replicants down, led by Rutger Hauer’s character, Roy Batty. Blade Runner, as a movie and as a soundtrack, catered to the cyberpunk genre. The soundtrack received critical acclaim and was nominated in 1982 for best original score, recognizing composer Vangelis as the genius behind the music.
Blade Runner served as an inspiration behind the surge of additional science fiction programming, including video games. In 1993, Blade Runner was selected by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for the preservation of its cultural significance. Since the original release, there have been seven versions of the movie that was met with controversy due to changes made by studio executives. In 2007, The Final Cut version of Blade Runner was released as a twenty-fifth-anniversary edition that was digitally remastered and is the only version that kept the artistic vision of the movie’s original director, Ridley Scott. In 2017, there was a sequel to the original, Blade Runner 2049, which was directed by Denis Villeneuve as a means to cover the thirty-year gap, filling in the blanks of what happened in an effort to continue the popular storyline. The influence of the original Blade Runner, as a movie and as a soundtrack, continues to develop and maintain a loyal fan following that looks upon this science fiction material as a cult classic.
Ranking All The Songs from The Original Blade Runner Soundtrack
Blade Runner: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was regarded as the best work the Greek electronic musician, Vangelis, ever did. This served as an influencer of electronic music and was nominated at the Golden Globs for best original score. The futuristic sounds were revolutionary at the time, thanks to the heavy use of synthesizers as they drew jazz sounds, combined with neo-classical elements and Middle Eastern musical influence. Vocalist Demis Roussos and saxophonist Dick Morrissey had their talent featured on the soundtrack that served as instrumental contributors as to why it was such a favorite among critics and fans alike. Interestingly enough, the soundtrack to the movie was not released until 1994 but it left out much of the film’s music score and included compositions that were not used in the movie. There was a 1982 New American Orchestra rendition but was disowned by Ridley Scott and Vangelis. Later, 2007’s twenty-fifth-anniversary edition included the previously unreleased material, along with a disc of new music that was inspired by the film. There were numerous bootleg recordings that contained more comprehensive versions of the original music score, as well as improved sound quality.
The 1994 release featured the music score performed by Vangelis and there are twelve tracks on it. Described as influential and mythical, the heavy use of synthesizers featured in the soundtrack is the reason why it was so popular at the time. True to cyberpunk form, it was eerie, haunting, and inspirational that was loaded with whispered subtexts and revelations. The reason why it was not released in 1982 was Vangelis wanted to produce a completed project instead. This is why much of the music featured on the soundtrack was not in the original movie itself. However, this does not diminish the quality of the soundtrack and why it earned so much critical acclaim and became a fan favorite. Four of the tracks (“Main Titles”, “Blush Response”, “Wait For Me”, and finally “Tears in Rain”) feature samples of dialogue from the film. Tracks 1 through 4 are mixed together as a seamless piece; tracks 5 through 7 have silence between them, and the final tracks, 8 through 12, are mixed into another seamless piece.
12. Main Titles (performed by Vangelis)
(Main Titles) served as the start of a soundtrack that was about to take the listener on a journey that lasts less than three minutes shy of a full hour. Designed as an intro into a cyberpunk world featuring the dystopian culture of a city loaded with social issues, this instrumental work of genius composed by Vangelis was nothing short of spectacular. Adding to the aura of the song was hearing Harrison Ford addressing the computer to further investigate the fleeing replicants that were seeking freedom from a corporation’s grasp.
11. Blush Response (performed by Vangelis)
Composed and performed by Vangelis, (Blush Response) served as the second song on the soundtrack, serving as a slowdown from the build from (Main Titles). It was an excellent bridge leading to the hectic song that was about to follow, (Wait for Me). The narrative of the actors in their dialogue exchange starts the song as the eeriness of the musical sounds starts off as background noise before taking over the development of the song. In the movie, a blush response was described as a synthetic human’s response to a critical situation as a means to avoid getting shut down or destroyed.
10. Wait for Me (performed by Vangelis)
Starting off slow and suspenseful, along with hints of romance, the wavy ride of (Wait for Me) served as an enjoyable song of awe as it patiently guides the listener to take in the musical moment. Again, Vangelis used the genius of electronics and synthesizers to deliver a playful, yet sultry, performance.
9. Rachel’s Song (performed by Vangelis)
Soft, tranquil, yet futuristic, (Rachel’s Song) becomes even more dramatic when the female vocalist delivers a hauntingly beautiful delivery as a means to get caught up in the moment of a woman’s story which served as one of the main reasons why Blade Runner was so popular as a movie, to begin with. Vangelis was the genius behind the composition.
8. Blade Runner Blues (performed by Vangelis)
(Blade Runner Blues) plays out as an instrumental masterpiece for the bluesy genius it is, as composed by Vangelis. This flowy wave of futuristic-style music featuring the heavy use of synths provides the listener to this song with a musical ride that’s truly an exquisite experience. Just sit, close your eyes, and listen.
7. Tales of the Future (performed by Vangelis and Demis Roussos)
Dark and digital best describes (Tales of the Future) for its ominous delivery as a blend of Middle Eastern influence as an instrumental and vocal experience. The lyrical performance came from Demis Roussos, an Egyptian singer best known for his progressive vocal performance of the Greek rock group known as Aphrodite’s Child.
6. Damask Rose (performed by Vangelis)
(Damask Rose) was a spacey and dark song performed by Vangelis that beautifully used a Middle Eastern performance of the violin, along with familiar-sounding instruments that have made music from the Egyptian culture such a solid favorite.
5. Blade Runner (End Titles) (performed by Vangelis)
(Blade Runner (End Titles)) served as an energetic finale that heavily used the electrified composition of synths and other sounds to bring forth a fantastic ride that made the listener feel like they’ve just boarded a spaceship, taking flight through an imaginative wave that actually served as inspiration for video game developers as they became the pioneers behind some of the science fiction games the gaming community has come to love so much. This incredibly dramatic composition was by Vangelis, who really brought home the feel of futurism that still works today, even though we’ve already moved beyond the 2019 date Blade Runner’s idea of the future looked like.
4. Tears in Rain (performed by Vangelis)
The song starts with dialogue as the soft music in the background slowly works its way to the forefront, delivering an emotional performance that gave (Tears in Rain) justice. Vangelis was nothing short of genius as he delivered one of the best soundtracks ever put together in movie history.
3. One More Kiss, Dear (performed by Don Percival)
The classic sounds of Don Percival as he performed (One Mor Kiss, Dear) beautifully laid out a lyrical love story that contrasted the futuristic sounds that had dominated the entire movie and soundtrack of Blade Runner. This song serves as a refreshing blast of the past in a world that seemed so cataclysmic.
2. Memories of Green (performed by Vangelis)
From Vangelis’ 1980 album, (See You Later), (Memories of Green) was used in the movie and the soundtrack, brilliantly displaying the reason why the Greek musician who specialized in electronic sounds was chosen as Blade Runner’s composer for the movie, as well as the soundtrack. The piano involved in this song lays out a heartfelt reminisce of what was, what is, and how it can fuel what tomorrow can be among romantic hopefuls who prefer a life of tranquility over chaos.
1. Love Theme (performed by Dick Morrissey)
Love songs and saxophones simply go together, period. (Love Theme) was no exception as Dick Morrissey beautifully performed a song that was designed to set a romantic tone as a means to accompany the gentle ambiance.