Airwolf themes

Airwolf Themes soundtrack
Soundtrack album
Released US:February, 1999
UK:February, 1999
Recorded November 1998
Genre Soundtrack
Length 73.32 minutes
Label GER Soundtracks – GERCD3
Producer Mark J.Cairns
Gerry R. Forrester

Airwolf Themes is a two-CD soundtrack album for the 1980s American action television series series Airwolf (1984–1986) The program concerned a supersonic military helicopter, codenamed Airwolf, and her crew as they undertook various missions, many involving espionage, with a Cold War theme.

The soundtrack was created over a five-year period by Airwolf fan Northern Ireland-based graphic designer, Mark J. Cairns in collaboration with original composer Sylvester Levay, with a foreword by the series' creator, Donald P. Bellisario.

The soundtrack's creation

After the original CBS series was cancelled in 1986, Mark J. Cairns headed the International Airwolf Appreciation Association for nearly 10 years (from 1988–1998) so he had an in-depth knowledge of the series including its music cues. There had been other cover versions of the distinctive Levay-penned main theme over the years but these tended to be quite different from the sound and feel of the original score. Due to various licensing issues at the time, Cairns decided in early 1994 to produce his own high-quality soundtrack for the series using the episodic scores from the first three seasons of the series to create the first 22 synthesizer-based tracks on the soundtrack, including various medleys and character themes. This was produced entirely by ear on Yamaha and Korg synthesizers, sequenced on an Apple PowerMac.

Finding Levay

But by early 1997, Cairns had felt there was something lacking in the production – the mainly orchestral themes, so a search was made for both the show's two main original composers, Sylvester Levay and Udi Harpaz. Levay had left Hollywood in the early nineties to move to Germany and Harpaz had moved back to Israel, so tracking them down had proven difficult to this point until Cairns found an on-line discussion fan forum for the first of Levay's musicals, Elisabeth (Musical), allowing him and fellow producer, Gerry R. Forrester to finally make initial contact.

They subsequently contracted Levay to create three special bonus medleys which would be mainly orchestral-based scores, composed and arranged from his character-driven 1st season works from the series. Levay then used the 80-piece Munich Philharmonic orchestra during a recording session on November 29, 1998 at SL Studios in Neuhausen, Germany. The tracks were subsequently mastered by Bernie Grundman in Hollywood (the engineer responsible for Michael Jackson's best-selling album of all time, Thriller and Bad albums. Cairns' CD1 was engineered and mastered at Einstein Studios in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

2CD Special Limited Edition

Once production of the two separate CDs was completed, including a 20-page liner booklet containing an exclusive Levay interview, the 'Airwolf Themes: 2CD Special Limited Edition' finally shipped during February 1999 to those who had reserved them six months beforehand, mostly Airwolf Appreciation Association' members although afterwards remaining copies shipped to many other countries purely from direct sales over the internet. Only 1000 copies were ever made.

eBay phenomena World Record soundtrack

By the turn of the Millennium the 'Airwolf Themes: 2CD Special Limited Edition' had become very collectible gaining regular eBay bids (being sold by people who'd reserved and bought more than one copy) in the region of $350–$510 per set. On the March 18, 2000 the bids culminated in a new record[1] for a television soundtrack when a set sold for $715.03 on eBay. This was subsequently broken on March 25, 2004 when a Washington-based seller sold his spare 2CD set for $765.03,[2] and then for a third time $981.74[3] on the March 10, 2006 remaining the 'Most Expensive Television Soundtrack of all Time'.

Re-Release for Digital Downloads

'Airwolf Themes' was re-released on December 20, 2007 as a digitally-remastered, downloads-only version through Pinnacle-Digital.com/7-Digital.  It has been released in AAC, MP3 and Windows Media Audio/WMA audio formats. It was later released via Apple iTunes Store during January 2008. Further outlets have been added since then.

Sequel Soundtracks

There will be two future sequel Airwolf soundtracks released.

The first digital download-only EP release, entitled 'Airwolf Main Themes' has been made available from late September 2009 and contains four tracks based on variations of the series' Main Theme from the first three seasons.

The second release 'Airwolf Extended Themes' will be a 2CD limited edition release in late 2012. Polish-born musician Jan Michal Szulew will be the main arranger and orchestrator this time concentrating on variations of the show's main theme tune with Mark J.Cairns producing episodic-based bonus tracks for the second CD release only.

Promo Videos

An official promo video teaser trailer was also released to promote all three Airwolf Themes soundtracks at the end of August 2009. Four additional video teaser trailers were also produced showing a wider range of the content of each individual EP track.

Track listings

'Airwolf Themes CD1 by Mark J.Cairns'

  • Main Theme – 3rd Season Opening titles (1:01)
  • 'THE AMERICAN DREAM' (5:26)
  • 'ANNIE OAKLEY' (4:36)
  • 'DAMBREAKERS' (3:24)
  • 'DESPERATE MONDAY' (4:43)
  • 'DISCOVERY' / 'HAWKE'S RUN' (3:33)
  • 'FALLEN ANGEL' (3:54)
  • 'FIGHT LIKE A DOVE' / 'BITE OF THE JACKAL' – "Coming Down" (1:30)
  • 'FORTUNE TELLER' (4:37)
  • 'HAWKE's RUN' / 'KINGDOM COME' – "Try and cut 'em off!" (2:23)
  • 'THE HUNTED' (2:41)
  • 'HX1' (2:37)
  • 'INN AT THE END OF THE ROAD' (3:37)
  • 'MAD OVER MIAMI' / 'PRISONER OF YESTERDAY' – "South America" (3:42)
  • 'PILOT' / 'MOFFETT'S GHOST' – "Moffet's Theme" (6:13)
  • 'NATURAL BORN' (2:09)
  • 'ONCE A HERO' (2:38)
  • Main Theme – 1st Season Closing titles (1:26)
  • 'SHORT WALK TO FREEDOM' (6:19)
  • 'SINS OF THE PAST' (2:16)
  • 'SWEET BRITCHES'--"Opening Chase" (1:34)
  • Main Theme – 2nd/3rd Season Closing titles (3:02)

'Airwolf Themes Special Bonus CD2 by Sylvester Levay'

  • Main Theme – Extended Aerial ("Red Star Test Run" – 'PILOT' Film Version) (3:35)
  • 'ECHOS FROM THE PAST" – Medley ("St John's Theme" / "Gabrielle's Theme") (3:33)
  • 1st Season – Medley ('ONE WAY EXPRESS' / 'MIND OF THE MACHINE' / "Moffet's Theme" / "Eagle's Serenade") (4:50)

'Airwolf Main Themes EP by Jan Michal Szulew'

  • 2nd–3rd Season Closing Main Theme (Extended) (06:00)
  • 2nd Season Minimalist Main Theme (Extended) (05:00)
  • 1st Season Synth Main Theme (Extended) (06:40)
  • Minimalist Main Theme (Extended) (06:12)

References

External links

  • Filmmuziek.com
  • Mfiles Review
  • Music from the Movies Review
  • More info on the world record
  • Airwolf Fans' Feedback on album
  • Soundtrack Collector
  • SoundtrackGuide.com Most Expensive CDs
  • Film Score Monthly interview
  • Internet Movie Database
  • ScoreTrack.net
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