Friday, November 14, 2014

Nightmares & Soundscapes: The Music Of The A Nightmare On Elm Street Series

Right here seems to be the perfect stop on the journey to discuss some of the music coming from the Elm Street films.  Freddy was launching into the pop culture, and floating right in to the MTV generation.  And with such, you had to get all the hot music acts and have a song from your movie to sell a soundtrack.  Not many other of Freddy's horror bretheren did this.  There might be a notable song or two in a movie, but no big cash in soundtrack.  But, Freddy was coming from a studio growing and trying to become a major player.  Making dollars where you could was part of the process.  With Dream Warriors, Freddy's launch into superstardom came with a soundtrack that also brought a lot of excitement and attention.  Let's go through the films with notable music in the series and take a look shall we?  The year listed is the year it was attached to the film, not the year the song was released.

1985 - Fonda Rae wit Wish "Tuch Me (All Night Long)
From A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

Proving Elm Street 2 was even more ahead of its time was this song.  This predates the Cathy Dennis rendition which became a big hit later in the decade.  This was a solid, smaller scale hit at the time.  Word has it, this was just a demo lying around of a song hoping to be made into a single by a popular artist that the crew of the film just grabbed and put into the movie.  Forever linked to this movie, I cannot hear this song and not think of Jesse cleaning his room.

1987 - Dokken "Dream Warriors
From A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

If you know at least one song from the Freddy movies, its more than likely this one.  This gloriously 80s hair metal song still kicks ass years later.  Helping matters on selling the song is that Robert England and Patricia Arquette featured in the video which featured their interaction with the band.  So it became big time on MTV too.  It was such a big deal too that the video was featured on the VHS home video releases.  "Stay tuned after the film for the music video from Dokken!".  There was even a sticker on the cover reminding you.  This is Freddy's song, plain and simple.  It also makes me excited to watch the film every time I see it.

1987 - Freddy's Greatest Hits

A soundtrack wasn't enough for Freddy.  Nope.  He put out his own album too.  This featured a lot of known old school tunes redone with Freddy lyrics.  "The Elm Street Group" is a bunch of studio back up singers and soloists that do much of the singing.  However, Robert England does lend his vocals to all the tracks for more than just speaking too.  This album is pretty embarrassing and bad, but its a relic of its time and a big time collector's item for fans.  Where did Freddy start become less scary?  Was it the one-liners or was it products like this one?  

1988 - The Dream Master Soundtrack

This soundtrack was huge.  Following the success of Dokken, they went all out and banded together to make one giant MTV friendly Freddy soundtrack.  The songs are all over the movie.  It features big time popular artists like Blondie, Billy Idol, The Divinyls and Sinead O'Connor lending songs.  I'm going to focus on the ones that were special to it or promoting it.

The Fat Boys "Are You Ready For Freddy?"

Another song that had a video that featured Robert England involved with the story of the video.  Oh, and he doesn't just wander around, he raps too.  The Fat Boys buy Nancy's old house and get scared wandering through it.  You wouldn't dare do something like this video with a horror icon today, but these were different times and the vibe of this video definitely suits the film its representing.  

Vinnie Vincent Invasion "Love Kills"

Here's your basic video where the band plays their song on one of the sets from the film and its interspersed with clips from the movie.  This is pretty much the hair ballad response to "Dream Warriors".  There is apparently some contractual agreements with this music video and song as its never been allowed to appear on any of the DVD or Blu-ray releases of the film.  Not a big loss in this day and age as you can just go to YouTube and watch it.

Tuesday Knight "Running From This Nightmare"

Tuesday Knight not only starred in the film, she got to have a piece of the soundtrack too.  In fact, this song opens up the movie when we are introduced to her.  So we get introduced to her in two mediums at the same time.  She was one of those artists trying to do both the music and film thing.  She released two albums back in her heyday and did a lot of music for television.  When it all comes down to it, this movie might be both her best known role and song.

Dramarama "Anything Anything"

I wasn't familiar with Dramarama as a band or this song at all during the time it was popular.  Maybe its not one that was particularly recorded for this movie, but I always associate it with this film.  There was a scene in the film where its prominently on display.  The song was a hit single for the band.  Its only been a few times where I've heard it randomly somewhere I'm shopping or whatnot, but I flash immediately to Elm Street 4 when I hear it.  So, I'm including it here.

1988 - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "A Nightmare On My Street"
From the album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper

Will Smith and Freddy Krueger, forever tied by a song.  This one featured sampling of the Elm Street score as well as some Freddy lines.  The lyrics are also all about the Fred man.  Likely due to contractual rights and such this never wound up on a soundtrack. But, without it on one, it just goes to show how big the popularity of the series was if a super popular music group decided to dedicate their time to making a song about it.  I'm telling you, Freddy was humongous as the 80s were coming to a close.  Something I don't think people fathom right now or exactly remember just how big he was.

1989 - Romeo's Daughter "Heaven In The Backseat"
From A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Dream Child's soundtrack was half hair metal and half hip hop.  However the only true to the soundtrack songs were two hair metal ones.  This one is metal hair pop in high gear.  This one pretty much seems like they made some other video for this song and then when it was tacked onto the soundtrack they added clips from the movie as an afterthought.  Its a common practice, but seems pretty obvious here.  Where Dream Master's soundtrack was huge, it seems Dream Child was scaling back on trying to go big.  I didn't remember this song from the movie, and when I listened to it writing this, it still didn't sound familiar.

1989 - Bruce Dickinson "Bring Your Daughter...To The Slaughter"
From A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Dickinson wrote this one for the soundtrack, but it became a much bigger song when he took it to his band Iron Maiden and re-recorded it later on.  I don't really have much to say about the song aside from that little piece of trivia.  It didn't have a music video either.

1991 - Goo Goo Dolls "I'm Awake Now"
From Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

This is Goo Goo Dolls pre-"Iris" and even years before their breakout album A Boy Named Goo.  Its a video that features the band falling asleep watching Freddy on TV and then running around in an old theatre with flashlights as a guy dressed like Freddy chases them around.  I say "a guy dressed like" as I'm pretty sure that's not Robert England with how they're filming them.  The Goo Goo Dolls also display why their acting careers never took off.  Not everybody can be Tuesday Knight.

Il Nino "How Can I Live"
From Freddy Vs. Jason

By the time this came out I was pretty much done with Rap Rock Metal.  And this song sounds like any random, generic tune from that era.  This video is also incredibly lame.  Its just repeated clips of an attractive girl walking on a street they tell us is "Elm Street" and then she trips and lands on a sewer grate.  That's it.  Oh and she wakes up...cuz that horrific event was all a dream!  Woooooo!

That's pretty much it for the songs.  There is a song that plays at the credits of the first film, but I couldn't find it anywhere, and its pretty insignificant.  Both Wes Craven's New Nightmare and the remake also included no songs noteworthy and I don't think either had soundtracks.  So yeah, Freddy has been tied plenty to pop music, which gave him a pretty big lift in becoming one of the biggest pop culture icons of the 1980s and still keeping him in our memories today.

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