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Raiders of the Lost Ark (soundtrack)

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Raiders soundtrack LP

The original Raiders of the Lost Ark LP

The soundtrack to Raiders of the Lost Ark was originally released on the Columbia Records label in 1981, and has been subsequently reissued by different labels on multiple occasions; the most recent edition is currently available from Concord Records.

The music was composed and conducted by John Williams, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Raiders of the Lost Ark's score is notable for the debut of the rousing and iconic composition "The Raiders March," which came to symbolize Indiana Jones. The score also features many other prominent themes - closely associated, mysterious themes for both the Ark of the Covenant and the Headpiece of the Staff of Ra, a tender, romantic theme associated with Marion Ravenwood and her relationship with Indy, and low, ominous brass phrases for the Nazi villains, hearkening back to 1940s film scores, among others. The score received an Oscar nomination for best original score, but lost to Vangelis's electro-synth based score for Chariots of Fire. Williams composed the march in the two separate segments. When he played them for Steven Spielberg, the director he told Williams that he liked them both, which led to the combined theme people know today.

As is Spielberg's custom with Williams' soundtrack releases for his movies, the director wrote brief liner notes for the original album, expressing his appreciation for Williams' efforts; these notes have been retained in the various subsequent editions, frequently alongside additional remarks by contributors to these later editions.

Original releaseEdit

Columbia Records released the initial version of the soundtrack album on LP and cassette in conjunction with the film's original 1981 release. This album configuration was later reissued on LP, cassette and CD by Polydor Records, but was out of print by the early 1990s.

Track listingEdit

  1. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (06:03)
  2. Flight From Peru (02:23)
  3. The Map Room: Dawn (03:55)
  4. The Basket Game (04:47)
  5. The Well Of The Souls (04:57)
  6. Desert Chase (07:41)
  7. Marion's Theme (03:10)
  8. The Miracle Of The Ark (06:11)
  9. The Raiders March (02:29)

Total time: 41:36

Expanded editionEdit

Raiders soundtrack

The expanded Raiders of the Lost Ark release

The soundtrack was rereleased in an expanded edition on LP, cassette and CD by DCC Compact Classics, Inc. in November 1995, with approximately 30 minutes of new and extended cues, plus a 24-page booklet containing extensive liner notes by Film Score Monthly's Lukas Kendall, along with production stills, behind-the-scenes photos and concept artwork (for the LP edition, the booklet contents were printed in the LP jacket gatefold).

The LP version of this release is a limited edition of 3000 copies, notable for an extended version of the track "The Well of the Souls" that runs six minutes longer than the CD / cassette version of the track. Though a subsequent 2008 release (see below) restores most of the additional material as a separate cue, about 36 seconds of this LP's version of "The Well of the Souls" remains unique to this album. Additionally, the extended version of "Desert Chase" found here (on both the LP and the CD) was not retained for the latest release.

The cover art for the LP jacket and CD booklet features the Richard Amsel art used for the movie's 1982 re-release poster.

Track listingEdit

  1. The Raiders March
  2. Main Title: South America, 1936†
  3. In the Idol's Temple‡
  4. Flight From Peru
  5. Journey to Nepal†
  6. The Medallion†
  7. To Cairo
  8. The Basket Game‡
  9. The Map Room: Dawn
  10. Reunion and the Dig Begins†
  11. The Well of the Souls‡‡
  12. Airplane Fight†
  13. Desert Chase‡
  14. Marion's Theme
  15. The German Sub/To the Nazi Hideout†
  16. Ark Trek†
  17. The Miracle Of The Ark
  18. The Warehouse†
  19. End Credits

†New tracks
‡Extended tracks
‡‡Extended tracks (LP only)

Total time: 73:35

The Soundtracks CollectionEdit

In November of 2008, Concord Records released Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection. The set included expanded editions of the first three films' soundtracks, the fourth film's soundtrack, and a bonus disc containing more previously unreleased music. The version of the Raiders soundtrack contained here was made available individually in February 2009.

The concert suite of "The Raiders March," which opened the previous album releases, was omitted from this album to facilitate the inclusion of more previously unreleased music. In the boxed set it has been moved to the beginning of the fifth disc, minus a coda appended to the track in its ealier releases. This release also reverts to the shorter original album edit of "Desert Chase," for which Williams himself expressed a preference.

This album's cover art reverts to that of the original Columbia / Polydor releases, featuring Amsel's art from the film's original 1981 release poster.

Track listingEdit

  1. In the Jungle
  2. The Idol Temple
  3. Escape from the Temple
  4. Flight from Peru
  5. Washington Men/Indy’s Home†
  6. A Thought for Marion/To Nepal
  7. The Medallion
  8. Flight to Cairo
  9. The Basket Game
  10. Bad Dates†
  11. The Map Room: Dawn
  12. Reunion in the Tent/Searching for the Well
  13. The Well of the Souls
  14. Indy Rides the Statue†
  15. The Fist Fight/The Flying Wing
  16. Desert Chase
  17. Marion’s Theme/The Crate
  18. The German Sub
  19. Ride to the Nazi Hideout
  20. Indy Follows the Ark
  21. The Miracle of the Ark
  22. Washington Ending & Raiders March

†Previously unreleased on CD

Total Time: 74:20

Aside from "The Raiders March," the boxed set includes one additional cue from this score, "Uncovering the Ark." The latter track contains most of the additional music in the 1995 LP's version of "The Well of the Souls" (see above), though about 36 seconds from that track remain available only on the DCC LP.

ReferencesEdit

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