The Blade Runnersoundtrack was composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. Since the premiere of the film, two official albums have been released containing music omitted from the film and also new compositions featuring a similar style. An orchestral rendition of part of the soundtrack was released in 1982 by the New American Orchestra. However, the original soundtrack album (1994) features vocal contributions from Demis Roussos and the sax solo by Dick Morrissey on "Love Theme" (In the credits on page 3 of the 1994 Atlantic CD, Dick's last name is misspelled as "Morrisey"). The track "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' 1980 album See You Later was also included. A new release made in 2007 includes a disc of new music inspired by the film.
The film also features "Ogi No Mato" ("The Folding Fan as a Target" on Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Music from Nonesuch Records) by the Japanese group Ensemble Nipponia, and harpist Gail Laughton's "Pompeii 76 A.D." (from Harps of the Ancient Temples). Two songs used prominently in the workprint, "If I Didn't Care" by The Ink Spots and "Quran" by Brian Eno & David Byrne, were omitted from the Theatrical release of Blade Runner.
The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. Also, there was the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the film's end titles. The 1989 compilation Themes included some tracks from the film, but it was not until two years after the 1992 Director's Cut of the film that the score saw an official release.
The first official release (on LP, tape and CD) was a reinterpretation by the New American Orchestra in 1982. Billed as an "orchestral adaptation of music composed for the motion picture by Vangelis", this release consisted of jazz-inspired, orchestrated renditions of the major tracks from the film, but not the original score tracks.
New American Orchestra
1. Love Theme (4:12)
2. Main Title (5:01)
3. One More Kiss, Dear (4:00)
4. Memories of Green (4:50)
5. End Title (4:17)
6. Blade Runner Blues (4:38)
7. Farewell (3:10)
8. End Title Reprise (3:08)
Total disc time: 33:16
In 1989, Vangelis released Themes, a compilation album featuring unreleased music from several of his film scores, as well as material from non-film-related albums. The album includes the "End Titles", "Memories of Green" and "Love Theme" from Blade Runner, as the first appearance of the original versions of those tracks.
In 1994, an official recording of Vangelis' score was released by East West (Warner Music) in the UK and by Atlantic Records in the US. The album reached the top 20 in the UK album charts.
This release contained a twelve-page booklet consisting mainly of stills from the film. On page 3 there is a list of credits and the following by Vangelis:
Most of the music contained in this album originates from recordings I made in London in 1982, whilst working on the score for the film BLADE RUNNER. Finding myself unable to release these recordings at the time; it is with great pleasure that I am able to do so now. Some of the pieces contained will be known to you from the Original Soundtrack of the film, whilst others are appearing here for the first time. Looking back at RIDLEY SCOTT's powerful and evocative pictures left me as stimulated as before, and made the recompiling of this music, today, an enjoyable experience. (VANGELIS Athens, April 1994)
While most of the tracks on the album are from the film, a number were composed by Vangelis but were ultimately not used in the film itself. Other compositions that appear in the film were not included on this release.
A 3-CD set was released in 2007 to coincide with the 5-DVD release to mark the 25th anniversary of the film. It includes the 1994 official CD along with two bonus CDs, both compiled from original material by Vangelis. The second disc includes some previously officially unreleased material, but is still not complete, omitting the Main Title track, for example. The third disc contains new material inspired by Blade Runner.
Although this release claims to be the "complete" score, there is still some music heard in the film that is missing (in sequential order):
Longer-length track: "Main Titles", with prologue
Heard in scene: Leon's Voight-Kampff test
Heard in scene: Deckard meets Rachael for the first time (starting with the owl)
Longer-length track: "Blade Runner Blues"
Heard in scene: Deckard's dream, before, during and after the unicorn appears (1992 and 2007 film releases)
Heard in scene: Deckard's dream (1984 US film release), actually an alternate recording of "Love Theme"
Heard in scene: Deckard meets the snake guy, at the Snakepit/Taffey Lewis club
Full track: before the "Love Theme" (called "I Am the Business" on the Esper Edition)
Full track: when Batty walks around JF Sebastian's apartment (called "Morning at the Bradbury" on the Esper Edition)
Missing prelude: "The Prodigal Son Brings Death"
Heard in scene: Deckard enters the Bradbury and walks up the stairs
Longer-length track: "Deckard and Roy's Duel" (which is an abbreviated version of "Dangerous Days" plus "Wounded Animals")
Longer-length track: "End Titles"
The second disc, of previously unreleased music, contains additional music not present in the film, including two bonus tracks, one of which, "Desolation Path", is a slightly different version of "Alternate Love Theme/I Dreamt Music". This track was originally used in the workprint version of the film, during the Deckard/Rachel love scene.
The delays and poor reproductions of the Blade Runner score led to the production of many bootleg recordings over the years. A bootleg tape surfaced in 1982 at science fiction conventions and became popular given the delay of an official release of the original recordings, and in 1993 "Off World Music, Ltd." created a bootleg CD that would prove more comprehensive than Vangelis' official CD in 1994. A disc from "Gongo Records" features most of the same material, but more of it. The Deck Definitive Edition came about in 2001, with 27 tracks. In 2003, two other bootlegs surfaced, the "Esper Edition", closely preceded by "Los Angeles – November 2019". The double-disc "Esper Edition" combined tracks from the official release, the Gongo boot and the film itself. Finally "2019" provided a single-disc compilation almost wholly consisting of ambient sound from the film, padded out with some sounds from the Westwood game Blade Runner.
The first release of the Blade Runner score in any form was a tape suspected of coming from a sound engineer during the film's mixing. It was popular, despite subpar audio quality, given there were no plans to release a Vangelis score.
A second bootleg Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Blade Runner appeared in 1993 by "Off World Music, Ltd." on CD, which was of high quality and actually more comprehensive than the official release by Vangelis in 1994. This release includes the 1939 recording by R&B group The Ink Spots. "If I Didn't Care", that originally appeared in the workprint of Blade Runner, but was replaced by the Don Percival cut "One More Kiss, Dear" in the final version.
In 2002 a bootleg – Blade Runner: Esper Edition by "Esper Productions" – was created, providing a comprehensive Blade Runner soundtrack. It contains some background music that has never been released.
Esper Edition Bootleg
1. Prologue and Main Titles (3:54)
1. Deckard's Dream (1:10)
2. Leon's Voight Kampff Test (1:09)
2. Thinking of Rachael (1:18)
3. Sushi Bar – Damask Rose (2:46)
3. Esper Analysis (2:34)
4. Spinner Ascent (1:21)
4. Animoid Row (2:34)
5. Blush Response (5:43)
5. Taffey Lewis Night Club (2:02)
6. Wait for Me (5:12)
6. Salome's Dance (1:23)
7. Deckard Meets Rachael (1:36)
7. Zhora's Retirement (1:42)
8. Rachael's Song (4:20)
8. I Am the Business (2:29)
9. Tales of the Future (4:53)
9. Love Theme (4:58)
10. Bicycle Riders (2:10)
10. I Dreamt Music (4:32)
11. Chew's Eye Lab (1:15)
11. Morning at the Bradbury (3:46)
12. Memories of Green (5:35)
12. The Prodigal Son Brings Death (4:07)
13. Blade Runner Blues (10:01)
13. Deckard Enters the Bradbury (3:37)
14. Pris Meets J.F. Sebastian (1:47)
14. Dangerous Days (0:57)
15. One More Kiss, Dear (4:04)
15. Wounded Animals (10:53)
16. Tears in Rain (2:51)
17. Rachael Sleeps (2:08)
18. End Titles (4:06)
Total disc time: 55:46
Total disc time: 57:07
Esper Edition notes:
Original music composed and performed by Vangelis
"Harps of the Ancient Temples" written and performed by Gail Laughton
Performed on tracks 3, 9 (disc I) and track 5 (disc II) by Demis Roussos
Lyrics and vocals on "One More Kiss‚ Dear" by Don Percival (Note: the official 1994 release credits the vocals to Don Percival but the lyrics to English singer/composer Peter Skellern)
The Esper bootleg edition has since been updated in 2007 to be called the 'Retirement' Edition consisting of 6 discs (5 CD-DA + 1 DVD-ROM). It has incorporated the missing tracks from the trilogy release.