Blade Runner (soundtrack)

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Blade Runner
Film score by
ReleasedJune 6, 1994
RecordedDecember 1981 – April 1982
StudioNemo (London)
Vangelis chronology
1492: Conquest of Paradise
Blade Runner
Foros Timis Ston Greco

Blade Runner is the soundtrack album for the 1982 film Blade Runner, composed by Greek electronic music composer Vangelis. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by director Ridley Scott. The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—it was nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. The soundtrack is regarded as a historically important piece in the genre of electronic music.

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 (Vangelis's former bandmate in Aphrodite's Child) and saxophone by Dick Morrissey on "Love Theme". 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.


Initial release[edit]

Blade Runner
Film score by
LabelFull Moon
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]

"Memories of Green" originally featured on Vangelis' 1980 album, See You Later.[3]

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 "End Titles", "Memories of Green" and "Love Theme" from Blade Runner, as the first appearance of the original versions of those tracks.

Official Vangelis score[edit]

1994 release[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Q4/5 stars[5]
Sputnikmusic4.5/5 stars[6]

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 #20 position in the UK album charts.[7] In 2013 it reached #14 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums chart.[8] It has been variously described as "influential and mythical",[9] "incredible and pristine",[10] "evocative",[11] and "the pinnacle of synthesiser soundtracks".[12]

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:[13]

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.

Three of the tracks ("Main Titles", "Blush Response", and "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.

Official Vangelis score
1. Main Titles (3:42)
2. Blush Response (5:47)
3. Wait for Me (5:27)
4. Rachel's Song (4:46)
5. Love Theme (4:56)
6. One More Kiss, Dear (3:58)
7. Blade Runner Blues (8:53)
8. Memories of Green (5:05)
9. Tales of the Future (4:46)
10. Damask Rose (2:32)
11. Blade Runner (End Titles) (4:40)
12. Tears in Rain (3:00)
Total disc time: 57:53

2007 release[edit]

Blade Runner Trilogy, 25th Anniversary
Film score by
ReleasedDecember 10, 2007
LabelUniversal Records
Vangelis chronology
Blade Runner Trilogy, 25th Anniversary
El Greco Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars [14]
BBC Musicpositive[15]
Filmtracks2/5 stars[16]
Pitchfork7.7 stars on a 10 point scale[17]
Soundtrack.Net2/5 stars[18]

Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary, 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. Each track is a separate piece, separated by silence, rather than any them of being mixed together seamlessly as was the case with all but three tracks in the 1994 version.

25th Anniversary Disc #2 25th Anniversary Disc #3
1. Longing (1:58) 1. Launch Approval (1:54)
2. Unveiled Twinkling Space (1:59) 2. Up and Running (3:09)
3. Dr. Tyrell's Owl (2:40) 3. Mail from India (3:27)
4. At Mr. Chew's (4:47) 4. BR Downtown (2:27)
5. Leo's Room (sic) (2:21)[19] 5. Dimitri's Bar (3:52)
6. One Alone (bonus track) (2:23) 6. Sweet Solitude (6:56)
7. Deckard and Roy's Duel (6:16) 7. No Expectation Boulevard (6:44)
8. Dr. Tyrell's Death (3:11) 8. Vadavarot (4:14)
9. Desolation Path (bonus track) (5:45) 9. Perfume Exotico (5:19)
10. Empty Streets (6:16) 10. Spotkanie z matką (5:09)
11. Mechanical Dolls (2:52) 11. Piano in an Empty Room (3:37)
12. Fading Away (3:32) 12. Keep Asking (1:29)
Total disc time: (43:17) Total disc time: (48:14)

Although this release claims to be the "complete" score, there is still some music heard in the film that is missing (in sequential order):

  1. Longer-length track: "Main Titles", with prologue
  2. Heard in scene: Leon's Voight-Kampff test
  3. Heard in scene: Deckard meets Rachael for the first time (starting with the owl)
  4. Longer-length track: "Blade Runner Blues"
  5. Heard in scene: Deckard's dream, before, during and after the unicorn appears (1992 and 2007 film releases)
  6. Heard in scene: Deckard's dream (1984 US film release), actually an alternate recording of "Love Theme"
  7. Heard in scene: Deckard meets Abdul bin Hassan (the snake seller); continuing to Taffey Lewis's club
  8. Full track: before the "Love Theme" (called "I Am the Business" on the Esper Edition)
  9. Full track: when Batty walks around J. F. Sebastian's apartment (called "Morning at the Bradbury" on the Esper Edition)
  10. Missing prelude: "The Prodigal Son Brings Death"
  11. Heard in scene: Deckard enters the Bradbury and walks up the stairs
  12. Longer-length track: "Deckard and Roy's Duel" (which is an abbreviated version of "Dangerous Days" combined with "Wounded Animals")
  13. 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 these, "Desolation Path", is a slightly different version of "Alternate Love Theme/I Dreamt Music".[20] This track was originally used in the workprint version of the film, during the Deckard/Rachel love scene.

Instrumentation and methods[edit]

Vangelis recorded, mixed and produced the score for "Blade Runner" in his own recording space, Nemo Studios, in 1982. He utilised many contemporary electronic instruments in order to create the atmospheric soundscapes, which he crafted on an ad-hoc basis. This was done by viewing videotapes of scenes from the film in the studio, and then improvising pieces in synchronisation with the images on the screen.[21] He also applied the use of some foley techniques, using the synthesisers to produce diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. The most prominent synthesiser used in the score was the Yamaha CS-80, which can be heard in the opening scenes, and subsequently throughout the rest of the film. Other synthesisers employed by Vangelis included four Roland instruments: the ProMars, the Jupiter-4, the CR-5000 drum machine, and the VP-330 Vocoder Plus; a Sequential Circuits Prophet-10;[22] a Yamaha GS1 FM synthesizer; and an E-mu Emulator sampler. A Steinway grand piano, a Yamaha CP-80 electric grand and a modified Fender Rhodes were also used. He also utilised a variety of traditional instruments, including, gamelan, glockenspiel, gong, snare drum, timpani and tubular bells.[23]


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 Music" features most of the same material, but more of it. The Deck Definitive Edition came about in 2001, with 27 tracks. In 2002, the "Esper Edition" bootleg surfaced, followed by "Los Angeles, November 2019" in 2003. 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.

Studio tape[edit]

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.[24]

Bootleg tape (1982)
Side A Side B
1. Los Angeles, November 2019 (1:46) 9. Tales of the Future (4:46)
2. Leon's Interrogation (1:12) 10. Dangerous Days (1:02)
3. Lift-Off (1:10) 11. Wounded Animals (10:58)
4. Deckard Meets Rachael (1:29) 12. Tears in Rain (2:41)
5. One More Kiss, Dear (4:00) 13. End Titles (7:24)
6. Blade Runner Blues (10:19)
7. Love Theme (4:57)
8. The Prodigal Son Brings Death (3:35)
Total tape time: (55:19)

Off World Music[edit]

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.[25]

Off World Music Bootleg
1. Ladd Company Logo (0:24) John Williams
2. Main Titles and Prologue (4:03)
3. Los Angeles, November 2019 (1:46)
4. Deckard Meets Rachael (1:29)
5. Bicycle Riders (2:05) Gail Laughton
6. Memories of Green (5:39)
7. Blade Runner Blues (10:19)
8. Deckard's Dream (1:12)
9. On the Trail of Nexus 6 (5:30)
10. If I Didn't Care (3:03) Jack Lawrence [WP only]
11. Love Theme (4:57)
12. The Prodigal Son Brings Death (3:35)
13. Dangerous Days (1:02)
14. Wounded Animals (10:58)
15. Tears in Rain (2:41)
16. End Titles (7:24)
17. One More Kiss Dear (4:00) Skellern & Vangelis
18. Trailer and Alternate Main Titles (1:39) Robert Randles
Total disc time: 72:42

Gongo Music[edit]

In 1995, a disc from Romanian label, "Gongo Music, Ltd", was issued as a limited edition of 3000 copies. It contained mostly the same music as the Off World Music release, but included one track, "Blimpvert", which had not featured on any previous releases. This track contains an excerpt from "Ogi no Mato" by Ensemble Nipponia.[26]

Gongo Music Bootleg
1. Tema de Semnatura a Companiei Ladd (Ladd Company Logo) (0:25)
2. Titlurile si Prologurile Principale (Main Titles and Prologue) (3:58)
3. Los Angeles, Noiembrie, 2019 (Los Angeles, November 2019) (1:46)
4. Intalnirea lui Deckard cu Rachel (Deckard Meets Rachael) (1:28)
5. Ciclisti (Bicycle Riders) (2:12)
6. Amintirile Verdelui (Memories of Green) (5:40)
7. Tristetile lui Blade Runner (Blade Runner Blues) (10:20)
8. Visul lui Deckard (Deckard's Dream) (1:13)
9. La Procesul lui Nexus 6 (On the Trail of Nexus 6) (5:28)
10. Inca un Sarut, Draga (One More Kiss, Dear) (4:02)
11. Tema Iubirii (Love Theme) (4:59)
12. Fiul Multiubit Aduce Moartea (The Prodigal Son Brings Death) (3:34)
13. Blimpvert (Blimp Advertisements) (2:52)
14. Zile Periculoase (Dangerous Days) (1:03)
15. Animale Ranite (Wounded Animals) (10:59)
16. Lacrimi in Ploaie (Tears in Rain) (2:43)
17. Titlurile de Sfirsit (End Titles) (7:56)
Total disc time: 70:17

Deck Definitive Edition[edit]

In 2001, a 27-track CD from Japanese label, "Deck Art", was released as a limited edition of 500 copies with high quality sound. No tracklist was provided, but the disc contained material found on earlier bootlegs as well as music which had not appeared on any previous releases.[27]

Esper Edition[edit]

In 2002 a bootleg – Blade Runner: Esper Edition by "Esper Productions" – was created as a limited edition of 10 copies, providing a comprehensive Blade Runner soundtrack. It contains some background music that has never been released.[28]

Esper Edition Bootleg
Disc One Disc Two
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" (Bicycle Riders) written and performed by Gail Laughton
  • Vocals performed on tracks 3, 9 (disc I) and track 5 (disc II) by Demis Roussos
  • Vocals performed on "Rachael's Song" by Mary Hopkin
  • Saxophone on tracks 2 and 9 (disc II) by Dick Morrissey
  • 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)
  • "Salome's Dance" includes a snippet that the band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark expanded into the single "Junk Culture" from the album of the same name, released in 1984.

The Esper bootleg edition was expanded in 2017 and renamed the 'Retirement' Edition, consisting of six discs (five CD-DA and one DVD-ROM). It incorporated the missing tracks from the trilogy release.


In 2017, a sequel to Blade Runner was released, Blade Runner 2049. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch collaborated on the Blade Runner 2049 score, and the original Blade Runner soundtrack served as inspiration for their work. The composers included a Yamaha CS-80 analog synthesizer among the instruments in an effort to maintain stylistic continuity with Vangelis's original 1982 film score. Zimmer said of the soundtrack: "Ridley [Scott] is a hard act to follow – as is Vangelis. While Ben [Wallfisch] was four years old, I had actually experienced all of this. We watched and literally, as we stopped watching, we decided on the palette. We decided this wasn't going to be an orchestral thing. The story spoke to us."[29] The sequel score includes a fairly faithful remake of the original "Tears in Rain" (retitled "Tears in the Rain"), and borrows many musical cues from the original Vangelis score throughout, including its frequent use of pitch bending.


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[30] Gold 100,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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  2. ^ Eder, Bruce (2011). "Blade Runner (Not O.S.T.) - New American Orchestra | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Julian Cope presents Head Heritage". Julian Cope presents Head Heritage.
  4. ^ NME, 6/11/1994, p.32
  5. ^ Q, August 1994, p.130
  6. ^ ocelot-05 (January 15, 2006). "Vangelis - Blade Runner Soundtrack". Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Vangelis" (select "Albums" tab). Official Charts Company.
  8. ^ "Vangelis chart results". Billboard Biz. Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  9. ^ "RA: Vivid LIVE: Vangelis - Music From Blade Runner at Sydney Opera House, Sydney (2013)". Resident Advisor.
  10. ^ "The Music Writers Collective". The Music Writers Collective.
  11. ^ Alan McGee. "Massive Attack, Vangelis and other replicants". The Guardian.
  12. ^ Si Truss. "9 incredible synth film soundtracks". MusicRadar.
  13. ^ Vangelis (1994). Blade Runner Soundtrack. Warner Music UK. CD liner notes.
  14. ^ Jurek, Thom (2011). "Blade Runner Trilogy - Vangelis | AllMusic". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  15. ^ BBC Music review
  16. ^ Clemmensen, Christian (27 September 2009). "Blade Runner: (Vangelis)". Filmtracks. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  17. ^ Mike Orme (7 February 2008). "Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  18. ^ Koran, David (30 January 2008). "Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary Soundtrack". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  19. ^ Track 5 of the second disc is erroneously listed as "Leo's Room" (for Leon) on the back of the CD cover.
  20. ^ "Yahoo Groups/Blade Runner Soundtrack".
  21. ^ "Blade Runner".
  22. ^ "Landmark Productions: Vangelis - Blade Runner Soundtrack". MusicTech.
  23. ^ "Vangelis scoring Blade Runner".
  24. ^ Sammon, Paul (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. ISBN 0-7528-0739-0.
  25. ^ "Blade Runner Rarities, Off World Music".
  26. ^ "Blade Runner Rarities, Gongo Music".
  27. ^ "Blade Runner Rarities, Deck Definitive Edition".
  28. ^ "Blade Runner Rarities, Esper Edition".
  29. ^ "Blade Runner 2049 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Out October 5 - Epic Records". Epic Records. 3 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Vários – T.S.O. Blade Runner" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos.

External links[edit]