The Wicker Man (soundtrack)

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The Wicker Man
Soundtrack album by Paul Giovanni and Magnet
Released1998, 2002
GenreBritish folk rock
Length42:43 (1998 release), 39:41 (2002 release)
LabelTrunk (1998 release), Silva Screen (2002 release)

The Wicker Man is the soundtrack to the 1973 film of the same name. Composed, arranged and recorded by Paul Giovanni and Magnet, it contains folk songs performed by characters in the film (including some by members of the cast). For example, Lesley Mackie, who plays the character of Daisy in the film, sings the opening song, and various others in the CD Soundtrack. The songs were arranged to hint at a pre-Christian pagan European culture and vary between traditional songs, original Giovanni compositions and even nursery rhyme in "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep". Musicians forming the folk band in the film included Michael Cole (Bassoon and concertina) and Ian Cutler (Violin). This mix of songs contributes to the film's atmosphere, contrasting rabble-rousing songs that depict the island's community like "The Landlord's Daughter" and the child-sung "Maypole" with the sinister "Fire Leap" and the erotic "Willow's Song" before culminating in the islanders' rendition of the Middle English "Sumer Is Icumen In".

The opening music and "Corn Rigs" are arrangements of the Robert Burns ballads "The Highland Widow's Lament" and "Rigs O' Barley", respectively. The instrumental parts of the score are based on traditional Scottish, Irish, and English tunes such as "Miri it is" the oldest surviving middle English song fragment[1], the "Struan Robertson's Rant" strathspey (plays while Sgt. Howie searches the ship for Rowan)[2], the "Tenpenny Bit" jig (Plays while Lord Summerisle and MacGregor prepare for the festivities)[3], and "Drowsy Maggie" reel (plays while Sgt. Howie searches a house for Rowan)[4]. "Chop Chop" is based on the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons". "Procession" is an arrangement of the tune of the Child Ballad "Fause Foodrage".[5] Although some of the music is Scottish, and the film is set in the Hebrides, no traditional Scottish Gaelic numbers are featured.

Some of the songs (most notably "Willow's Song") have been covered by contemporary artists, such as the Nature and Organisation, Mediæval Bæbes, Doves, Faith and the Muse, Isobel Campbell and the Sneaker Pimps.

The soundtrack was unavailable until a 1998 release on Trunk Records of a mono album dubbed from the music and effects tapes at Pinewood, from the shorter original cut of the film (hence missing the song "Gently Johnny"). It was not until 2002 that Silva Screen Records released a stereo version using cues from the tape held by Gary Carpenter, mixed with recordings from the first Trunk Records release. This release includes "Gently Johnny" and the missing lines from "Willow Song."

A sheet music album of the soundtrack is also available, published by Summerisle Songs. Titled "The Wicker Man Complete Piano Songbook" the book features all the songs and music from the film, arranged for piano, voice and guitar.

A live performance of the soundtrack at the 30th annual Brosella Folk Festival in Brussels, on 8 July 2006, underlined the cult status of the film and its music. The organizers were looking for something to mark three decades of the festival and as such, for the final act of the evening, they assembled "The Wicker Band". This ensemble included many eminent performers from the thriving Flemish folk-rock scene, as well as the singer Jacqui McShee, founding member and continual reviver of the 1960s folk-jazz band Pentangle, and fellow ex-Pentangle member Danny Thompson. The band performed music from the film, plus a few selected songs from the folk and singer-songwriter repertoire that seemed to fit the mood before, shortly after midnight, the director's cut of the film was shown on a giant screen.

The original versions of Robert Burns's The Highland Widow's Lament (Main Title) and Rigs o' Barley (Corns Rig(g)s) can be found on Wikisource.
1998 Track listing
  1. "The Wicker Man (Main Title)"
  2. "Corn Riggs"
  3. "Landlords Daughter"
  4. "Festival Photos"
  5. "Loving Couples"
  6. "Willow's Song"
  7. "Maypole Song"
  8. "Beetle"
  9. "Ruined Church Sequence"
  10. "Corn Riggs" & "Fireleap"
  11. "Fireleap (Reprise)"
  12. "Graveyard Sequence" - "Tinker Of Rye"
  13. "Tinker Of Rye (Part 2)"
  14. "Festival"
  15. "Masks"
  16. "Hobby Horse & Tarring"
  17. "Search 1 - Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"
  18. "Search 2"
  19. "Hand Of Glory"
  20. "Procession"
  21. "Chop Chop"
  22. "Horn At Cave - Cave Chase"
  23. "The Anointing"
  24. "Hum"
  25. "Approach"
  26. "Summer Is A Coming In"
  27. "The Wicker Man (End Title)"
2002 Track listing
  1. "Corn Rigs"
  2. "The Landlords Daughter"
  3. "Gently Johnny"
  4. "Maypole"
  5. "Fire Leap"
  6. "The Tinker Of Rye"
  7. "Willow's Song"
  8. "Procession"
  9. "Chop Chop"
  10. "Lullaby"
  11. "Festival" / "Mirie It Is" / "Sumer Is A-Cumen In"
  12. "Opening Music" / "Loving Couples" / "The Ruined Church"
  13. "The Masks" / "The Hobby Horse"
  14. "Searching For Rowan"
  15. "Appointment With The Wicker Man"
  16. "Sunset"


  1. ^ "Mirie it is while sumer ilast: decoding the earliest surviving secular song in English". Early Music Muse. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Struan Robertson's Rant Strathspey". The Session. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  3. ^ "The Tenpenny Bit Jig". The Session. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Drowsy Maggie Reel". The Session. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. ^ The tune of this song is falsely attributed to Willie o Winsbury since the 60s as stated on this thread on Mudcat.