Watchmen: Music from the Motion Picture

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Watchmen: Music from the Motion Picture
Cover watchmen soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released March 3, 2009 (2009-03-03)
Genre Rock, pop, soul, folk, soundtrack
Length 51:13
Label Reprise
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Empire 4/5 stars[2]

Watchmen: Music from the Motion Picture is the film soundtrack album for the 2009 film Watchmen. The soundtrack features three songs written by Bob Dylan: "Desolation Row", "The Times They Are a-Changin'", and "All Along The Watchtower".

The film uses some of the songs mentioned in the comic, including "The Times They Are a-Changin'", Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower"; Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence"; Nena's "99 Luftballons"; a muzak version of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"; and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable".[3] Many of the period songs were up-mixed to 5.1 surround for the film using the Penteo process.[4] Tyler Bates, (who wrote the film's original score), said the challenge was composing music that would transition effectively into these famous songs.[5] Director Zach Snyder and Bates received Dylan's permission to use the stems from "The Times They Are a-Changin'" so the three-minute song could play over the six minute opening.[6] The story of how Dr. Manhattan came to be is accompanied by a montage of the pieces "Prophecies" and "Pruit Igoe" by Philip Glass, originally composed for the 1983 cult film Koyaanisqatsi. Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II's sex scene aboard the Owl Ship is set to the tune of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Originally Zack Snyder used a recording of the song by Allison Crowe for the scene, but decided Crowe's version was "too romantic" and "too sexy" for a scene that is intended to come across as ironic and "ridiculous". Snyder ended up placing the original Cohen studio recording in this scene.[7] My Chemical Romance, whose members are fans of the comic, covered Dylan's "Desolation Row" for the first half of the closing credits.[8] The second half is followed by "First We Take Manhattan" sung by Leonard Cohen.

The song "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning", composed by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins for the soundtrack of Batman & Robin, although used in a promotional trailer, was not included on the soundtrack of Watchmen. Additionally, "Bombshell", composed by American rock band Powerman 5000 for Freddy vs. Jason (2003), although used in a music video and bonus tracks, was not on included on Watchmen‍ '​s original soundtracks.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Desolation Row"   My Chemical Romance 3:01
2. "Unforgettable"   Nat King Cole 3:28
3. "The Times They Are a-Changin'"   Bob Dylan 3:14
4. "The Sound of Silence"   Simon & Garfunkel 3:07
5. "Me and Bobby McGee"   Janis Joplin 4:31
6. "I'm Your Boogie Man"   KC and the Sunshine Band 4:03
7. "You're My Thrill"   Billie Holiday 3:24
8. "Pruit Igoe" and "Prophecies"   Philip Glass 8:37
9. "Hallelujah"   Leonard Cohen 4:37
10. "All Along the Watchtower"   The Jimi Hendrix Experience 4:01
11. "Ride of the Valkyries"   Budapest Symphony Orchestra 5:22
12. "Pirate Jenny"   Nina Simone 6:39
  • Tales of the Black Freighter was based on the lyrics to "Pirate Jenny".

"Desolation Row" cover[edit]

"Desolation Row"
Single by My Chemical Romance
from the album Watchmen: Music from the Motion Picture
Released January 26, 2009
Format 12″ vinyl, digital download
Recorded 2008
Genre Alternative rock, punk rock
Length 3:01
Label Reprise, Warner Sunset Records
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) My Chemical Romance
(add. production by Rich Costey)
My Chemical Romance singles chronology
"Desolation Row"
"Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)"

My Chemical Romance performed a cover of "Desolation Row"[9] for the 2009 soundtrack of Watchmen.[10] The song peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in March, 2009.[11] The first chapter of Watchmen ("At Midnight All the Agents") takes its name from a line in the song. This line is also quoted at the end of the chapter.

The music video for My Chemical Romance's version was directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed the Watchmen film and, as a result, features similar effects to that of the film, though no actual footage of the film appears. It features the band playing in an old-school punk arena, with visual similarities to the "Pale Horse" concert referenced in the graphic novel. After the show becomes sold out and dozens of fans can't get in, a riot ensues as the band plays on. Eventually the police arrive but are too powerless to stop the rioting both inside the show and out. Eventually a SWAT team arrives, arrests the band, and disperses the rioters.

During MCR's parts in the video multiple elements of Watchmen imagery (such as Rorschach's mask and The Comedian's smiley face button) are seen. The pink elephant balloon from both the comic and the film is also seen at the beginning of the video.

My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way has stated in interviews that he is a longtime fan of the Watchmen graphic novel. Watchmen comic book merchandise can be seen in his home on the DVD Life on the Murder Scene.

The song's music video was the last to feature former drummer Bob Bryar, who left the band a little over a year after the song was released and in the early stages of recording their fourth album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.


Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart 52
UK Rock Chart 1
US Billboard Alternative Songs 30

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Feeling Good" by Muse
UK Rock Chart number-one single
February 15, 2009 - February 22, 2009
Succeeded by
"Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi


Chart (2009) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[12] 58
Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)[13] 82

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Graydon, Danny. "Review of Watchmen: Music from the Motion Picture". Empire. Retrieved February 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ Larry Carroll (2008-07-23). "Snyder Reveals Hendrix, Dylan, Other Tracks in ‘Watchmen,’ No Smashing Pumpkins". MTV Splash Page. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  4. ^ "Penteo process". Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  5. ^ Spencer D. (2009-02-06). "Watchmen Composer Sounds Off". IGN. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  6. ^ Rob Vaux (2009-03-06). "He Watches the Watchmen". Mania. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  7. ^ "Crave Online: Zack Snyder Talks Watchmen". Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  8. ^ "Warner Sunset/Reprise Records to Release 12" Picture Disc of My Chemical Romance’s Reinterpretation of "Desolation Row" for Watchmen on January 27, 2009". Buzznet. 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  9. ^ "My Chemical Romance video for Desolation Row". Youtube. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  10. ^ "My Chemical Romance Release Bob Dylan Cover Next Month". Kerrang. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Artist Chart History - My Chemical Romance". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Soundtrack – Watchmen" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  13. ^ "Soundtrack – Watchmen". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 19, 2015.