31 December 2009

Jimmy Page - Death Wish II 1982

JORDAN sent in this "out of print" classic!

Death Wish II is a soundtrack album by Jimmy Page, released by Swan Song Records on 15 February 1982, to accompany the film Death Wish II.

Following the XYZ project, Page was asked by his Berkshire neighbour, movie director Michael Winner, to record a soundtrack for the film Death Wish II in late August 1981. Page was given a deadline of a few weeks to write and record the album at his personal studio The Sol and to travel on location to Los Angeles with Winner for songwriting themes. Winner later explained:

I'd lived next door to Jimmy for many years. It was a very bad time for him - the drummer (John Bonham of Led Zeppelin) had died, and he was in a very inactive period. (Led Zeppelin manager) Peter Grant and I made arrangements for Jimmy to do the Death Wish II score, for which he wasn't actually paid, because Grant wanted to restore Jimmy back to creativity. Jimmy rang the doorbell, and I thought if the wind blew he'd fall over. He saw the film, we spotted where the music was to go, and then he said to me "I'm going to my studio. I don't want you any where near me, I'm going to do it all on my own." My editing staff said this is bloody dangerous! Anyway, we gave him the film, we gave him the timings, and he did it all on his own. Everything hit the button totally! I've never seen a more professional score in my life.

Death Wish II starred Charles Bronson, and was set around Los Angeles, which inspired Page to write a blues-flavoured soundtrack. The soundtrack features Dave Mattacks from Fairport Convention, former Pretty Things keyboards player Gordon Edwards, and veteran singer Chris Farlowe, who also later appeared on Page's 1988 solo album Outrider. Page used a Roland guitar synthesizer on a number of the tracks. Tracks from this album were later reused by Winner for Death Wish III. Page was later asked by Winner compose the soundtrack for Scream for Help (1985), but he declined and suggested John Paul Jones to the director instead.

This album is Page's only solo material to appear on Led Zeppelin's record label Swan Song Records. His two later albums with The Firm were released on Atlantic and Outrider was on Geffen Records. Swan Song ceased operations in 1983.

In Japan a vinyl LP was released that featured rare outtakes from the Sol sessions. Death Wish II was released in CD format in 1999, but all CD versions of the album are now out of print. Today used copies are highly collectible, and can sell for hundreds dollars.

Even though the track "Prelude" is credited solely to Page himself, it is based on "Prelude No. 4 in E minor (Op. 28)" by Frédéric Chopin.

covers included

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