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Films > Ghostbusters

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Original Motion Picture Score
Music Composed and Conducted by Elmer Bernstein
(March 16, 2006, Varese Sarabande)
All of these files were digitalized by me, Paul Rudoff.

Album Notes

  • As the bootleg version listed below is of questionably/unknown origin, this album is considered the only official release of the score to the public.
  • This album is a "Varese Sarabande CD Club" selection, though it isn't a club per se, as there is nothing to join and no membership fee. The CD Club is a series of special limited edition releases of rare, out of print and previously unavailable film scores. Ghostbusters is limited to 3,000 copies worldwide and was only available for purchase on the Varese Sarabande website for $19.98. It's been officially out-of-print ("sold out") since May 24, 2006.) It was not sold in stores, as evident by the lack of a UPC bar code on the back.
  • There is a song missing from this album. On the bootleg CD (listed below) there is a song titled "Somebody Let Me In" (starts at 0:56 into track 12), which is the background music played inside the Tavern On The Green while the patrons are eating (and Louis is outside getting attacked by the Terror Dog). This music should have been on this CD inbetween tracks 21 and 22, but it is nowhere to be found. I have not done a full comparison between the two albums, so there may be even more missing music. In fact, a few folks online have found a rather large list of missing cues. See the list further down this page.
  • There is a 14 second pre-gap before track 37. I'm guessing that Varese Sarabande did this to separate the Bonus Tracks from the album proper. I just thought I'd give you a heads-up about it, in case you haven't listened to your copy of the album yet.
  • There are a few errors in the Liner Notes Essay (which I transcribed with all errors left intact): (1) Dan Aykroyd's last name is always mispelled, even though it's spelled correctly in the billing block on the back of the booklet. (2) Zuul is mispelled in both the essay and the track listings. (3) There is completely incorrect information about Filmation. It says that they sued Columbia Pictures because they "claimed prior ownership of the Ghostbusters title for one of [their] Saturday morning children's programs in development" and later goes on to say that they settled out of court. There was never any lawsuit between Filmation and Columbia. While the movie was still being filmed in New York, the filmakers found out about Filmation's 1975 series (hardly "in development" in 1984), and they quickly worked out a deal to use the title.
  • The rear insert inner picture of the Ecto-1 (the photo under the CD) is from GB2, not GB1. It's from the dilapidated Ecto-1 scene at the beginning of the movie. The license plate is a dead giveaway (it's the design used in 1989, not the one from 1984). Also, Varese Sarabande applied a motion blur to the photo. The original photo, which was printed in the first issue of The Real Ghostbusters magazine in the Summer of 1989, was a crisp clear photo with no blur.
  • Track 37, "Magic", is NOT from Ghostbusters. It's an instrumental version of one of the songs Elmer Bernstein wrote for the 1983 Broadway musical "Merlin" starring Doug Henning (source: "chrobb" on the Film Score Monthly forum). The liner notes vainly try to make it seem like this odd piece of music is from Ghostbusters by saying, "Because of its uptempo character, Magic (track 37) seems at odds with the previous tracks until you hear the downward slide of the ondes martenot at the end of the cue, firmly placing it within the sounds of the score." To quote "SoundtrackNet" (Dan) from the same forum: "I found the mention in the liner notes [...] to be wholly unconvincing. It's like saying 'Elfman's use of a boys choir for the last note at the end of the track firmly places it in the world of Edward Scissorhands'."

Album Images
Here are very large images of the album's artwork. If you lost the original CD artwork, or you bought a used copy that never came with any, you can print these out to make your own CD artwork.

Missing Cues
Brandon Lindsay found a few pieces of music from the film that are missing from this album, though some of them are on the bootleg. In addition to what he found, there has been some interesting talk over on the Film Score Monthly forum, which has brought up more missing cues, and other information. Listed below is everything Brandon gave me, and what I've culled from the forum.

  • From Brandon Lindsay:
    * Hotel Music (Source) - On Bootleg: 08 Hard Work 4:22 - 5:48.
    * Action Riff (Unused) - On Bootleg: 08 Hard Work about 10 sec long. At about 1:30.
    * Tavern on the Green (Source) - On Bootleg: 12 Somebody Let Me In! :56-End.
    * Puft Hat (Presumably from Deleted Scene) - On Bootleg: 18 The Big Marshmellow 1:28-End.
    * Shut it Off! (Outtake from Containment Unit shut down) - On Bootleg: Track 41 on 57 track boot.
    * "Swirling Strings" (From about three points in the movie, after Zool in fridge, after "Magic", first sight of SP man.) About 10 sec. (not on bootleg either)
    * Militaristic Drumming (After the "This Chick is Toast!" line) (not on bootleg either)

  • From "SoundtrackNet" (Dan):
    It's missing one piece of music that is used at least THREE times in the film - apparently it was replacing something Bernstein wrote, because two of those moments (on the CD) have music by Bernstein that doesn't appear in the film at all. (And yet is not designated as such by the CD tracks).

    The first is the end of "The Fridge", where (in the film) Dana hears "Zuul!" and then screams and slams the fridge shut. The second (not on the CD) is actually mixed into the very end of Mick Smiley's song, "Magic", just as the penthouse explodes around Dana. The third part is during the confrontation with Gozer at the end, when Venkman says "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!"

    The music is basically a dissonant synth string pad, wavering slowly, then sliding upwards. If you know what I mean, then you'll also find that its lack of presence on the CD is missing, especially since it's used in three pinnacle moments.

    As an aside, Track 14 "We Got One" should be marked as NOT being used in the film.

  • From "Wedge":
    OK, I've examined all *ahem* sources carefully, and here's what I've come up with that is NOT on the Varese disc:

    * The aforementioned synth bits that Dan first mentioned when he began this thread -- alternates from "Fridge" and "Ghosts!", and an unreleased Gozer bit.

    * The short cue where the Ghostbusters exit the hotel elevator and snoop around, just before they blast the maid's cart.

    * A very short, aggressive statement of the GB theme. Not used in the film, but possibly written for the actual blasting of the maid's cart.

    * The ballroom/tavern source music cues -- both longer than what appears in the film, both a lot of fun.

    * A potential alternate for "Dogs" -- at least the second half. The first half is mostly synth and electronics and doesn't appear to match up with anything.

    * The cool, militaristic statement of the GB theme as they unsling their proton packs and approach Gozer. Very unfortunate this is missing...

    * The film-version of the appearance of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

    * A thirty-second cue featuring the Mr. Stay Puft theme, possibly written for the scene immediately after he crushes the church and the team blasts him.

    That's all I've got for now. Also, from its placement on the album and the way it synchs up, I suspect "Ghostbusters!", which is not used in the film, was meant to underscore the team climing out of the earthquake rubble and beeing cheered on by the crowd before entering the stairwell.

Notes From Others
I know nothing about the types of instruments used to make the score to Ghostbusters, or anything about the creation of the score. So when someone who's knowledgeable about the subject has some useful information about the score, I want to share that with all of you. Below is some user-submitted information that was shared with me by visitors to this site.

  • From Frank
    I wanted to submit a correction in regards to a piece of music mentioned on your page but not included on the CD. It is the "wavering, dissonant synth string pad" that appears at several moments in the film. I wanted to submit that the cue is most definitely not the result of a synthesizer, but rather, real acoustic orchestral strings.

    I am no musical or sound expert, but I know the sounds of acoustic strings when I hear them; I can pick out subtleties and imperfections in sounds, and I've not yet heard any instances of early '80s synthesizers being able to re-create the imperfections of acoustic strings. The only ones that came close in 1983-84 were the digital synthesizers *Synclavier* by New England Digital, and the *Synergy* by Digital Keyboards, the latter of which was used by *Tron* score composer Wendy Carlos to create realistic representations of acoustic orchestral instruments for her 1984 album *Digital Moonscapes*, which I own. However, the aforementioned string cue from * Ghostbusters* sounds nothing like the realistic (albeit synthetic) strings of the *Synergy*, or the *Synclavier* for that matter (demos of which I've heard). Those synthesizers sound sparkly, clear, and "perfect"; i.e. digital.

    Reading on your page the opinion that the aforementioned *Ghostbusters* cue was done on a synthesizer baffled me. The CD liner notes make no mention of such, the only synthesizers mentioned being the French keyboard: the Ondes Martenot, which is analog (and vintage), and the Yamaha DX-7 -- which is easily recognizable in parts of the score, used primarily for clangorous bell sounds, blistering stingers, and wavering sound effects such as the opening of track 2, *Library and Title*, which plays over the film's opening Columbia Pictures logo (it is not particularly good at crafting realistic orchestral strings).

    Another clue that this cue is acoustic is in the appearance of a similar sounding cue earlier in the film, which can be heard on track 5 of the CD: *Hello*, which plays during the Ghostbusters' visit to the library basement. A rising, dissonant string pad appears midway through the track, during the first close-up shot of an open card catalog drawer dripping slime, after which Ray (Dan Aykroyd) remarks, "Talk about telekinetic activity; look at this mess!" This string sound is unmistakeably performed by the strings in the orchestra, not a synthesizer.

    There is, however, a short sound effect heard late in the film that is most unmistakeably synthetic. It is heard during the final shot of the apartment building after Gozer is defeated and comes directly after the shot of the melted marshmallow falling onto Walter Peck (William Atherton): the sky is dark and clear, and the supernatural clouds are dissipating from around the apartment building, after which it cuts to the shots of the destroyed roof top. This brief sound effect is synthetic.

Outside Links

The Score
Music Composed by Elmer Bernstein
(1998?, Limited Release / Bootleg)
All of these files were digitalized by me, Paul Rudoff.

MP3 Notes
The above MP3s were digitally extracted from a bootleg that was purchased on the eBay auction site. The original CD is of such poor quality that it can't be played in my computer, and is now starting to give me problems when I try to play it in my regular CD player. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the CD itself is translucent - you can see right through it! I've never seen a see-though CD, and I doubt that it's supposed to be that way (the player/drive probably can't read the CD as the laser most likely goes right through it). Luckily, I was able to make myself a copy using the stand-alone Pioneer dual-deck CD recorder I used to own. This backup copy is what I used to make the MP3s. Although the original CD itself is of poor quality, the audio is fairly good. However, it's not perfect. Below is a list of defects I typed up for my own use based upon my first listening of the original CD (back when I was able to play it). All defects from the original CD were carried over into my backup CD, which in turn carried them over to the MP3s. There may be more defects than these, but these are all of the ones I noticed, and thus all of the major ones. The times may be a second or two off since this was based on the original CD and not the MP3s.

6	1:07	skip
12	0:21	skip (very slight)
12	2:34	3 or 4 loud crackles
13	1:00	skip (very slight)
13	2:18	skip
14	0:18	skip
14	2:08	high volume crackles
15	1:14	skip
18	1:26	strange noise inbetween music change
21	0:34	skip
21	0:45	skip
22	0:14	skip

Album Notes

  • The following was once posted by Sheila Paulson on the alt.movies.ghostbusters newsgroup:

    When I first heard there was an orchestral score CD of Ghostbusters, I went to Borders' music department and asked them to look it up and see if I could order it. They found it listed. It was a promotional CD, not for wide release and there were only a limited number of copies made. Since it was not intended to be sold in stores, it's probably not surprising it's not fancy. But I don't know that Borders would have it listed if it didn't exist.

    This isn't to say that someone isn't making illegal copies of it, though. I have no way of knowing that one way or the other.

    From what I've read, the "limited number of copies" that Sheila refers to is 100.

Liner Art Images
Here are very large images of the album's artwork. Print these out to make your own CD artwork, should you decide to convert the MP3s above into a CD.