A work in progress, which when finished will have covered it all (and the waterfront)
The Devil’s Rumble courtesy of Davie Allan and the Arrows
The Wild Angels OST
Tower (T 5043 mono) (DT 5043 stereo)
The Wild Angels Vol. II OST
Tower (T 5056 mono) (DT 5056 stereo)
Related 45s from Davie Allan and the Arrows
‘Theme From Wild Angels’ b/w ‘U.F.O.’ Tower (267), August 1966
‘Blues Theme’ b/w ‘Bongo Party’ Tower (295) November 1966
This is where it all began, with these two Mike Curb Sidewalk Productions for The Wild Angels. The initial album sold so well that the ‘20-year-old screen composer’ felt compelled to give fans more of the same, and he did that across 8 more films in the biker cycle. The idea of repetition with a novelty-like difference is here both in the films and the soundtrack albums. The inset illustration used in the top left hand corner of the first volume, and on original poster and marketing materials, is reworked for volume two. Fonda and Sinatra have been removed to be replaced by the biker in the coal bucket helmet. On the disc itself, Davie Allan and the Arrows ‘Blue’s Theme - Instrumental’ is replayed on the second record but with added vocal. What the biker cycle teaches you is how to make the most out of very little.
As for the music, it is over-amped surf music. The twang and fuzz of Davie Allan and the Arrows made for a good fit with the Venice Beach and canal locations that were often used in the first round of the cycle, when the location shifted to junk filled desert spaces the music also changed.
Born Losers OST
Tower (T 5082 mono/DT 5082 stereo) 1967. Re-issued on CD Curb Records (D2-79283) 2013
Sidewalk Sounds, ‘Billy jack’s Theme’ b/w ‘The Born Loser’s Theme’ Tower (352)
Sidewalk Sounds, ‘Billy Jack’s Theme’ / Terry Stafford, ‘Forgive me’ Capital (CR-1878) Japan
Mike Curb and Sidewalk Productions coming straight back atcha. Given the publicity photos of Elizabeth James in her white bikini and matching Honda it is strange that the cover doesn’t feature her, even on the reverse. Still, that low angle shot of boot, leg, denim and cleavage does what it is supposed to do.
Davie Allan is in the mix somewhere, but so far beneath the blaring brass surface he may as well not have bothered..
Devil’s Angels OST
Tower (T 5074 mono) (DT 5074 stereo)
45: Davie Allan and the Arrows, ‘Devil’s Angels’ / ‘Cody’s Theme’ Tower (341) June 1967
With the exception of one vocal over dub, this is all Davie Allan. After the mis-fire of Born Losers it is go go go. Get the real lowdown here from The Seth Man
The Glory Stompers OST
Sidewalk (T 5910 mono) (DT 5910 stereo)/Capital (DT-6264) Canada
CD re-issue: Curb Records (D2-79286) 2013
45: Max Frost & the Troopers, ‘There’s a Party Going On’ / Eddie & the Stompers ‘Stomper’s Ride’ (Sidewalk 938)
Casey Kasem and Max Frost and the Troopers join up with The Arrows and Mike Curb for the third AIP biker movie of 1967. Max Frost’s Paul Wibier later had a role to play in the Sidewalk Productions OST for Satan’s Sadists.
The Hellcats OST
Tower (T 5124 mono) (ST 5124 stereo)
45: Davy Jones and the Dolphins, ‘Hell Cats’ [sic] b/w ‘The Only Way To Fly’ Tower (PRO 4527)
Sidewalk shift allegiance from AIP to Crown International, a real fall in quality . . .Two tracks each from the Arrows and Somebody’s Chyldren, one from the Sunrays who were managed by Murray Wilson, father to the Beach Boys. Davy Jones and The Dolphins covered half of the ten tracks, they had been recording since at least 1962. The Chyldren were an LA band whose small claim to fame was working with Ian Whitcomb and helping him back Mae West in 1966. The album is about as light weight as a biker soundtrack gets, 90% summertime pop. Best track, ‘Mass Confusion,’ which has a social conscience.
Davie Allan & the Arrows, Devil’s Rumble Sundazed (LP 5182 mono)
If you pine for the fuzztone sounds of Davie Allan and the Arrows then this double album should be where you stop and park your scooter. The Seth Man curates and writes the notes - a work of love. All of the key biker instros are here alongside the lowdown on Davie’s story.
Before we leave Davie, and temporarily, Mike and Sidewalk behind, a word should be said in regard to the soundtrack for The Angry Breed, a marginal entry in the cycle. Though a gang of bikers are featured on the film’s poster they don’t feature in the movie. The gang in the film are only three in number and have a worrying penchant for dressing up in Nazi gear. There was no OST but three tracks appear on the CD Davie Allan & the Arrows Cycle Breed on Sundazed (SC 11183), 2006. In the film a band plays at a masque ball, the drinks are laced with LSD, naturally, and things get a little weird. One of Davie Allan’s contributions is played over this sequence, poorly synced with the performance we’re watching. It is all very incongruous. The Sundazed CD also has a small number of alternate takes from Devil’s Angels, Glory Stompers and The Wild Angels.
Four from Jo Solomon and Stu Phillips
Angels from Hell OST
US: Tower (ST 5128). Canada: Capital (St 6295)
Re-issue CD & LP on Reel Time (RT1001)
12 tracks, including 3 from Peanut Butter Conspiracy, 2 from The Lollipop Shoppe, and a fully realised studio version, with band accompaniment, of Ted Markland’s folk stomp. In the film his character, Smiley, sings his “protest” song in a rough and ready way, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, in the gang’s clubhouse. . . the gaps between these three artistes are filled in by Stu Phillips.
It's a fairly diverse set, the vocal numbers separated by Phillip's jazz tinted themes, the title track features flute and vibes, and the superbly named 4 O’Clock Tea (Laudanum) continues the theme but adds sitar and Indian percussive inflections
Lollipop Shoppe’s two songs are toothless social critiques. The band appears playing at a hippy gathering (see lobby card) that is despoiled by the bikers. Their album Just Colour sounds as if Love fell asleep in 1966 and woke up a decade later and worked the studio for Terry Ork, who then released it along with discs from Television, Richard Hell and Alex Chilton . . . which is to say I like it . . .
Stu Phillips' 3rd biker soundtrack with Joe Solomon and a stand out collaboration due to Tammy Wynette's title song. Country music rarely featured in biker films but it works well with the footage of outlaw William Smith freewheelin' it up Highway 101. The other 3 vocal tracks are from The Windows who were, according to Alec Palao, a man who knows, a slimmed down three-piece The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. That band had history with Phillips and also contributed to his Angels From Hell opus.
The cover image (not from the film) juxtaposes the standard biker movie iconography of Nazi insignia with a stars and bars patch, another of an Irish shamrock, Indian beads and buckskin over a hirsute gut . . . a true rebel pose.
Hell’s Angels on Wheels OST
Smash Records (SRS 67094 stereo) (MGS 27094 mono)
Re-issue CD & LP on Reel Time RT1008
45: Stu Phillips, "Hells Angels on Wheels" b/w "Sunday Art & Football" Smash (S-2114)
The first of the 4 collaborations between Stu Phillips and producer Jo Solomon. 10 selections composed and conducted by Phillips, with one vocal cut by The Poor - "Study in Motion #1". There's a solid throwback beatnik vibe to the theme tune, especially with all the dum-de-dos. "Flowers" adds sitars and so brings things slightly more uptodate, but elsewhere the vocal pah-pah-pahs and flute solos driven by bongos would sit better in some rundown cocktail bar on Sunset and Vine. The Poor's contribution neatly summarises the film's theme - moving but going nowhere and is collected along with their handful of 1967/68 45s on a Rev-Ola CD (CR REV 34) 2003.
The Losers aka Nam Angels
The final biker movie soundtrack collaboration between Phillips and Solomon was with the Philippine's shot The Losers aka Nam Angels. The story of a gang of bikers attempting to rescue a POW, Dirty Dozen style, from a Cambodian hoosegow never got the usually expected OST. But in 2005, 4 cuts were released on a CD compilation of Phillips' movie music, Surf . . . Sex and Cycle-Psychos . . . A Diverse Potpourri of Antediluvian Film Music. él Cherry Red Records (ACMEM48CD). These are all fully orchestrated with plenty of brass to punch home the militaristic theme. For inspiration, he'd clearly been listening to and absorbing Jerry Fielding's work for Sam Peckinpah.
One-offs, spin-offs, 45 RPM only, and the lost and the guilty
The Wild Rebels
45: Steve Alaimo, "You Don’t Know Like I Know" b/w "You Don’t Love Me" ABC Records (45-10917)
The b-side of a Sam & Dave cover was the only released waxing from the Alaimo outlaw biker vehicle, with a score by song writing veteran Al Jacobs. The MC for TV's pop show Where the Action Is played a stock car driver who gets pulled into a heist by a trio of bikers, but not before he's climbed on stage with local Florida band The Birdwatchers. There follows a short set of blue-eyed soul numbers that gets the kids dancing and stays firmly within his repertoire of good time pop grooves. Alaimo produced 3 Mala label 45's for The Birdwatchers in 1966 and 1967.
The film conjoins the titles of the two best known JD movies, but the 45 credit reduces that spark of originality down to the singular "Wild Rebel."
Rebel Rousers (1970)
Despite a stellar cast, this is truly one of the most hapless films in the cycle. Poorly conceived and ineptly directed by Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd's agent, the film stayed in the can for three years at which point Jack Nicholson's box office pull was enough to generate some guaranteed play dates.
Igo Kantor supervised the music and provided the surf guitar interludes, and Paul Sawtell with Bert Shefter provided the rest of the music. They were regular Russ Myer collaborators.
One of the few (the only?) biker movie to use a heavy jazz score under the opening credits, elsewhere a sentimental number plays in scenes between Cameron and Ladd, evoking both ennui and cliché . . . No soundtrack releases listed but I would not be surprised to discover that the music was used elsewhere. Perhaps Meyer's Faster Pussycat?
The Hard Ride OST
Paramount Records (PAS 6005) Re-issue Reel Time CD & LP (RT1011)
Thelma Camacho "I Came A Long Way to be With You" b/w "Carry Me Home" Aim/MGM (AIM400)
Bill Medley "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" b/w same Paramount (PAA 0089)
Junction "Falling in Love with Baby" b/w "Ways of Love Are Strange" MGM (K 14195)
Bob Moline "Where Am I Going" b/w same Paramount (PAA 0090)
The Sounds of Harley "The Hard Ride"b/w "Victorville Blues" MGM (K 14248)
One of the last biker films produced by AIP, The Hard Ride, was directed by exploitation regular Burt Topper and starred Robert Fuller, from TV’s Wagon Train and Laramie. The picture yokes together race issues and Vietnam. It tells the story of a returning vet, a white marine, who promises his dying buddy, a black biker, that when he gets back home, he will ride his chopper, find his ol’ lady, and get together with his club. The film’s marketing features one of the longest taglines in the cycle: “They gave him a medal and sent him home for the long hard ride ahead…with a friend’s promise to keep, a friend’s enemy to kill, and a friend’s woman to take. Then he could start living for himself—if he was still alive.” Fuller’s marine finds himself caught between two bike gangs, both of whom want his buddy’s chopper. The film works hard on the interracial friendship (and love—the dead marine’s girlfriend is white).
Partially forsaking the by now familiar overloaded electric guitar soundtrack, the tune that runs alongside the title cards is Righteous Brother Bill Medley’s soul version of the spiritual “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” Maintaining the theme of racial diversity, the singer in Kenny Roger's First Edition, Thelma Camacho, provides a country-tinge to one tune and some soul to "Carry Me Home," the stand out vocal cut. Journey, Bob Moline, and Bluewater provide a suite of anonymous pop tunes, though the latter's "Shannon's Hook Shop" gets a little funky. Soundtrack producer, Harley Hatcher, chucks out some Duane Eddy twang on a Morricone-esque "Victorville Blues," which is pretty good. The theme tune harks back to the days of Davie Allen with the promise of a fuzzed out rave up, but cops out - a dud. As far as I can figure out only the Bluewater tracks didn't make it on to a 45
The Peace Killers
45: Ruthann Friedman "White Dove" b/w "Motorcycle Madness" (Ether 001)
No soundtrack album, but in 2011 two tracks by Ruthann Friedman slipped out on an obscure 45. Kenneth Wannberg receives the music credit and supplies the main theme, which is driven by a wheezing harmonica and jaw harp. He would go from here to become one of the most sought after music editors. Friedman had already found a little fame with her song "Windy," which The Association took into the charts in 1967. Her contribution is credited in the main titles, though "Rebel" is recast as "Motorcycle Madness" on the single release. "White Dove" is pure period whimsey on a picked acoustic guitar over which she asks the question, if a fool were to try to shoot down the bird should you take away his gun? The flip is a rock chug, much more to my taste, written to be played over images of deranged bikers who have spent too long on the road. . . The 45 is worth getting for the sleeve alone.
Outlaw Riders OST
"Grab your bike n' ride on!" growls Simon Stokes, while Lenny McDaniel takes on the always hopeless task of "trying to find the reason for all the things they do." Simon Stokes and the Nighthawks essay six tracks of generic 12 bar blues and heavy boogaloo, which make for a pretty fit with this super low-budget programmer that takes a turn toward the border and never comes back. McDaniel's theme tune and three by Stokes are played in full to help cover the padding used to fill out screen time between rare moments of story progression.
Stokes had a non-hit on Elektra with "Voodoo Woman" in 1969, which still gets spins today. His later contract with MGM no doubt led to this soundtrack, produced by Michael Lloyd, who worked on the band's other releases for the label, including a cover of Carl Perkins' "Ballad of Little Fauss and Big Halsy." Stokes' story is told in detail in Ugly Things #46, but for all the cult attention he never sounds like anything other than a pretender to me. Alice Cooper (circa 1971) he ain't.
Joe Namath and Ann-Margret in C.C. and Company Original Motion Picture Sound Track
AVCO Embassy (AVE-0-11003)
The only biker movie produced for a major film company and with bankable stars to boot. Filmed on location in Tuscon, Arizona and Las Vegas, the film’s story spins around a motocross race, providing plentiful high-speed action, stunts and pratfalls. In case you missed it, it’s a parody. In a support role is Fanfare’s go-to-biker William Smith (Run, Angel, Run!), but the main selling point was the promise of seeing ex-footballer Namath and Ann-Margret together in the buff.
The OST kicks off with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels tearing up the world’s dance floors with their hit ‘Jenny Take A Ride,’ a loose adaptation of the traditional C.C. Rider that kinda holds with the film’s concept. Lenny Stack is responsible for the ebullient instrumental sections that echo the over-excited orchestrations familiar from television shows of the day, such as Mission Impossible, but Lalo Schifrin he isn’t. On the vocal front Ann-Margret features on one track and Teda Bracci, who would one day be Dusty Springfield’s wife, sings on another, but the star turn is undoubtedly by the man with the greatest wig hat in show business, Wayne Cochran. His band The C.C. Riders (you can see the logic at work here) feature in the film playing a Las Vegas date, making loose and merry on Otis Redding’s ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose.’
Wayne Cochran and his C.C. Riders Alive and Well and Living in a Bitch of a World
With his appearance in C.C. and Company, Cochran must have thought his star was on the rise and so he turned out this album on the day’s hot m’cycle theme. There’s something about his coiffure that makes you believe if he took a spill off the bike a head injury would not be a worry. The image of him on the back of the album with his waist line mushrooming over his belt is a sight to behold . . . it’s not pretty. His chosen ride is a Harley-Davidson 1200 cc FX Super Glide. The sound of m’cycles revving and roaring are used between the tracks and at the end of side one there is a lock track which keeps things on the righteous path to infinity. What you get is pretty much Cochran’s soul revue format that featured a pumping horn section. Best thing here is the 10 minute plus ‘Let Me Come With You’ which is driven by congas from start to finish. Midway through the track the percussion keeps pace with some wandering psychedelic guitar. The track would have been a blessing on any biker pic.
Ace Records have released an essential double cd collection of Wayne’s soul sides, Goin’ Back To Miami, which shows him to best effect and includes three tracks from Alive and Well. The liner notes called the High and Ridin’ album a ‘hard listen’, they’re not wrong. Las Vegas jazz-fare, all instrumental, of the day’s hits. But the cover, oh my! There’s Wayne fronting his band, all astride Triumphs, dressed head to toe in black. The campiest outfit this side of the regulators in Johnny Guitar or Django . . . The bikers in Pink Angels would surely welcome these boys into their gang.
The Wild Sounds of Satan’s Sadists OST
SMASH (SRS 67127)
Released in Southern and Midwest regions in June 1969, Satan’s Sadists was directed by Al Adamson, son of Western bit-part actor, Denver Dixon. With President Samuel Sherman, and board chairman, Dan Kennis, Adamson was a key player in Independent-International Pictures. Their features were budgeted at under $200,000 and the company expected a return of at least $300,000 per title. I-I.P.’s pictures were geared to the horror-action crowd. And they didn’t care. They really didn’t. Adamson would do anything for box office including selling the movie on the back of the Manson murders - he just didn’t care.
Harley Hatcher was responsible for the music, he was a long standing associate of Mike Curb and a key figure in Sidewalk Productions that did soundtracks for hire, including a slew of discs for AIP, which were mostly released on the Capital Records budget subsidiary Tower Records.
Paul Wibier, ‘Is it Better to Have Loved and Lost?’ b/w ‘Satan’ Pendulum (P-108)
B-side is the film’s theme . . . ‘I was born mean, by the time is was 12, I was killing. . . Killing for Satan’. Wibier was a key figure in Max Frost and the Troopers, a band pulled together for the film Wild in the Streets (1968), which was yet another Mike Curb Sidewalk Production.
Werewolves on Wheels OST by Don Gere
Finders Keepers Records (FKRO48) LP & CD UK / B-Music (BMS035) CD only US
A posthumous 2011 release for my favorite biker soundtrack (and, if truth be told, my favorite film of the cycle). This is pretty much a one-man operation from Don Gere, who seemed to be permanently on the fringe of the LA music scene. There are a couple of country rock tunes included in the mix, which have a Flying Burrito Bros’ tinge, but the best parts are the main theme and other instros. I’ve often wondered what a biker soundtrack would hit like if it was made up of Stooges or Blue Cheer numbers, well Werewolves doesn’t follow that heavy route, but instead slips gear into an almost Velvet Underground like metronomic rhythmic surge and pull. The motorik sound of Kraut rock, suggests the notes that accompany the disc, which are refreshingly well researched and written. A superb package. Get this one . . .
The Savage Seven OST
ATCO (SD 33-245)
45: Cream, “Anyone for Tennis ( The Savage Seven Theme)” b/w “Pressed Rat and Warthog” (ATCO 45-6575)
An AIP and Atlantic cross marketing exercise, Cream’s whimsical psychedelia is hopeless miscast. The partnership between movie and record company didn’t extend beyond this effort, at least to my knowledge it didn’t .
The first of the biker films to use established names from the Rock field (as they called it), well Cream anyways with Iron Butterfly still pushing toward fame. Barbara Kelly & The Morning Good, who are responsible for 7 of the 14 tracks are in all likelihood a band invented for the project by Mike Curb. He produced and supplied the filler around Cream’s ‘Anyone for Tennis (theme from the Savage Seven)’ and the two tracks culled from Iron Butterfly’s debut long player, Heavy.