Rick Wakeman’s Burning Sensation

Okay, so I wrote this huge post and THEN I found out that the album is finally available on CD in the states. I don’t like to post in-print music, so I’m putting up one track from the soundtrack as a teaser. If you like it, go buy the rest.


Rick Wakeman – The Burning Soundtrack
Variations on the Fire

If you’ve never heard of The Burning, don’t be surprised. Although the plot has some curve balls, it’s still your typical, forgettable 80s slasher flick, complete with horny teens in the woods and special effects by fake blood guru Tom Savini. It’s pretty much remembered today for two things; This scene (WARNING: incredibly graphic violence) and the people who were involved in the production.

The Burning was produced by Harvey Weinstein and co-written by his brother Bob. That’s right, The Burning is the very first Miramax Film – the studio that later brought you Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and Clerks.

You think that’s nuts? Just wait, it gets even odder. Bob Weinstein didn’t write the script to The Burning by himself. Oh no, a flick of this high quality requires some serious collaboration. For help he turned to a man named Peter Lawrence, who later went on to write for such classics of 80s animation as Thundercats and Silverhawks. So we’re just one degree of separation between Cropsy (the killer of The Burning) and Lionel.

It’s a small world.

But that’s not even the most whacked out bit. A dude by the name of Brad Grey also worked on the story of The Burning. He later went on to serve as an executive producer for The Sopranos as well as The Departed. Now he’s the Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures!

So if you’re ever at a horrorcon, be nice to the guys who wrote the piece of shit indie slasher flick playing at 4PM on a Sunday, because you never know.

The talent in front of the camera is pretty forgettable, except for a supporting role by Jason Alexander and a super-quick bit part by Holly Hunter (seriously, if you blink you will miss her).

About the only person who worked on The Burning who didn’t go on to fame and fortune was the director and co-writer, Tony Maylam. He was primarily a documentary filmmaker before the release of The Burning, and he returned to that shortly thereafter. One notable exception being Split Second, a great/awful piece of 90s sci-fi/horror shit with Rutger Hauer and Kim Cattrall.

But give Maylam some credit, it is because of him that we have this stellar soundtrack by Rick Wakeman from Yes. The two previously worked together on White Rock, a 1977 film about the Winter Olympics. It was that relationship that led to Wakeman coming in to do the score for The Burning. 

I would have loved to sit in on the phone call Maylam made to Wakeman that convinced him to do the score to The Burning:

Maylam: Hey Rick, I might have some more soundtrack work for you if you’re interested.
Rick: Oh yeah? You doing a documentary on the summer Olympics?
Maylam: Not exactly, it’s a slasher film called The Burning. It’s about horribly burned camp groundskeeper who murders teenagers with a pair of hilariously large garden shears.
Wakeman: …can I work in some “shear terror/sheer terror” puns into the track listing?
Maylam: Sure thing!
Wakeman: I’m in! I’ll plug in 50 synthesizers and get to work immediately!

The first side of the LP is labeled as “The Wakeman Variations,” so I don’t think it’s a straight-up recording of the actual score. That half works better as a standalone recording, while the second, with its diversions into instrumental pop-rock and even some banjo-country jamming, are probably only of interest to fans of the film.

As I said before, the full soundtrack is now available in America for a pretty fair price. If you like Rick Wakeman or keyboard-fueled scores ala Tangerine Dream or John Carpenter, I suggest checking it out.

3 Responses to “Rick Wakeman’s Burning Sensation”

  1. Brad says:

    bwahahaha that clip was the highlight of my week…..so far!! 🙂 If you haven’t had the honor, I highly recommend checking out the movie “Summer Camp Nightmare”…very hard to find, but I did relive my youth thanks to clips of it from youtube. Features a cool song by Fear called “Beef Bologna” lolz Also “Class of 1984”, feat a young Michael (J) Fox (he didnt use the ‘J’ in the credits), was a hilarious bit everyone should watch at least once in their lives

  2. Homer J from UK says:

    I like ‘The Burning’,but then i also like ‘I Spit On Your Grave’,’Driller Killer’,’Scanners’ & ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ aswell !

  3. SteveA says:

    I still recall that movie and seeing ot on video all those years ago in the 80’s – that slasher raft scene was stuck in my head and was one pf the scariest I have ever seen. Even with your link I looked at it for about 15 seconds and then chickened out – I simply don;t want my memory jogged with that movie!

    But awesome post – great research here- I though I was the only one who remembered that movie!

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