Thursday, June 12, 2014

Assault on Precinct 13 gets funky!

By complete randomness I discovered this amazing fact the other day:

When released in Europe in 1978, the original opening theme song to John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), which was composed by Carpenter himself (as he is one to do), was replaced with a funky disco-soul song. . .except "replaced" isn't quite the right term.  What they really did was just lay a new disco track directly over the top of Carpenter's synths.  It sounds like a weird idea, and it is, but the results are mind-blowing:

Whoa!  You definitely cannot fight it!  The fact that this exists is incredible.

My guess and assumption would be that this was made for the Italian market and then was shown around a few other places in Europe.  From my understanding, Assault was a critical hit overseas, so the addition of the disco funk wasn't a hinderance at all.

Tonally, the song is the wrong sort of lead-in for this kind of movie (if you don't know, it's an exploitation film about a vengeful gang that lays siege on a semi-abandoned police station), but as its own thing it is a pretty interesting and fun tune.  That horn solo is boss.  I like to imagine that Italians danced in the aisles when this played in theaters, but I can't say how accurate that thought would be.

There's not that much information about this track, at least that I could find, other than that the credited composer is Jimmy Chambers, a Caribbean-born UK singer and composer who was in a short-lived jazz-rock group called DaDa (along with Robert Palmer) and later co-founded the R&B group Londonbeat, which is still active today.  

The song was released as a 7" single (!), with a B-side of Carpenter track "Julie's Dead", which is especially cool, as that is my favorite song from Carpenter's score.

For comparisons sake, here's the original opening theme, composed and performed by Carpenter:

Great theme song; the whole soundtrack is good.  The recent Death Waltz vinyl release is pretty rad as well.

Good movie too.  If you've never seen it, fix that.  Go to the video store, hit up the Netflix, buy the Blu-ray, whatever you need to do.  Check it out.  It's good, I promise.
In the meantime, here's the trailer:

Well, there you go.
I just had to share the funk.
Hopefully your mind is as blown as mine.

You're welcome.


  1. Awesome find! It's also worth noting that the theme was inspired by Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", Carpenter just slowed it down.

    1. Hey thanks. That IS worth noting about 'Immigrant Song,' especially as I had not heard that or made that connection before. Carpenter is so cool.

  2. Wow. I read this post on my phone the other day, but just got a chance to listen to the actual track. Weird. Awesome. Wow.