Queen: Flash Gordon Soundtrack

Flash Gordon Soundtrack
(Hollywood Records)

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Like many people my age, the first real exposure I had to the brilliance that is Queen was the original soundtrack to the 1980’s cult sci-fi favorite, Flash Gordon. As a kid, the opening theme made my heart race with excitement every time I heard it. That feeling has not changed since then. Back in the 80’s it wasn’t uncommon for an entire band to be commissioned to compose a movie score, as opposed to one individual member. Tangerine Dream put out some of their own classic scores to great effect during this time (Legend, Near Dark).

Some of these bands’ soundtracks could easily pass for regular releases but Queen really plays off the atmosphere of the movie for their tunes.  Still, the overall sound is undeniably Queen. It effectively makes use of synthesizers that were still fairly new to the band’s arsenal and as usual, the album’s writing credit is evenly distributed.

Just about any Queen release will let a listener know what a unique, strong and varied sound they possessed, but Flash Gordon stands alone amongst their offerings. Yes, they did some music for Highlander but it wasn’t quite the same. This soundtrack was treated as just another album for them, despite the obvious difference from earlier releases. And like the bulk of Queen’s catalog, Flash Gordon definitely withstands the test of time. The effects in the movie may be cheesy now (actually, they were pretty cheesy back in 1980), but this soundtrack could easily accompany a modern day remake and kick all kinds of ass. In fact, this is my formal request to the powers that be that if the Flash Gordon franchise is rebooted–what isn’t these days?—I, and I’m sure countless others, would be grateful if you didn’t mess with the greatness that is the Flash Gordon soundtrack. It’s perfect. Even Ming the Merciless would agree.

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