At the London Premiere of World War Z, Muse played a free gig just after the film’s premiere. The song, Knights of Cydonia featured an intro that was a remix of the Sergio Leone iconic spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West. Starting with the harmonica solo from the Leone classic’s soundtrack of the film, titled simply Harmonica, goosebumps rise as the song is played in. You can see a video of their live performance at the London premiere below.
As Muse amp the song up, the crowd show their obvious appreciation of the music and its remixing of the Ennio Morricone intro. During the intro, the crowd was so silent you could hear a pin drop. The English rockband from Teignmouth, Devon in the UK was formed in 1994 and the group did the soundtrack for Brad Pitt’s blockbuster zombie apocalypse film.
The music for the apocalyptic film also features a sort of “back rhythm” akin to the Tubular Bells music used for 1975 horror film The Exorcist the combination of the two “homages” to previous popular films shows the bands connection with films and their apparent appreciation of great movie soundtracks. It isn’t prevalent, but if you listen closely, you can hear it.
The group’s singer Matthew Bellamy explained that using songs from their latest album The 2nd Law for the apocalyptic horror film’s soundtrack was a “great fit”. Talking to Absolute Radio in an earlier interview, Bellamy said, “We’ve done our music in films a few times but this is definitely my favourite one. It was a real collaboration from beginning to end so I’m really glad we got the song in.”
The 35 year-old singer went on, “This is probably the biggest film we’ve ever done. Right from the bat we knew this was a big thing because they kept contacting us when we were making the album saying they wanted us to score the film,” he added that, “We weren’t available to score the film, so we stayed in touch with them and they invited me and Dom to go and see early cuts of the film and we saw some really crazy stuff.
Bellamy also revealed that he had read the book while he was making the album. He said, “I was reading World War Z when I made the album – and I loved it – it had an influence [on] songs like ‘Survival’, like ‘Isolated System’. I was thinking about this kind of insane survival situation – this real bleak kind of apocalyptic scenario – when I was making the album, which I tend to do anyway when I’m making albums.
He concluded the interview by saying that he is a great fan of the film and that he loves what they film makers have done with it, He said, “So it’s a really great fit, it’s a lovely film. Well maybe lovely’s not the right word – it’s a real, like, thrill ride, total edge of your seat – got some real scary moments.”
Just listen to the World War Z as Muse does their Sergio Leone remix for their intro to the Knights of Cydonia and see if you don’t get the same little rush and goose bumps that we did, when hearing that harmonica solo that was originally written for the screen years ago for Once Upon a Time in the West.
By Michael Smith