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Music / Soundtrack

While many people remember Big Trouble in Little China for its great lines, you shouldn't overlook the musical talents of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Utilizing 80s synthesizer rock with ambient Chinese style music, Carpenter and Howarth helped to lay the musical foundation for the film, yet another aspect of an already great movie.

The Soundtracks
The Coupe de Villes

The Soundtracks

There have been four official soundtrack releases of John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China. They are:


Original Sountrack Release (1986 / 1992)

btcoverJohn Carpenter, under the Demon records label, released the Big Trouble in Little China soundtrack album on LP in 1986 and later the CD in 1992. With over 40 minutes of music, this soundtrack is a great, rare find.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)    
©1986 Demon Records (DSCD-2)
Score composed by John Carpenter
Recording, mixing, sequencing and synthesizer programming by Alan Howarth

See the Filmtracks.com review of this score.

You can listen to clips (about a minute each) from each track of Big Trouble in Little China - the Soundtrack!

Track Listing:

  1. Big Trouble in Little China (The Coupe de Villes) (3:13)
  2. Pork Chop Express (3:40)
  3. The Alley (2:00)
  4. Here Come the Storms (2:20)
  5. Lo Pan's Domain (4:30)
  6. Escape from Wing Kong (8:00)
  7. Into the Spirit Path (7:07)
  8. The Great Arcade (7:50)
  9. The Final Escape (6:58)

Total Playing Time: 43 minutes, 38 seconds 


SuperTracks Sountrack Release (1999)

newcdSeven years after the original CD release, the music publishers at Supercollector released a newly-mastered soundtrack of John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China containing new tracks and other unreleased music.

Unfortunately the distributor of this re-release album, Supercollector.com, is no longer in business. Your best bet to find a copy of the CD on Ebay.

The CD includes:

  • 8 Page booklet with full color inserts from BTLC
  • Full liner notes (which I was asked to write for the album back in college!)
  • 14 CD tracks - BTLC (10) - with added minutes to "Lo Pan's Domain" and "Escape from Wing Kong"
  • 2 versions of Carpenter and the Coupe DeVilles "Big Trouble in Little China" song
  • 3 tracks of Music from Alan Howarth's previously unreleased "Backstabbed"
  • 1 track from Carpenter's Escape from NY - "Atlanta Bank Robbery"
  • Digitally remastered for superior sound quality.

See the Filmtracks.com review of this score.

Track Listing:

From "Big Trouble in Little China"

  1. Big Trouble in Little China (Performed by The Coupe de Villes) (3:19)
  2. Pork Chop Express (3:59)
  3. The Alley (2:02)
  4. Here Come the Storms (2:14)
  5. Lo Pan's Domain** (6:04)
  6. Escape from Wing Kong** (10:10)
  7. Into the Spirit Path (7:04)
  8. The Great Arcade/Final Escape Pt. 1 (7:53)
  9. The Final Escape Pt. 2 (6:58)
  10. Big Trouble in Little China (Reprise)
    (Performed by The Coupe de Villes) (3:08)

From "Backstabbed"

  1. Opening* (3:35)
  2. Alexandra* (5:57)
  3. Blue Planet Interlude/Final Stab* (5:41)

From "Escape from New York"

  1. Atlanta Bank Robbery* (3:31)

* Previously unreleased tracks
** Contains previously unreleased music

Total Playing Time: 71 minutes, 35 seconds 

Click here to read my liner notes to the soundtrack to Big Trouble in Little China.

I welcome any comments you might have. If you wish to reproduce my text, please contact me for permission first.


La La Land Records Sountrack Release (2009)

newcdDescription from La-La Land Records:

Presenting John Carpenter & Alan Howarth’s (HALLOWEEN III, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THEY LIVE) complete score to the legendary 1986 20th Century Fox cult actioner BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, starring Kurt Russell and directed by John Carpenter. Fully remastered and complete, for the first time anywhere, Carpenter & Howarth’s music demonstrates a mastery of synth composition and performance with an iconic score that is inseparable from the action and fun of the film itself. Truly music to “shake the pillars of heaven! CD includes a 20-Page booklet with exclusive, in-depth liner notes that include comments from the co-composers. This is a limited edition of 3000 Units.

See the Filmtracks.com review of this score.

Track Listing:

DISC ONE

  1. Prologue (2:15)
  2. Pork Chop Express (Main Title) (4:01)
  3. Abduction At Airport (4:17)
  4. The Alley (Procession) (1:12)
  5. The Alley (War) (2:31)
  6. The Storms (2:42)
  7. Tenement / White Tiger (3:49)
  8. Here Come The Storms (4:15)
  9. Wing Kong Exchange (4:40)
  10. Lo Pan’s Domain / Looking For A Girl (3:16)
  11. Friends Of Yours? / Escape Iron Basis (7:18)
  12. Escape From Wing Kong (5:38)
  13. Hide (4:35)
    Total Time Disc One: 50:44

DISC TWO

  1. Call The Police (7:32)
  2. Dragon Eyes (1:12)
  3. Into The Spirit Path (7:05)
  4. The Great Arcade (7:53)
  5. The Final Escape (Lo Pan’s Demise / Getaway) (7:02)
  6. Goodbye Jack (3:14)
  7. Big Trouble In Little China (End Credits - Album Version) (3:22) Performed By The Coupe De Villes

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Stingers Montage (5:24)
  2. Big Trouble In Little China (Original Version) (3:01) Performed By The Coupe De Villes

Total Time Disc Two: 45:45
Total Score Running Time: 96:29


iTunes Sountrack Release (2011)

newcdThis is the same as the La-La Land Records release, but does not include the "Big Trouble in Little China" song by John Carpenter's Coupe De Villes. It is currently being sold in the iTunes store for $9.99 US

Track Listing:

  1. Prologue (2:15)
  2. Pork Chop Express (Main Title) (4:04)
  3. Abduction At Airport (4:19)
  4. The Alley (Procession) (1:13)
  5. The Alley (War) (2:30)
  6. The Storms (2:44)
  7. Tenement / White Tiger (3:48)
  8. Here Come the Storms (4:15)
  9. Wing Kong Exchange (4:41)
  10. Lo Pan's Domain / Looking for a Girl (3:16)
  11. Friend of Yours? / Escape Iron Basis (7:19)
  12. Escape from Wing Kong (5:37)
  13. Hide (4:34)
  14. Call the Police (7:31)
  15. Dragon Eyes (1:11)
  16. Into the Spirit Path (7:05)
  17. The Great Arcade (7:53)
  18. The Final Escape (Lo Pan's Demise / Getaway) (7:01)
  19. Goodbye Jack (3:13)

Includes Digital Booklet

See the Filmtracks.com review of this score.


newcdThe Coupe de Villes

According to IMDB, John Carpenter formed a rock band called the Coupe de Villes while he attended USC, which included future directors Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle. They released a single album called "Waiting out the 80s" which did not include the song "Big Trouble in Little China."

 
 
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