Recorded: April-June; October-November 1985
Producers: David Bowie, Trevor Jones, Arif Mardin
Released: 23 June 1986
David Bowie: vocals
Robbie Buchanan: keyboards, synthesizer, programming
Dan Huff, Ray Russell: guitar
Will Lee: bass guitar, backing vocals
Matthew Seligman, Paul Westwood: bass guitar
Steve Ferrone: drums, drum effects
Neil Conti, Harold Fisher: drums
Richard Tee: piano, Hammond organ
Nick Plytas, David Lawson, Brian Gascoigne, Trevor Jones: keyboards
Bob Gay: saxophone
Albert Collins, Nicky Moroch, Jeff Mironov, Kevin Armstrong: guitar
Cissy Houston, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Fonzi Thornton, Marcus Miller, Marc Stevens, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Garcia Alston, Mary Davis Canty, Beverly Ferguson, A Marie Foster, James Glenn, Eunice Peterson, Rennele Stafford, Diva Gray, Robin Beck, Charles Augins, Richard Bodkin, Kevin Clash, Danny John-Jules: vocals
- ‘Opening Titles Including Underground’
- ‘Into The Labyrinth’
- ‘Magic Dance’
- ‘Chilly Down’
- ‘As The World Falls Down’
- ‘The Goblin Battle’
- ‘Within You’
- ‘Thirteen O’Clock’
- ‘Home At Last’
Labyrinth was the soundtrack album for the 1986 film of the same name. The film was directed by Jim Henson, and starred David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King.
Henson had decided that Jareth should be played by a charismatic rock star, and considered Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Prince and Sting for the role. Bowie was approached in 1983 during his Serious Moonlight Tour, and was shown early designs as well as a video of Henson’s The Dark Crystal.
Jim Henson set up a meeting with me while I was doing my 1983 tour in the States, and he outlined the basic concept for Labyrinth and showed me some of Brian Froud’s artwork. I’d always wanted to be involved in the music-writing aspect of a movie that would appeal to children of all ages, as well as everyone else, and I must say that Jim gave me a completely free hand with it. The script itself was terribly amusing without being vicious or spiteful or bloody, and it also had a lot more heart than many other special effects movies. So I was pretty well hooked from the beginning.
The soundtrack featured six original songs by Bowie, interspersed with Trevor Jones’s score for the film. Jones’s score was split into six discrete tracks on the album: ‘Into The Labyrinth’, ‘Sarah’, ‘Hallucination’, ‘The Goblin Battle’, Thirteen O’Clock’, and ‘Home At Last’.
Bowie wrote the lyrics for ‘Opening Titles Including Underground’, with music composed by Jones. Bowie’s other songs were ‘Magic Dance’, ‘Chilly Down’, ‘As The World Falls Down’, ‘Within You’, and the closing ‘Underground’.
The songs were recorded between April and June 1985 in London, with overdubs taped in October and November in New York. They were co-produced by Arif Mardin, who had arranged the strings on Bowie’s Tonight album.
‘Chilly Down’ was performed by some of the same musicians Bowie had used on ‘Absolute Beginners’. Bowie only sang a guide vocal on the song, which was replaced by performances by Charles Augins, Richard Bodkin, Kevin Clash and Danny John-Jules.
Labyrinth was released on 23 June 1986, four days before the film. It was issued on vinyl, cassette and compact disc.
The soundtrack was not a great seller, but reached the top 40 in the UK, USA, Netherlands, Germany, and New Zealand.
David Bowie appeared in two music videos as Jareth, for the songs ‘Underground’ and ‘As The World Falls Down’. Both were made available on The Bowie Video Collection and the later set The Best Of Bowie.
Labyrinth was Bowie’s second soundtrack release, following 1981’s Christiane F. In 1993 he released a third soundtrack album, The Buddha Of Suburbia.
‘Underground’ was remixed and released as a single, with an instrumental on the b-side. Steve Barron directed the single’s video, which featuring various characters from the film, including Hoggle and the Junk Lady.
I’ve found that the videos I put into other people’s hands have always been a mistake. Because of my lack of interest, I didn’t get that involved with things like ‘Underground’ which I did for Labyrinth. I just left it up, and the result is just not my kind of video. I was a bit lax there. I didn’t feel involved.
Music & Sound Output, June 1987
Barron also directed a video for ‘As The World Falls Down’, which included clips from the film as well as black and white footage of Bowie performing the song.
‘Magic Dance’ was released as a 12″ single in the USA in January 1987. The tracks were ‘Magic Dance (A Dance Mix)’, ‘Magic Dance (Dub)’, and ‘Within You’.
On 4 August 2017, the Labyrinth soundtrack was reissued on limited edition green and lavender vinyl editions. It was remastered at Capitol Studios with replica artwork, and contained a slightly shorter version of ‘Magic Dance’.