As much as it gives a bad taste in the mouth from how much Dario Argento enjoys boasting about his involvement with Dawn of the Dead, one has to admit he is responsible for bringing one of the coolest and most unique elements to the film: Goblin's superb music.
Dario Argento, during DOTD's post production, was insistent that Romero use Goblin, a band he employed several times prior in his own films. While in interviews Romero has always praised the band's contribution to the film, he nonetheless has displayed a slight resentment towards them. His between-the-lines attitude is as if he was forced into using them. If so, this is a shame because Goblin produced what I feel is the perfect soundtrack for Dawn of the Dead and I shudder to think what the final film would have been like without the truly superior score they delivered. The film's stock mall music that Romero so brilliantly integrated from existing recordings is fun and appropriate, but Goblin added a real biting edge to the film. By going heavy against the light themes of the shopping mall, their score intensely accentuates the shift in the old way vs new way course of human existence that themes the film. Goblin's magnificent score and its importance to the success of the film can not be overlooked. Despite the credit of "The Goblins with Dario Argento", the Italian director (who in his own right has created many fascinating motion pictures) was little more than a 'conceptual director' (if such a job really exists) with the genuine talent being the members of Goblin themselves.
Who and What is Goblin?
In the early 70s, Italian music was experiencing a wave of fusion-like, gothic rock. The musicians in Italy at the time often hopped from band to band with little consequence. Many good, yet grandiose albums were produced at the time. It was out of this creative quagmire that came Goblin stepped.
Originally playing under the name Oliver, the band was comprised of Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (guitar), Fabio Pignatelli (bass), Carlo Bordini (drums) and English vocalist Clive Haynes. After forming they were induced into moving to England by Eddie Odford (then producer of English supergroup Yes). But upon reaching England they found that Odford had left for America to oversee a Yes tour. Oliver, try though they did, were unable to attract the attention of any other recording industry people and returned to Italy, leaving Clive Haynes behind in his native England.
Back home in Italy, with new vocalist Tony Tartarini, they signed to Cinevox records. The name Oliver was dropped and in place called themselves Cherry Five. Soon they were recording their first LP. Mainly a soundtrack publisher, Cinevox began contracting Cherry Five to perform soundtrack music, which lead to their first important job: the scoring of Dario Argento's Profondo Russo (Deep Red). Just prior, Carlo Bordini was replaced on drums by Walter Martino who was then himself replaced by Agostino Marangolo. (I hope you can follow all these line-up changes! I certainly can't.)
To distinguish their soundtrack work from that of the fusion group Cherry Five, the name Goblin was created. Yet with Goblin's Profondo Rosso soundtrack immensely more successful than Cherry Five's release (the P.R. album saw sales of over a million copies worldwide), the band dropped the Cherry Five moniker and focused on their new found soundtrack genre niche, but not before releasing their second album, Roller. Less successful and strictly a studio effort, it was released in 1976 to little chart movement. It was in 1977, with the Susperia soundtrack, that they scored their biggest seller. And with it, Goblin became one of the top bands in Italy.
Following the release of Dawn of the Dead (Zombie), Morante left and was replaced by Carlo Pennisi. This going and coming of members then became a sort of defining quality of Goblin. To great rapidity band members were to leave, be replaced, return, leave again, return yet again, be replaced again, quit, leave again, return again, exit, get fed up and split, come back begging, throw their hands up in creative frustration and head for the hills, reconcile, return, leave... get the picture? Thus, Goblin enjoys one of the most convoluted histories in modern music. So much so that today not even the band members can agree on how it all went. But, what can be stated without disagreement is that Goblin left behind a wealth of music that is still as vibrant, current, and gripping as when it first was created. Helping to make Dawn of the Dead a classic, Goblin and the solid talent behind the music, is just another example of the high quality of DOTD's production.
Below is information on select Goblin records. I realize that this may be a departure from DOTD, but I've always closely associated the Goblin sound with DOTD and when listening to other unrelated works by the band am reminded of DOTD . I hope that readers of this page will seek out some of the band's records. If you do, I'm sure you will agree.
1975: Profondo Rosso (Deep Red)
(Pignatelli-Martino-Morante-Simonetti) The first release of Goblin! An outstanding score that still holds up today. The tile track, Profound Russo, establishes the Goblin "sound": tight, thumping bass and drums, rich, textured analog synthesizer, and crisp, expressive guitar. The song Death Dies shows an important element of Goblin: their fusion influence. As with consecutive Goblin releases, songs range from stand alone, pure music pieces to ones that are obviously meant to go with film. Latest Cinevox release features supposed complete tracks.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.085 Cinevox CD: CD-CIA 5004; CD-MDF 301
(Guarini-Pignatelli-Marangolo-Morante-Simonetti) The first non-soundtrack Goblin release. At times close to the sound of Profondo Rosso (as in the powerful opening song, Roller) and then sounding like out takes from Cherry Five (the song, Goblin, for example). A bit uneven and not a completely satisfying Goblin record, still the title track, Roller, is one mean, must have song! Two tracks, Aquaman and Dr. Frankenstein found their way onto the Italian CD release of Susperia.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.101 Cinevox CD: ? Japan: King Records: KCIP 2750
(Pignatelli-Marangolo-Morante-Simonetti) An international bestseller, this is the soundtrack that established Goblin as a top band in Italy. Between this and Profondo Rosso, music soundtracks have never been the same. Best cuts include the horrific title track, and the very musical Black Forest/Blind Concert.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.101 Cinevox CD: CD-CIA 5005 Japan: King Records (CD): K32Y-2111
1978: Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark (The Amazing Journey of Mark the Bagrarozzo Cockroach)
(Pignatelli-Marangolo-Morante-Simonetti) The second non-soundtrack Goblin effort. This one, although sporting one of the most inane record titles anywhere, is one of their most enjoyable and accomplished. It's a wonderful collection of melodic and emotional songs. I've been told that the lyrics (yes, there is some singing on this record!) are a bit silly (such as on the song, Un Ragazzo D'Aregento (The Silver Son), but since I don't speak Italian, I can enjoy the voice purely for its tonal quality (even though it's not really the best singing around). The opening title track is a great piece with a fantastic guitar solo at its end. Well conceived and the musicianship is Goblin at their peek. Simply: You like Goblin, you like this!
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: SC 33.037 Japan: King Records (CD): KICP 2213
1978: Zombi (Dawn of the Dead)
(Guarini-Pignatelli-Marangolo-Morante-Simonetti) The preeminent Goblin record! While most of the tracks on this record are only found in the Argento version of Dawn of the Dead, the three cuts that do appear in the American version are outstanding. The band plays here with their greatest command yet, with the most outstanding tracks being the title cut, L'alba Dei Morti Viventi (Dawn of the Dead), and La Caccia (The Hunt). It should be noted that this is the only Goblin RPM record ever released domestically in the United States. In Japan, a 45 RPM single was issued that featured an edited version of the title song. Cinevox finally released a close to complete score for the film's 20th anniversary.
Releases : United States: Varese Sarabande: VC 81106 Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.121 (Re-release: CIA 5035) Cinevox CD (select cuts coupled with select cuts from Tenebre) CD-CIA 5035 Japan: King Records: FML 113 King Records (CD): KICP 438 United States: Varese Sarabande: VC 81106
1979: Amo Non Amo (I Love You, I Love You Not)
(Pignatelli-Marangolo-Pennisi) A few good cuts, unfortunately half the album is made up of tracks from previous records. This soundtrack was one of a few Goblin did outside of the horror genre. Still, the music is good and worth a listen.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.126 Japan: Cinevox Records through Herald Music (CD): SLCS-7151
1978: Squandra Antigangster (Anti-Gangster Task force)
(Pignatelli-Marangolo-Pennisi-Simonetti) At its best, a great Goblin record; at its worst, a bad Goblin record. Thus making this is a very uneven album and a difficult one to recommend. This mess came about because Goblin was teamed with Italian singer Asha Puthli. The end result were tracks that sound like contrived, heartless, 70's disco. Still, there are a couple of purely Goblin tracks that manage to make this an exciting record. The song Stunt Cars is a frolicking tune done with a blend of musical styles and dripping with that patent Goblin sound. Trumpet's Flight exhibits the very real talent behind their musicianship. As I said, the good cuts soar, the bad ones SUCK! Recently, as with many Goblin soundtracks, this has been re-released on CD by Cinevox in a "complete" edition.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.131
(Pignatelli-Marangolo-Pennisi) This worthless Australian film had its original Brian May soundtrack rescored for the Italian release. By far the worst Goblin record. Not the one to win new Goblin fans over with.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: MDF 33.133 Japan: Cinevox Records through Herald Music (CD): SLCS-7150
1979: Wampir (Martin)
Music from the Album Roller fitted into the Italian Release of George Romero's Martin. Never released under this title.
1979: Goblin Greatest Hits
As the title implies: a greatest hits collection. The CD, first released in 1987, features many famous past songs as well as ones never heard to this point before. Question: Why does Cinevox always pick the song Zombie as the 'Best Of' track from Dawn of the Dead?
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: ORL 33.8305 Cinevox Records (CD) CD-F 0002
1980: Contamination (Alien Contamination)
(Guarini-"Ago" Marangolo-Antonio Marangolo-Pennisi-Pignatelli-Puleo) Even with Simonetti missing this is a fantastic record and features one of the coolest Goblin songs ever: Conexion (Connection). Another example of Goblin making a bad film tolerable.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: ORL 33.142 Japan: Cinevox Records through Herald Music (CD): SLCS-7148
1982: Tenebre (Unsane)
(Pignatelli-Morante-Simonetti) The first record after the "break up" of Goblin. While the recordings are somewhat lacking due to extensive use of early 80's drum machines, the music is exciting and full of life. Especially good is the cut, Lesbo. Re-released on CD in 1997 in its supposed entirety.
Releases : Italy: Cinevox Records: ? Cinevox CD (select cuts coupled with select cuts from Dawn of the Dead) CD-CIA 5035 Cinevox CD (complete album and film version) CD-MDF 302 Japan: Cinevox Records through Herald Music (CD): ????
(Some additional Goblin recordings)
1982: St. Helene (Guarini-"Ago" Marangolo-Antonio Marangolo-Pennisi-Pignatelli-Puleo)
1985: Phenomena (Creepers)
1989: La Chiesa (The Church)