Posted October 15, 2023 by Jeff in Tunes

‘Asteroid City’ Soundtrack Due Out on Vinyl

Asteroid City Original Soundtrack
Asteroid City Original Soundtrack

ABKCO has just announced that it’ll release the Asteroid City Original Soundtrack on vinyl for the first time on November 24. The double album contains original music by frequent Wes Anderson collaborator Jarvis Cocker, the original score by composer Alexandre Desplat, and many 1950s vintage country & western and skiffle tunes from the 1950s. Having only been released digitally this past June, the 2LP edition on orange translucent vinyl will be the first version of the soundtrack for the film offered in any physical format.

Music supervisor Randall Poster, who’s worked with Wes Anderson on every one of his films since 1998’s Rushmore (making Asteroid City their tenth collaboration), says assembling the songs was a blast.

“Wes and I had so much fun putting the film’s music together,” Poster says in a press release. “We’ve been doing these soundtracks for almost 30 years and have the benefit of that continuity of collaboration. We’re expanding our music horizons whenever [Wes] makes a new movie. Wes is so good with music and stands by his very strong instincts. For Asteroid City, we had been ‘hunting and gathering’ for a year before shooting began so were very familiar with the country & western genre which is not, per se, strictly country . . . we were kind of instinctively drawn to one song or another. Our mindset was to spread the wings of western swing and see what we discover.”

The album contains 16 songs recorded and originally released in the approximate era the film takes place, including tracks such as Tex Ritter’s “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)” and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s million-selling 1955 rendition of “Sixteen Tons,” which spent ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s country music chart. Bing Crosby and Burl Ives make appearances, having a go at western music with “Cowboy’s Lament” and “The Streets of Laredo,” respectively.

Pop music from the pre-rock and roll era is also represented with Les Paul & Mary Ford’s 1951 version of “How High The Moon,” which spent nine weeks at the top of all three Billboard charts that preceded the Hot 100. UK folk and skiffle music (a British genre inspired by American blues, country, bluegrass and jazz) is also included with “Island of Dreams” by the Springfields (featuring a young Dusty Springfield and her brother Tom) and “Freight Train” by the Charles McDevitt Skiffle Group & Nancy Whiskey.

Johnny Duncan and The Blue Grass Boys’ “Last Train to San Fernando,” which is also featured in the official trailer, serves as a centerpiece. “This one kicked it all off; I had sent it to Wes for something else so he was already aware of it; that was a door opener for much of it,” Poster says of the tune. Duncan was an American expat living in England and he scored a UK No. 2 hit with the song, which is a cover of a calypso tune by Mighty Dictator. The San Fernando being sung about is actually a town on the west coast of Trinidad.

Composer Desplat began his career scoring French films. He switched over to English language films in the early 2000s and has scored five previous Anderson films: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch.

Musician/broadcaster/poet Jarvis Cocker, best known as the frontperson in English rock band Pulp, provided two original songs for the Asteroid City Original Soundtrack and briefly appears in the film performing a musical number.

Showing a kind of loyalty that’s rare these days, ABKCO has released the original soundtrack for every film Anderson has written and directed for more than a decade and a half.

Image: Asteroid City Original Soundtrack by ABKCO


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].