Ultrasonic’s thoughts: Rocky 4 Motion Picture Score

Rocky 4 Score Album Cover

There is a lot to be said in music and how it can be used in defining something, whether it be in TV, Movies, or even video games nowadays. Even with the best scripting, directing and performances by the cast, the one thing that can make or break the project is the music itself, and whether it can convey exactly what the project is about. This is a challenge that all composers have had to face, and Vince DiCola was no exception. An accomplished percussionist and pianist, DiCola had begun as a session player for artists like Juice Newton and Cheryl Lynn. However, it was in playing with various bands in Los Angeles with Frank Stallone that the composer would find himself helping Frank on writing some songs for the movie “Staying Alive”, which the latter’s brother Sylvester was directing. As a result, DiCola would be nominated for a Grammy, which would then lead to Stallone hiring him as the composer for the fourth film in the Rocky franchise, since Bill Conti was busy composing music for the first two “Karate Kid” films at the time.

Right away with the score you felt that this was something quite different from what had been done before with the Rocky films, for while there was still some orchestration in certain parts, the majority of the music had more of a vibe that matched the more glossy, tightly-edited feel of the rock videos that were dominating MTV, and it showed.

To start off, you have the Rocky theme, “Gonna Fly Now” arranged in a still familiar, yet new way, and the three most notable themes to fans, “Training Montage”, “Up The Mountain”, and “War”, the former two being the most noteworthy of workout songs to fans the world over.

In addition, there is also “Drago’s Suite” and “Drago’s Entrance”, which both give a sense of Ivan Drago being an even more menacing foe than what Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang were.

A couple of other notable tracks are “Anniversary” and “Rocky and Son”, which balance out the more fan-fare, bombastic tracks and sinister tracks with more intimate themes that harken back to Bill Conti’s composition with Rocky and Adrian’s love story, as well as Rocky’s relationship with his son Robert.

And finally, you have “Knockout” and “Victory” to tie up the score, with the latter being yet another Conti composition retooled into an incredible arrangement to match Rocky’s win over Drago, as well as his speech at the end.

In all, this is a score that truly takes the Rocky franchise into a new direction musically, yet it doesn’t stray away from the basic elements that make the Rocky franchise special, and that was precisely by design when DiCola came on board.

On the one hand, it was nice to step into Bill Conti’s shoes after he scored three Rocky movies, because I had a template that I didn’t want to stray too far from, and because I’d worked with Sylvester previously, I also knew that he was going to give me some latitude to go in my own direction.

-Vince DiCola

Not only that, but the success of the film opened the door for DiCola to work his composing magic yet again when he was hired to compose the music for “Transformers: The Movie” one year later, And this would be yet another music score that would become well-beloved among fans.


Transformers: The Movie (1986) Movie Score

But perhaps what makes the Rocky 4 score so memorable is that it is very distinct not only from what had been done in previous Rocky films, but from other films in a sense that it showed that there was more than one way to compose music for movies, and it didn’t always have to be in an orchestral, symphonic way. And in a time where orchestrations seem to sound almost alike in some respects, it is good to see that there are composers who are willing to try new things as opposed to what is expected, even to this day, and one can hope that there are other aspiring composers who pick up on this and utilize other means of composing.

Vince DiCola

The Electric Circus Episode #4- The Interactive Figure Review!

Electric Circus New Logo copy

Here it is-  Episode # 4 !  Are you a toys to life fan?  Whats that, you ask?  It’s those games with portals and the crazy characters you put on them-  allowing you to play AS THAT CHARACTER in a game! So, I thought, let’s talk about these games! So this episode is all about interactive figures and the games they live in! Enjoy!

The Electric Circus Episode #3- The Holiday Special!

Electric Circus New Logo copyelc-cir-xmas

Join RayGunn and the  rest of the Arcade Archives gang celebrate the 2014 holiday season!

The Electric Circus Episode #2- E3 Stuff 2014!

Electric Circus New Logo copy

Hey Arcaders!

The big surprise is here!

Here it is- podcast #2! lots to talk about this episode, so let’s get started!!!

Please support all we do here at the Archives- like and comment!!!!!!!!

The Electric Circus Episode #1- Beginnings!

Electric Circus New Logo copy

Hey Arcaders! Raygunn here… and its been awhile. Just wanted to get through the holidays and give Our new SCRIBES a chance to speak! That’s right, we have new authors on the site to give their insight in the video game world and more! Stay tuned for more of that!

But, lets talk about our new podcast, THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS! First- why so long between podcasts… well I liked my first one , but I wasn’t thrilled with it. I always wanted a podcast where it was more of a round-table discussion, rant, rave, etc. Kinda hard to do that alone.So that’s why I put the podcast on the back burner for so long. Then, something amazing happened… I started at Disney Quest! I was finally aligned with a crazy group of people that were like me!  So, after months of planing, we finally recorded two weeks ago.  Now the sound is a little wonky ( tried out some USB digital mics, we have to raise the volume more.) but this is just an introduction podcast, so that’s fine. Our future podcasts will have individual articles, reviews, more round-table discussions and FUN!

So enjoy our first of many ELECTRIC CIRCUS podcasts! This is episode one- “Beginnings”

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

The Bishop Of Battle!

The Bishop Of Battle was from a anthology movie from the 1980s that few people remember- Nightmares. the movie was good, but this story is the best one.

It stars a young Emilio Estevez as competitive gamer JJ Cooney, who is so obsessed with this one particular game “Bishop Of Battle” it consumes him… literally! There’s a group of guys over at Rouge Synapse (http://www.roguesynapse.com/)  who are trying to create this game for real! I cant give enough props out to Rouge Synapse – they have done some amazing work- check their site out! Anyhoo, on with the show- Enjoy!

This is a movie that needs a DVD release!