Death Wish II (album)

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Death Wish II
Type Soundtrack album
Artist Jimmy Page
Release Date 20 February 1982
Recorded November 1981 at the Sol Studio, Cookham, Berkshire.
Mixed at the Sol Studio, Cookham, Berkshire.
Genre Hard rock, blues rock, rock
Language English
Length 37 min 11 sec
Label Swan Song Records
Catalogue Swan Song SS 59415 (US), Swan Song SSK 59415 (UK)
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Stuart Epps

Death Wish II is a soundtrack album by Jimmy Page, released by Swan Song Records on 20 February 1982, to accompany the film Death Wish II.


Following the XYZ project, Page was asked by his Berkshire neighbour, movie director Michael Winner, to record a soundtrack for the film Death Wish II in late August 1981. Page was given a deadline of a few weeks to write and record the album at his personal studio the Sol and to travel on location to Los Angeles with Winner for songwriting themes. Winner later explained:

I'd lived next door to Jimmy for many years. It was a very bad time for him - the drummer (John Bonham of Led Zeppelin) had died, and he was in a very inactive period. (Led Zeppelin manager) Peter Grant and I made arrangements for Jimmy to do the Death Wish II score, for which he wasn't actually paid, because Grant wanted to restore Jimmy back to creativity. Jimmy rang the doorbell, and I thought if the wind blew he'd fall over. He saw the film, we spotted where the music was to go, and then he said to me "I'm going to my studio. I don't want you any where near me, I'm going to do it all on my own." My editing staff said this is bloody dangerous! Anyway, we gave him the film, we gave him the timings, and he did it all on his own. Everything hit the button totally! I've never seen a more professional score in my life.[1]

Death Wish II starred Charles Bronson and was set around Los Angeles. Page was inspired to write a blues-flavoured soundtrack from the street scenes. The soundtrack features Dave Mattacks from Fairport Convention, former the Pretty Things keyboards player Gordon Edwards, and veteran singer Chris Farlowe, who also later appeared on Page's 1988 solo album Outrider. Page used a Roland guitar synthesizer on a number of the tracks. Tracks from this album were later reused by Winner for Death Wish III. Page was later asked to by Winner to compose the soundtrack for Scream for Help (1985), but suggested John Paul Jones to the director instead.

This album is Page's only solo material to appear on Led Zeppelin's record label Swan Song Records. His two later albums with the Firm were released on Atlantic and Outrider was on Geffen Records. Swan Song ceased operations in late 1983.

In Japan a vinyl LP was released that featured rare outtakes from the Sol sessions. Death Wish II was released in CD format in 1999. All CD versions of the album are out of print. Today used copies are highly collectible, and can sell for over a hundred dollars.

Album information

Track listing:

  • Side 1:
  1. "Who's to Blame" (Jimmy Page) – 2:41
  2. "The Chase" (Jimmy Page) – 5:48
  3. "City Sirens" (Jimmy Page, Gordon Edwards) – 2:01
  4. "Jam Sandwich" (Jimmy Page) – 2:35
  5. "Carole's Theme" (Jimmy Page) - 2:50
  6. "The Release" (Jimmy Page) - 2:35
  • Side 2:
  1. "Hotel Rats and Photostats" (Jimmy Page) – 2:40
  2. "A Shadow in the City" (Jimmy Page) – 4:01
  3. "Jill's Theme" (Jimmy Page) – 4:00
  4. "Prelude" (Jimmy Page) – 2:20
  5. "Big Band, Sax, and Violence" (Jimmy Page) - 2:51
  6. "Hypnotizing Ways (Oh Mamma)" (Jimmy Page) - 2:49

1999 Compact disc edition
Same track listing and order as the vinyl release.

Chart positions


Chart (1982) Peak Position
UK Albums Chart[2] 40
US Billboard The 200 Albums Chart[3] 50
Canadian RPM Top 50 Chart[4] 28


Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Who's to Blame" Billboard Pop Singles (Billboard Hot 100) 65
  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, guitar synthesizer, theremin, electronic effects, bass guitar, backing vocals, producer
    • Gordon Edwards – vocals, electric piano
    • Chris Farlowe - vocals
    • Dave Lawson - piano, synthesizers
    • David Whitaker - piano
    • David Paton – bass guitar
    • Dave Mattacks - drums, percussion
    • GLC Philharmonic - orchestra
    • The Sol Symphonic – strings
  • Production:
    • Stuart Epps – engineer, mixing


  1. "I first met Jimmy on Tolworth Broadway, holding a bag of exotic fish...", Uncut, January 2009, p. 47.
  2. Top 100 Albums - 6 March 1982. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  3. The Billboard 200 - April 1982. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-01-17.
  4. RPM Albums Chart - 24 April 1982. RPM. Retrieved on 2009-01-17.