From Willow’s Song to Island – A Gem From The Wicker Man Soundtrack
The Wicker Man (1973) is one of the creepiest films ever made. Horror legend, Sir Christopher Lee, considered the film to be his personal best. And few horror films have an ending quite as haunting.
The soundtrack, by Paul Giovanni, is a brilliant, dark, folky, renaissance-fair sounding collection of songs that help turn the scare factor up to eleven. Each song has a melancholic, ancient quality, that is almost as spooky and unsettling as the film itself.
The true standout gem is “Willow’s Song.” Originally performed in the film by Magnet (a group of musicians assembled by Giovanni and Gary Carpenter) and sung by Rachel Verney (Britt Ekland’s singing voice). The song appears in the film as Britt Ekland’s character, Willow MacGregor, is dancing alone, naked in her room, whilst seducing the very-Catholic, Sgt. Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), with her pagan powers.
Here is the original version:
Since the film, the song has taken on a life of its own, spawning covers from Doves, Sneaker Pimps, Nature and Organisation, Faith and Musie, and The Mock Turtles.
The unrivaled version of the song came in 1994 from French band, Autour de Lucie, on their album, L’Échappé belle. The production is absolutely timeless and dreamy. The reverb soaked etherial beauty of Valérie Leulliot’s voice will send shivers down your spine.
They completely reinvented the song, lyrics & title included. Their version, called “Island,” is slightly less old-school than the original. It tells the tale of a girl getting ready to go out at midnight and a light shining from a window into the darkness. Listen for yourself and see which version you prefer.
PS: Don’t both watching the Nicolas Cage remake of the Wicker Man unless you want a good laugh. Happy Halloween!