What’s the Point of “Zabriskie Point”??

Cincopa WordPress plugin
This record was purchased at Good Records (Check out their link on my Blogroll) in Dallas, Texas by my friend Jim. Jim saw the movie in the theater in 1970 and couldn’t believe he was holding the soundtrack in his hand. The LP is a reissue by 4 Guys With Beards. We bought the LP and I agreed to make him a CD of the music. This is the soundtrack to a movie that was voted one of the “Fifty Worst Movies of all Time.” It was directed by by Michelangelo Antonioni. Antonioni wanted to be a part of the counter culture movement in the United States. He was hired by Carlo Ponti to make three films for MGM that would appeal to the young “hippies” of 1970. This was the only film he ever directed in the United States. Antonioni hired Pink Floyd to do the soundtrack for the movie. Although the movie was a flop, it is now known for it’s amazing cinematography and it’s psychedelic soundtrack. The principles that contributed to the soundtrack, other than Pink Floyd, were Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, The Kaleidoscope and The Youngbloods. Much of the work that Pink Floyd put into the movie soundtrack never got into the film. Much of it was never released until years later as ‘rarities’ on Pink Floyd compilation CD’s. During my research to write this blog I found some of these out takes and I am including them in this blog. I’d love to read your comments regarding these rare outtakes. The LP itself was new and unopened. It is on really nice quality vinyl and had very quite surfaces as well as great sound quality. So here’s side one of Zabriskie Point…

Side 1


Written and Performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song is more of a sonic collage. All of the Pink Floyd songs were written in Rome in 1969 right after the release of their album Ummagumma. Can you see where Massive Attack might draw some inspiration from Pink Floyd?

Brother Mary

Written and Performed by The Kaleidoscope

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song was written by the great side man and musician David Lindley. The Kaleidoscope was a favorite band of the LA scene and it was Lindley’s band. They were very respected by other musicians like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, but they could never get a hit record. They made three LP’s with Epic Records and called it quits. Lindley went on to fame with Jackson Browne.

Excerpt from DARK STAR

Written and Performed by The Grateful Dead

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song really should need no introduction since it is one of the Dead’s most well know songs. I think it sounds awesome and it doesn’t last long enough. (The opposite of when you see the Dead perform it in concert.) Rhino Records has a double CD of the soundtrack that includes another 30 minutes of outtakes of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.

Crumbling Land

Written and Performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

I think a lot of people might not identify this song as being a Pink Floyd song. It has a definite Country twist to it.

Tennessee Waltz

Written by Pee Wee King and Performed by Patti Page

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song appears in the movie during the heroine’s drive through the desert. She here’s it on the radio.

Sugar Babe

Performed by The Youngbloods

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song also was heard on the car radio by the Heroine of the movie during her drive across the desert. It’s a little more hedonistic than the Tennessee Waltz…

Side 2

Love Scene

Written and Performed by Jerry Garcia

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This is one of the great surprises of this record! This is a beautiful improvisation of Jerry Garcia. It contains everything that is great about his playing. The love scene is the core of the movie and it occurs out on Zabriskie Point in the desert. There is a lot of full frontal nudity and that may be one of the reasons that this movie has attained a level of cult followers… At any rate the music is sublime! Pink Floyd also wrote two different songs for this scene but both were rejected by Antonioni. I have included those cuts at the end of this blog for your evaluation and enjoyment.

I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again

Traditional folk song performed by Roscoe Holcomb.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Roscoe Holcomb was an icon of Blue Grass and Folk Music. This is him at his best. Quite a jolt after the Garcia Love music! Loud and proud!!

Mickey’s Tune

Written and performed by The Kaleidoscope

This is another cut by David Lindley & Company. It is a glimpse into the musicianship of this wrongly obscure band.

Dance Of Death

Written and performed by John Fahey

John Fahey is another interesting side story to this LP. He was a pioneer of the rediscovery and promotion of Folk Music. He single handedly rediscovered and revived the music of Skip James. He hated ‘hippies’, Antonioni, Jerry Garcia and anything else that appeared to undermine the United States of America. During the making of the movie he got into an argument with Antonioni and punched him in the face! How any of his music got in the movie, I can’t explain… By the way, it is rumored that he recorded hours and hours of music for the film that ended up on the cutting room floor…

Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up

Written and performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This song is an early version of Be Careful With That Axe, Eugene… This is the Pink Floyd we all know and love. This music is in the final scene where the Real Estate Developers house in the desert is blown up over and over and over again. The massive wall of guitar fuzz is the perfect accompaniment to total destruction.

Thus ends the soundtrack that is way better than the film it was made for. I am including the outtakes below.



Written and performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Love Scene #1

Written and performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Love Scene #2

Written and Performed by Pink Floyd

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Untitled (aka Oenone)

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Untitled (aka Fingal’s Cave)

Cincopa WordPress plugin

So Young

Written and Performed by Roy Orbison

Cincopa WordPress plugin

This was the song heard over the closing credits of the movie.

So what IS the point of Zabriskie Point? I don’t know, but there seems to be several lessons. First, not all great music is inspired by great art or beauty. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Second, if we’re not open to new things we could miss a lot of great stuff. But last, I think the biggest lesson I learned can be summed up by the William Hurt character in the great movie “The Big Chill”: “Sometimes you just have to let Art flow over you…”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

About John

I taught myself how to play the piano and read music when I was 9 years old. I've been been consumed by music ever since. I majored in Piano performance in College and I still play, although not as well as when I had time to practice 4 -6 hours per day. This blog is about music. Music is the sound track of our lives. All it take is one song, one composition; and we are transported across time and space. I think it was Beethoven that said: "Music is the landscape of the soul."
This entry was posted in Rock Music, Vinyl and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What’s the Point of “Zabriskie Point”??

  1. Jim says:


    Really liked the post. The piano in PF Love Scene #2 was great. I don’t see audio for Mickey’s Tune and Dance of Death. Did they some how fall off.

    Fiting that such a counter culture movie ends with such a culture icon as Roy Obison

    I look forward to watching the DVD with you some time.

  2. John says:


    Thanks so much for catching the snafu on those two songs. They are now updated and included. I also look forward to watching the movie with you as soon possible. By the way I have the info on the “Lords Prayer” question. I think you will find it interesting as well. If you get a chance, “Mickey’s Tune” and “Dance of Death” are now operational.

  3. Ken West says:

    This was a fun listen and read, thanks, John! I’d never heard a lot this music, completely agree with you, Jerry Garcia’s Love Scene truly is sublime. Speaking of Jerry, there is a little known film well worth a rental called The Music Never Stopped, based on the true story of a man who used the music of the Grateful Dead (and others) to connect with his estranged son who suffers from a brain tumor. Love the Kaleidoscope track, I’m a big fan of David Lindley. His Mercury Blues just might be my favorite “air guitar” track of all time, 3 minutes of sheer amped up , out of control rock and roll manic bliss.

    • John says:

      Ken, thanks for the tip on The Music Never Stopped. I will check it out. I am also a big Lindley fan. What album is Mercury Blues on?

      • Ken West says:

        It’s on El Rayo X, his first solo album-produced by Jackson Browne. You gotta have the LP for this one-I have both and the CD is a pale, lifeless imitation of the real thing!

Leave a Reply