ABSTRACT

In 1985, one of the era’s most prolific music video directors, Russell Mulcahy, approached the rock group Queen about writing and recording music for his new film Highlander (1986), about a group of immortals battling to stay alive across the centuries. Instead of releasing an official Highlander soundtrack album for the score (composed by Michael Kamen) and/or the songs composed by Queen and used throughout the film, Queen released a standalone album, A Kind of Magic (AKOM), that included three songs not found in the film, alternative versions of the songs that were featured in Highlander, while excluding two Queen tracks that were featured in the film. Adding to the muddled confusion over this conscious brand separation between Highlander and AKOM, Mulcahy directed two of the music videos for AKOM’s first singles, reinforcing the vestigial link between the film and the album. Single releases on both 7” and 12” records also featured artwork taken directly from the film. Highlighting once more the mixed messaging of the studio album’s brand divorcement from Mulcahy’s film, another Queen track, “One Vision,” a 1985 single that became a de facto theme song for the film Iron Eagle (1986), was the first track listed on the AKOM album, not the album’s eponymous title track featured prominently in Highlander. Still, despite this distancing from the film, AKOM has been seen by both Queen and Highlander fans as an unofficial soundtrack album for the film ever since its release, reinforcing the link that the album tried to disown.