Vertigo – Soundtrack

When the film Vertigo, released in 1958, a soundtrack album featuring the music of Bernard Herrmann was also issued (Mercury MG-20384). The album cover carried a photo of the film’s stars, James Stewart and Kim Novak.

BLOGAlbum Front

Album back



You can see that Stewart, Novak and Alfred Hitchcock are also mentioned on the record label, as well as Bernard Hermann, the composer and Muir Mathieson, the conductor. From the soundtrack, here’s The Beach:”

Mercury Records ran a full page ad for this and two other albums in the June 30, 1958, edition of Billboard magazine:


A small article in Billboard (April 28, 1958) announced that Mercury would also be releasing two singles from the album.


The first single to be released (June 14, 1958) was by Billy Eckstine (Mercury 71325). The label says that the song was “Inspired by the Paramount Picture Vertigo” and was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, not Herrmann. This “theme song” for the film was used for promotional purposes, but was not included in the film’s final cut. According to some sources, Hitchcock didn’t think it was appropriate.

Vertigo.Billy Eckstine

The single was reviewed in Billboard (June 9, 1958):


Following this release closely (June 26, 1958), was the single by Muir Mathieson (Mercury 71333), both sides of which were from the film.

Vertigo.Muir Mathieson


The next release came in 1973 (Sound/Stage 2301):

Vertigo Sound-Stage.Front




Although listed in some sources as a bootleg or pirated edition, this may in fact be a legitimate release. The overall packaging and crisp, clear printing is not what you expect to see from bootlegs/pirate editions from this era. The following is the note found in a box at the lower left of the back cover:

“Sound/Stage Recordings is a special series of albums dedicated to the best in motion picture scores, stage productions and entertainment personalities. Great care is taken to preserve the material involved. Sound/Stage Recordings are produced with today’s most advanced sound facilities. The master tapes are recorded at 15 IPS, utilizing the Dolby Noise Reduction System. This album is the result of strict quality control from the beginning of production, to the final product.”

The first CD release of the soundtrack came in 1989 (Mercury 422 106-2).

1990 CD Front

1990 CD Tray

1990 CD

The tracks are the same as those found on the vinyl releases.

The 1996 Varese Sarabande (VSD 5600) released another CD. This one is a re-recording arranged and conducted by Joel McNeely with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Vertigo 1995 Varese VSD 5600The tracks are:

Scotty Trails Madeline (including: Madeline’s First Appearance, Madeline’s Car, The Flower Shop, The Alleyway, The Mission, Mission Organ)
Carlotta’s Portrait
The Bay
By the Fireside
The Forest
The Beach
The Dream
Farewell and the Tower
The Nightmare and Dawn
The Letter
Goodnight and the Park
Scene D-Amour
The Necklace, the Return and Finale

In 1996, Varese Sarabande released the original soundtrack for the film on CD (VSD 5759).

Vertigo 1996 Varese VSD 5759

The tracks are the same as those listed for their previous CD and include material not on any of the original soundtrack material released to this point. Included here is The Streets:

The liner notes for the CD, written by Kevin Mulhall and Robert Townson, state that another cue, The Graveyard, was found, but was too badly damaged to include in this project.