VARIOUS ARTISTS – “Urgh! A Music War” (1980)

Let’s face it — “Urgh!” will never have an official DVD release, ever. Even though it’s been shown more on TV recently (especially on VH1 Classic), the home video rights are completely landlocked in an archiac legal agreement which likely will 99.9% prevent it from ever getting a proper release again. Likewise, since the soundtrack is filled with such big names, all of whom would demand a hefty licensing fee, that it will remain out-of-print in perpetuity as well.

But, luckily for me, a friend who’s an obsessive TV taper managed to snag “Urgh!” off of INHD (a high-def cable channel) some months ago. He burned it straight from his TiVo to DVD, meaning that the letterboxed bootleg of it that I now have is as close to the real thing as anyone is ever gonna get!

Other blogs have done “Urgh!” posts in the past, but here, I’ve ripped the audio from this new DVD, compiling every performance in the film from its broadcast source.

Various Artists – “Urgh! A Music War” soundtrack (ZIP file)

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66 Responses to URGH! A MUSIC WAR

  1. Charlie says:

    Muchisimas gracias! (And if you post the movie itself, you will be rewarded in monkey heaven.)

  2. Huge Urgh Fan says:


    You are the COOLEST for posting this!!!!!! I have the Urgh! soundtrack on vinyl and on the official CD, as well as the movie on VHS. I have longed for the day when I could listen to the WHOLE soundtrack in crisp, clean, and clear sound. Thanks to you, today, I finally can!

    One question, though. I notice that the Splodgenessabounds song “Two Little Boys” is not in the file you posted. In the original film, it appeared as the 34th song, in between “Sign of the Cross” by Skafish and “Madame Medusa” by UB40. Was this omitted from the version of Urgh! that your friend captured? I believe that I read somewhere that different songs have sometimes been omitted when the movie have been shown on some channels.

    I’ve been a fan of Urgh! ever since I saw it so many years ago late one night on “Nightflight” on the USA Network. Since then it has remained one of my all time favorite films, and today I regard it as one of the most important records of new wave era. It is a shame that may never appear on DVD, as its historical value alone warrants its release. I just hope that the footage that was shot for this is being extremely well-preserved.

    THANKS AGAIN, AGAIN, and AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. xopher.tm says:

    (Heh. My “anti-apm word is “numan”…)

    Very cool of you to post this; thanks! I too was introduced to this by Nightflight way back when and later bought the official soundtrack album (on cassette no less).

    A few years back, when all the Blockbuster video stores were selling off stock I found a used copy of this for under five bucks. A prized possession ever since. We’ll have to work on that Splodgeness track somehow – one of my faves from the film.

  4. Jude says:

    outstanding selection. still love the grainy VHS copy I made off of Showtime in 1983. Klaus Nomi — the definite highlight.

  5. Mug says:

    Thanks tons. I have the vinyl and was lucky enough to see this on the big screen many, many, moons ago.

  6. Rich says:

    Predictably, there is a forum or two that documents when this movie airs, posts about DVD-R trades, different permutations of airings and soundtrack deviations, etc….

    I have two official VHS versions of it (seems like it was in many video stores at the time), that I bought from stores going out of business. One is for repeated viewing, and one is a mintier one (tape-wise) that is unfortunately inside a broken cassette that is the glued-together variety. WHen I figure out how to safely play it or extract it, I will rip it to DVD.

  7. UrGh! says:

    Rich -

    Regarding your mintier Urgh! tape in the damaged cassette. If you are going to extract the tape yourself (I’m thinking some audio/video restoration/transfer places might do it for you for a fee), I would recommend getting a few junk VHS tapes that you really don’t want or like, and then experimenting on them. That way, you can familiarize yourself with the layout of the cassette, how they are pieced together, how they go back together, where the little spring things (that will invariably fall out as soon as you open it up) go. Practice on a few, since some cassettes are easier than others to open. Some have screws with weird heads that require a special screwdriver, some are glued together (!) in addition to being screwed together, etc. So, familiarize yourself with the URGH! cassette as much as you can without opening it, to see what you will be dealing with, then practice on a few junk VHS tapes. Practice taking the tape out, transferring it to another cassette, then putting everything back together. This way, when you do it for real with the URGH! tape, you’ll run less of a risk of damaging the tape and running into problems putting the cassette back together (or transferring it to a new one) so that it works properly.

    Sorry for the long post, but I had to transfer a few OOP VHS tapes to new cassettes a few years ago and I thought I’d share a few observations from my experiences. Mine worked out fine. However, I ended up having to break the cassette to get the tape out because of the non-standard screws used on it. Another, I had to pry open along the edges because it was glued. Since you’re dealing with a VHS tape that fetches $50.00 or more on eBay, I do recommend practicing before trying anything with the tape.

  8. brandumb says:

    You should up the whole movie!

    By the way eggcity rocks!!

  9. pavemental says:

    Yeah, how about ripping the disc and torrenting that sucker? Or starting a b&p tree? Or renting it out in a certain video store?

  10. RioRico says:

    Back in the day, we accummulated around 1000 CEDs (analog videodisks, just hardshell LPs spun at 3600 RPM), including Duran Duran videos (uncut) and Jacko’s THRILLER and Girl Groups… and URGH! These weighty devils now sit in a shipping-container storage shed at the edge of our forest, awaiting dubbing to DVD and soundtrack extraction. Since we’re also ripping a few thousands of LPs, 45s, 78s, and cassettes, it may be awhile before those CEDs are transformed. Bother. At least we’re done with the truckloads of VHS and BetaMax tapes. Most of them, anyway. This may be a lifetime task. Maybe I should just eat worms and die, and avoid all this work.

  11. ruud says:

    Many many thanks from Holland for this rare item. Echo and Gang live are fantastic.

  12. Harold says:

    yes, Klaus Nomi is a highlight, but there are so many good performances. Gang of Four–wow, Magazine–wow, Dead Kennedy–wow, Pere Ubu–wow. I saw this in theatres and I have a copy sitting in my DVR

  13. Brian says:

    You can now buy the DVD from WarnerBros. for $20 – only Splidgenessabounds has been edited out


  14. ken vail says:

    well i was thinking about this…i’ve been going to used record stores since i was 12, back in 1982, and i had bough this for 1.98 used back in i think 1983 or 84…..what i would give to have it back…thanks a lot, now at least i can groove to it on my ipod.

  15. pat says:

    Thanks a lot for this mate

  16. jingle bob says:

    fyi, URGH! is available on Warner Bros. Burn to Order DVD Archive.

    I think a couple of tracks are missing due to license reasons… but still…


  17. martin says:

    Amazing soundtrack thank you for taking the time to put it out there

  18. Pierce says:

    I was at both of the Santa Monica Civic shows staged for the film (my friend & I are visible in the crowd for about 1.25 seconds…glory!). First night was Cramps/X/Dead Kennedys/Chelsea; the second night was Wall Of Voodoo/Members/Magazine/Pere Ubu…and I’m forgetting another band. I think the Dead Boys maybe, but that doesn’t seem right. Anyway…

    It kills me knowing that there are untold minutes of precious footage of all of these bands live, in 1980, when most of them were at their peak (well, truth told, The Cramps were pretty bad, as Bryan Gregory had left the band not too long before the show – they were a little….rough). They could put out box sets of both the video & the audio and make a mint. Thank you for bringing this out into wider circulation – though I guess I’ll hold on to my vinyl & VHS a little longer yet. ;)

  19. mike hansen says:

    i was at a videostore in the 1990′s with this on the shelves. VHS, but it was stolen and the place went under…

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  44. Caesius says:

    In the 80′s I rented the VHS tape and I was given a gift (esp. living in Albuquerque, NM) of the music I liked from the Police to Klaus Nomi. At that time I was the only teen in my circle of friends that even knew who OMD and Wall of VooDoo were, let alone being the only one to own and love their music. I don’t mean it as a boast, but as a reflection of what it was like in Alb., NM in the early 80′s. When I hear Retro 80′s Radio shows, I constantly think “This is NOT what radio was like *in* the 80′s!” Honestly, if not for my best friend having a sister in college in California, I might not have had these bands to set my core musical taste (via her boyfriend). Devo, and the Cure barely had familiarity by name, and never had radio play until after ’85, and even then only for 4 hours on a Tuesday night public access radio show. But back to URGH! — I had another friend with a stereo tuner which allowed me to record the music directly from the VHS tape I rented. For decades this audio recording from the (used) VHS tape was the only access I had to URGH! A Music War. Thank you for this…really. There’s stuff on here I don’t even recall. And certainly, memorized favorites.
    I cannot wait to explore this site even more…

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