How Composer Leo Birenberg Included All Kinds of 80s Music

Cobra Kai shows fans what their 80s heroes look like today. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka resume their Karate Kid roles of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. Music is a big part of Johnny’s life, as his life always has an 80s soundtrack. The show’s composers, Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson, also imbue the soundtrack with every possible 80s sound.

Dee Snider | Curtin Bonds Baker/Netflix

Birenberg was the guest of Cobra Kai podcast star Martin Kove Hitting with the Koves February 17. He explained how his score captures all types of music that existed in the 80s. Cobra Kai Season 5 returns September 9 on Netflix.

There’s More Than One Type of ’80s Music In ‘Cobra Kai’

80s music is now a genre all its own, as music stations and playlists feature 80s hits. Birenberg acknowledges that it’s more complicated than that. Johnny likes heavy metal like Dee Snider, Foreigner and Whitesnake. So much so that Zabka stepped up to wear a Jane’s Addiction t-shirt.

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“We had to pitch our concept which is this throwback to the 80s,” Birenberg said on Hitting with the Koves. “Extremely cinematic, kind of like a nod to various parts of I would say 80s cinematic lore, but it’s a few different things because you’ve got the synth wave. You’ve got the metal hair.

Cobra Kai music also encompasses instrumental genres.

Birenberg/Robinson’s original “Strike First” became the de facto theme for Cobra Kai. Birenberg explained how this song is basically the theme song that Johnny hears in his own head. Their instrumental music covers a wide range of music, including music inspired by movies.

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“And you also have such a busy, epic orchestra as you would find in some of those ’80s Amblin movies,” Birenberg said. ” Or in The Karate Kid there is also an orchestral tradition. We really wanted to encompass all of that because we felt it was necessary for the story.

Music “Karate Kid”

Bill Conti wrote the score for The Karate Kid. In addition to the driving music of the All-Valley Karate Tournament, with its crane-kick crescendo, Conti’s score also included softer Japanese-inspired themes. Additionally, Conti has already written the definitive sports film score for Rocky.

The Karate Kid the films also had pop music soundtracks. “You’re the Best” and “Moment of Truth” were the standout tracks from the first movie and Chicago’s “Glory of Love” for the sequel, but each. Karate Kid III also had a soundtrack but didn’t warrant as much top 40 success.

The instrumental score by Birenberg and Robinson pays homage to Conti and the pop music of 80s films. The musical licenses too. They included Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” in one episode. So if you think Cobra Kai is pretty much “80s music”, consider there’s more than just one genre.

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