Review of Trading Places – Limited Edition Score

Trading Places

Original Motion Picture Score

Trading Places…… an 80s staple of both Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy’s early days in film. This released 1 year before either main actor really hit it big with Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop respectively. Elmer Bernstein composes and conducts the score to this 80s comedy classic, and here’s my review of the score. I also give a few thoughts on the film.

I’ve always loved Trading Places. It’s comedy at it’s best. The music accompanies the film so well. If you look at Trading Places you’ll see it’s an argument of Nature Vs Environment. Most of the music in the film is very high-class sounding. I’d say maybe 80-20 in favor of the higher class themes. The film itself explores the happenings of switching two people’s lives. Louis Winthrope III and Billy Ray Valentine, these two characters played by Aykroyd and Murphy are classic. Winthorpe is one of those people who has never worked a day in his life, and Valentine is someone who has always struggled. I guess if you wanna boil it down… One is book smart, and the other is street smart. With 26 Tracks this single disc set has everything from the film, and more. Elmer Bernstein really nails the film’s feel through the score. Tracks 1 and 2… “Main Title” and “Your Breakfast Sir / Good Morning! / Dukes” respectively really show us the world Winthorpe is coming from. Track 4: “Wager” gives us insights to the Duke brothers, and how low they are willing to go with this bet of theirs. This theme for them is very dark and sinister sounding. Track 5: “Moving Out / Plots” starts off with a bang, and then gets darker and mysterious as it goes along. Track 6: “Philly / Ploy” has some up tempo and deep notes throughout it. Track 8: “Revelation / The Goods / Train” starts of being very ominous, and then gets upbeat from there. I love the subtle sounds Bernstein works into this music. This track has three very different cues, and is set over three scenes within the film. I love how in the same track we have three changes, and they all sound so great. With Track 10: ” Kicking Ass / Cards” this is the track for the climax of the film, when they are all at the Stock Exchange, awaiting the crop report. With trumpets blaring, and all the other instruments aiding them… This track might be my favorite on the entire CD. Other than one other track. For a complete departure of what the entire score has been Elmer Bernstein really adds some blues and jazz like tones in Track 12: “Louis Winthorpe III Blues” This was from the club scene when Louis had to improvise. That other track I mentioned I liked was Track 14: “Jamaican Bye-Bye” I’ll say this for Mr. Bernstein….. he knows how to mesh music well. The Trading Places score has high society classical themes, the blues, and a bit of reggae.

Tracks 15-20 on the set are all Christmas music, because the film is set at Christmas time after all. Then Tracks 21-26 are all bonus-alternate cues of previous tracks on the set. This is what I look forward to a lot of the times with these scores. To see and hear what the artist might have originally done, kinda like a demo. Even though I know it’s not a demo. I view this as the composer giving the film studio a second take if you will. Track 22: “bonus track: Bump (alternate)” might be the most unique out of them all here with these alternate takes. It starts off very differently, and even has a few added cues and tones in the middle. For me it just adds to the enjoyment of the score!


Total Disc Time: 48:00

If I had to pick my 6 favorite tracks from this score they’d be the following….. #’s 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10! Elmer Bernstein accomplished something great with this score, and everyone needs to hear it!!!! Track 10 by far would be my overall number one favorite.

Final Thoughts

Trading Places as I’ve already stated is still one of the funniest films ever. Elmer Bernstein captures this in his music, and listening to the score outside the film is just a fun time. Sadly I recently checked the LA LA Land Records website, and this release is SOLD OUT-OUT OF PRINT.

Review Overview


He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like oh, sure he went to Harvard.

Elmer Bernstein crafts a score that is fun, dark, enlightening, and not all unenjoyable. If you love Trading Places like I do, then you are sure to love the score!

User Rating: Be the first one !
Show More


TFG1Mike is a geek with many interests. He has been podcasting for over a decade, and sees no stopping point in sight. From Transformers, He-Man, Batman, Comics, movies, video games, cartoons, and so much more, Mike has a zeal for the things he loves, and he will bring the hammer down on the things that he has a disdain for. He's generally a postive person, but negativity can creep in there. Mike is all about the innuendos and innuendon'ts too. You'll hear him on many of The GCRN podcasts!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button