Beverly Hills Cop is back… but Axel F sounds very different to how you remember it

With its unmistakable Jupiter-8 lead synth line, Moog bass and Linn drums, Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F is synonymous with not only the ‘80s, but also Beverly Hills Cop, the movie from which it came. Now Netflix is reviving the Eddie Murphy-led franchise with a new movie, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, and guess what? That theme is back, too.

We’re made to wait 17 seconds, but as soon as the synth drops in the trailer for the new movie, we’re whisked back to 1984. But wait, what’s this? Before long, that familiar Axel F theme takes a harder hip-hop turn, and the main riff is given the orchestral treatment.

Which is sort of ironic because, as Harold Faltermeyer explained to the Red Bull Music Academy in 2014, Axel F nearly didn’t make it into the original Beverly Hills Cop because of its electronic instrumentation.

“The interesting thing about that song is that, first of all, nobody wanted to have it,” he recalled. “I got close to the fact of getting fired from the movie because I tried several different themes. Nobody liked it and it mostly has to do with the fact that at that time, to score a comedy was always done with an orchestra. It was like this Hanna-Barbera aesthetic, like you had like the orchestras with the cartoonish kind of themes.”

The Axel F rework appears to have echoes of another recently revived Faltermeyer composition, Top Gun Anthem. Though it does feature some synth elements, the Hans Zimmer-supervised version that appears in 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick also features an orchestra; it sounds more ‘epic’ than the original but, in our view, somehow less impressive, too.

Whether we’ll get to hear the original Axel F in all its glory when the new Beverly Hills Cop lands on Netflix next summer remains to be seen, but at least the trailer confirms that Axel’s old buddies Rosewood and Taggart (AKA Judge Reinhold and John Ashton) are coming along for the ride.

Will there be a homage to the ‘banana in the tailpipe’ scene, though? We certainly hope so.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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