The Wilhelm Scream

"The Wilhelm Scream" is a song by British musician James Blake, released on his self-titled debut studio album. It is a cover of the song "Where to Turn" by Blake's father, James Litherland.[1] The single was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2011,[2] and debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 136. The cover version was retitled after the Wilhelm scream, a sound effect used in numerous movies.[3] The single was used during the end credits of the HBO series, Entourage.[4] Rapper Big K.R.I.T. sampled the single in his song, "REM". The song was covered by The Bamboos, featuring Megan Washington released by Tru Thoughts in November 2011.

"The Wilhelm Scream"
Single by James Blake
from the album James Blake
Released3 March 2011
FormatDigital download
Songwriter(s)James Blake
Producer(s)James Blake
James Blake singles chronology
"Limit to Your Love"
"The Wilhelm Scream"
"Lindisfarne / Unluck"

Critical receptionEdit

Mayer Nissim of Digital Spy gave the song a positive review stating:

Named after a movie sound effect, 'The Wilhelm Scream' is apparently a reworking of James's dad Jamie Litherland's twangy number 'Where To Turn'. Here though, Blake takes the sort of carefree liberties with the source material that Jamie xx did with Gil Scott Heron on last month's fantastic We're New Here LP. As Blake's voice veers between an almost robotic coldness and grasping attempts at connection, the stripped-out backing plays around with space as much as it does notes. They key stuff happens from about two minutes in, as layers build in crashing waves of ambient terror until you find your teeth grinding and eyes welling up... before it all drops out again.      [3]

Pitchfork ranked this song 11th in their end of year list.

In January 2012, it was announced that Triple J listeners had voted "The Wilhelm Scream" number 92 in the 2011 Hottest 100. Additionally, the song earned Blake an Ivor Award nomination.

Track listingEdit

Digital download
1."The Wilhelm Scream"4:36
2."What Was It You Said About Luck"2:20
3."Half Heat Full (Old Circular)*" (*12" single only)2:12
4."The Wilhelm Scream" (Music video)4:37


Chart (2011) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[5] 14
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[6] 32
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[7] 136

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 3 March 2011[2] Digital download Polydor


  1. ^ Cooper, Duncan (11 February 2011). "James Blake Re-Conquers The BBC, Covers His Dad and Joni Mitchell". The Fader. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "James Blake -The Wilhelm Scream" on iTunes
  3. ^ a b Mayer Nissim (6 March 2011). "James Blake: 'The Wilhelm Scream'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  4. ^ "[1]"
  5. ^ " – James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  6. ^ " – James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream" (in French). Ultratip.
  7. ^ "[2]" UK Chart Log 19.02.2011 (wk6)