All posts under John Williams

9 Favorite Main Titles

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, movies used to have main titles that were scored. For two minutes, the composer laid the musical groundwork and set the tone for the film to follow. Then along came main title songs, sometimes written by the score composers, sometimes not. If not, the composer usually weaved that song melody (a la “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” etc.) into the fabric of the score. Come the ’80s and ’90s, it was all about marketing the soundtrack…

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9 Most Influential Film Composers

Hans Zimmer 2012_1377697856853

Every film composer brings his or her talent to a project. They carve out a career path for themselves in which they (hopefully) can make a living through the art and craft of creating music. But some film composers change the face of the art form. In the course of doing their jobs, they leave a lasting impression on the industry that reaches far beyond a fan’s favorite score or film. The list below contains an alphabetized list of what I consider to be the most influential film composers. These…

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Top 10 Film Scores of 2012

Top 10

One of the joys of compiling a year-end list is revisiting film scores that I may have forgotten. With so many scores released over the last 12 months, it’s easy for one or more to slip through the cracks. As usual, some scores that I was sure would make my list didn’t. By all rights, Nick Urata’s sweet and charming RUBY SPARKS would be included, as would Dan Romer and Behn Zeitlin’s Cajun-flavored BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Danny Elfman had a busy year and his scores for FRANKENWEENIE and HITCHCOCK…

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9 Favorite Presidential Film Scores

Presidential Seal

For all our real-time fascination with the Presidency, audiences usually show very little interest in cinematic portrayals of the Commander in Chief. Perhaps because we have either lived through the period and don’t want to watch it all play out again onscreen, or maybe the era is so far removed that we just don’t care. Whatever the reason(s), these film and TV portraits  provide meaty roles for actors and dramatic stories composers can sink their musical chops into. For this month’s “9 on the 9th,” we visit the Oval Office—real…

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9 Favorite Movie Songs

Norma Rae

This month’s “9 on the 9th” post deviates a bit from the expected subject matter to focus on the combination of film music and lyrics. Over the years, movie songs have had their ups and downs. The best songs work within the film and/or encapsulate the story or an emotion. And there’s arguably no bigger marketing tool for a film than a hit song. With 85 years of movie songs to choose from, narrowing the list down to nine was, as usual, ridiculously difficult. There are arguably better crafted songs…

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50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 2: #40–31

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Yesterday, I began a week-long look at 50 of my favorite film scores. If you want to read about the background behind the project, check out the earlier post. The remaining scores will be covered throughout the rest of the week. Now, on with the next installment of 50 of my favorite film scores… 40. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) Max Steiner’s classic score is made for the Technicolor sweep of the big screen. Anchored by arguably the most famous piece of film music ever written (if for no other…

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50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 1: #50–41

Citizen Kane

In the countdown to my 50th birthday on the 19th, in addition to foolishly choosing nine of my favorite film composers, I decided to tackle an even more daunting task—choose 50 of my favorite scores. Little did I know when I began this listening project back in June that it would prove to be so difficult, so enjoyable and so emotional. First, some ground rules for myself. I made a master list of every possible score that could conceivably be considered for the final list. That totaled over 175 scores….

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9 Favorite Film Composers

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As I approach my 50th birthday on the 19th, I’ve naturally been taking stock of my life so far and looking back at the good, bad and the ugly over my first half century. Arguably the most consistent element among the ups and downs is my love of film music. So, in a purely selfish move to celebrate my birthday month, many of this month’s blog posts will feature elements of wonderful film music memories from my first 50 years. This month’s “9 on the 9th” is a particularly dangerous,…

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9 Favorite Film Music Marches

The Music Man

Because my quota of clever (such as it is) is already used up for the month, March’s “9 on the 9th” post celebrates, well, marches. (Oy.) Having spent more than my dues in marching bands back in high school, the strict 4/4 march tempo can make me break out in a cold sweat, as do the horrific memories of rehearsing in 100+ degree temperatures in the middle of August on Texas blacktop pavement. (You could literally feel the heat through your sneakers. But I digress…) You’d think that pretty much…

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9 Favorite Western Film Scores

The Big Country

I’m not a fan of Westerns particularly. The mythological images created by Hollywood seldom bear any resemblance to reality and their political leanings are often less than honorable. But those wide, open spaces and America’s dramatic past (even filtered through Hollywood’s gauze) arguably have inspired more great film scores than any other cinematic subgenre. As always, with so many great scores to choose from, narrowing down a list to nine is a typically foolish task. Some composers specialized in Westerns, so to make this list more equally balanced, I only allowed…

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