Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings

I just did my Top Ten Scores of the Decade for the 1980s so now I would like to expand a bit further presenting the best year of that decade.

Best Year of the Decade: 1989
1989 was such a good year for film scores that I simply can't narrow my top scores list down to only five scores. I had to pick seven. But this year featured even more great scores than the ones I picked.
Most of the major composers contributed great scores and it was a year that younger composers also provided scores that were significant. Let's start with the big ones:
- John Williams composed two scores in '89 to great acclaim, each earning an Oscar nomination. Of course, the first one is the conclusion to the Indiana Jones trilogy and the other was his first collaboration with Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July (both made my top scores list).
- Jerry Goldsmith composed four scores: The Burbs, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Leviathan, and Warlock. The latter two are examples of Goldsmith providing servicable scores to really bad films. The former two are excellent examples of Goldsmith's skill as a first-class composer. The Burbs is long out of print and has become quite a collector's item and Trek V is Jerry's return to the franchise in fine style (some say this is as good as The Motion Picture score).
- James Horner composed two scores that were among the best of the year. Glory and Field of Dreams are vastly different from each other but proved that Horner could adapt his style and still provide the highest quality of score.
The real treat of '89 came from three relative newcomers to film scoring which set the score world on its ears. Danny Elfman seemed to appear from out of nowhere and gave us Batman, Patrick Doyle did appear from nowhere and gave us Henry V, and Alan Menken came from Broadway with the score to The Little Mermaid (the Best Score winner). Each of these scores is tops for the year and of the best of the decade and each composer would continue to produce thrilling scores over the next decade.
Alan Silvestri and Michael Kamen each composed two scores for the year. Silvestri continued the Back to the Future series with Part II and provided the score for James Cameron's The Abyss (a really good score). Kamen continued the Lethal Weapon series with Part II and jumped into the James Bond arena with License to Kill (a really good Bond score).
Ennio Morricone also composed two scores in '89 that are highly regarded. Casualties of War for Brian De Palma and a sentimental favorite for Morricone fans: Cinema Paradiso.
Rounding out the year are a slew of miscellaneous scores that were highlights such as: Maurice Jarre's score for the excellent Dead Poets Society, Goerges Delerue's Steel Magnolias, Elmer Bernstein's My Left Foot, and Randy Newman's score for Parenthood.
And finally, another fairly new composer really broke out in 1989. Hans Zimmer composed two scores: Black Rain and Driving Miss Daisy (the Best Picture winner that year). One is ethnic and edgy and the other is rather quiet and catchy.
Unqestionably, 1989 was one of the best years for film music and perhaps THE best year of the last three decades.

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