Sunday, August 3, 2014



Here is the  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



Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams dominated the decade of the 1970's (especially the latter half) producing classic scores that were some of the best of the decade and of all time. Williams won two Academy Awards in the 1970's (Jaws in 1975 and Star Wars in 1977) and Goldsmith won his one and only Oscar for The Omen in 1976. Although it maybe true that Goldsmith was always overshadowed by Williams, it still does not detract from the amazing scores that he produced in the 70's and more praise should have be heaped upon him for these scores than he ultimately received.
As a prelude to his output of the 70's, Goldsmith composed Planet of the Apes in 1968 utilizing a terse, ultra-modern atonal sound that was perfect for the topsy-turvy future world where apes dominated the planet. The score was nominated for an Academy Award but didn't win facing stiff competition from Nino Rota's score for Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet and the eventual winner of the Oscar that year, John Barry's The Lion in Winter.
In 1970 Goldsmith gave us Patton. It is easily one of the best scores of the 70's (I put it at #7 on my Top Ten Scores List of the 70's) and it should have won the Academy Award as the movie was highly praised taking home Best Picture honors that year. However, another picture that year which was highly praised and a runaway hit was Love Story (it was the highest grossing movie of the year for 1970) with a score by Francis Lai which featured a beautiful main title theme which is still performed today.
In 1973 and 1974 Goldsmith produced Papillon and Chinatown respectively. Each was a sparse affair with unique instrumentation but seemed a bit lacking as the tendency toward larger scores was beginning to pick up steam especially for such disaster films as Williams' The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno.
In 1975 Goldsmith composed one of his biggest scores for The Wind and the Lion which featured rousing adventure music and big instrumental forces. It was nominated for an Academy Award but was up against a little score called Jaws by John Williams.
In 1976 Goldsmith finally broke through the glass ceiling winning the Academy Award for The Omen but it was not a sure thing and some viewed it as an upset as it was up against Bernard Herrmann's Taxi Driver score which was highly acclaimed.
In 1977 John Williams dominated the scoring world once again with Star Wars and everyone else should have just stayed at home as it scooped up every major award in sight. To add insult to injury, Williams also produced Close Encounter of the Third Kind in '77 which is also a classic.
In 1978 the Academy went a little nuts and gave the Oscar to Giorgio Moroder for his score to The Midnight Express, but the Award should have gone to Williams' Superman of that year as it was clearly the best score of the year and one of the most iconic scores of all time. Goldsmith composed The Boys of Brazil in 1978 which was nominated but didn't win and has been mostly forgotten except for extreme fans of Goldsmith's work.
Then came 1979 and what a year for Goldsmith!! The best of the decade for him as he produced two scores that were of the best of the decade. The first was the score for Ridley Scott's Alien which captured perfectly the feeling of this haunted house movie in space. It also utilized a lot of atonal writing that hearkened back to Goldsmith's Planet of the Apes score (I placed this score at #10 on my Top Ten Scores List of the 70's).
But then came the grand finale of the decade in Goldsmith's score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Now while the movie left a lot to be desired, the score was a magnificent achievement and should have been a shoe-in for the Academy Award (I have it at #4 on my Top Ten Scores List of the 70's, see my list of the Top Ten here:
but for some reason the Academy blinked and gave the Oscar to George DeLerue's A Little Romance (a score that has been completely forgotten). Whoops, Wrong Answer on that One!!!
Truly, Goldsmith is one of the greatest film composers ever and it is a shame that he wasn't more recognized for his accomplishments in his lifetime and particularly in the 1970's.

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