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Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: John Williams, we salute you!

09.14.2012

There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever.

Indiana Jones is getting all kinds of love in theaters, from IMAX to an all out marathon in others. I figured now is as good a time as any to pay tribute to the legend that is John Williams. Williams is directly responsible for so many themes that have become iconic in the hearts of those who love cinema, most of which came out of the combined talent of himself and legendary director Steven Spielberg. The London Symphony Orchestra often complimented John Williams beautifully throughout his career, evidence of which you'll hear right now. It's been a long time coming for this column, but now it's official. John Williams good sir, we salute you!

1. INDIANA JONES

Reteaming with the London Symphony Orchestra, Williams was back in Spielberg’s camp to create another memorable piece of music loved by film fans worldwide that would personify an entire franchise. He not only provided the main title we all know in love, but turned in unsettling like tracks for the Ark of the Covenant and a romantic tune that captured Indy’s love life with Marion. Writing this piece of this column has my anticipation for the Indiana Jones theater marathon amped up like you wouldn’t believe, can’t wait to hear that music blasting through the speakers. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. STAR WARS

If a little boy my age at the time can be swept up in the magic of the opening scroll for A New Hope sitting on his grandmother’s floor watching the VHS on a television no bigger than a cardboard box, one can only imagine how the lucky folks who got to see these films in their original run on the silver screen must have felt. Teaming with the London Symphony Orchestra, Williams brought us a piece of music that added so much to the success of the film. The main title was inspired by the 1942 film King’s Row, while the track “Dune Sea of Tattoine” pulled from Bicycle Thieves, a personal favorite of mine. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. JURASSIC PARK

Jurassic Park marked the 12th outing for John Williams and Steven Spielberg. For this score, Williams worked in collaboration with fellow composers John Neufeld, Conrad Pope, and Alexander Courage. Williams employed percussions, harps, horns, and a choir. Synthesizers were also commonly placed in the soundtrack. By this point you knew, especially when Williams and Spielberg got together..they were going to spit out gold. Hurry up, get a script together for a Jurassic Park 4, and get the ball rolling. If just so I can hear the Jurassic Park theme make love to my ears again. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. SUPERMAN

The Superman soundtrack was originally supposed to be conducted by an amazing composer in his own right Jerry Goldsmith, but thanks to Jerry Goldsmith it was not meant to be. Enter John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra…I wonder if he already had this theme in mind when he stepped through the doors with his team to save the day. Anyway, Williams loved the campy nature of Richard Donner’s vision and composed a theme that captured that beautifully. It will be missed in Man of Steel, but this heroic theme had its time, and what a time it was. You really believed a man could fly. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. JAWS

Oh how gloriously mood setting this piece of music was. Jaws marked what would become the first of many iconic collaborations between Steven Spielberg and John Williams. The score is slow burning, using only two musical notes, and brought to life by tuba player Tommy Johnson. It’s been said that when Williams first brought the score to Spielberg the newbie director laughed, thinking it was a gag. The rest I think is safe to say is cinema and even Academy Award history. Purchase the soundtrack here

6. SCHINDLER'S LIST

Schindler’s List was a project of passion and emotion for Steven Spielberg, Williams knew it and composed accordingly. I remember seeing the film for the first time and hearing the music accompany the scene in which Oscar Schindler realizes he could have done more to help these people, and I must admit tears were shed. The situation was powerful enough on its own, but it just goes to show that beautiful piece of music can push it over the hill. John Williams mastered that concept, and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Shivers down the spine ensued as I was listening to the soundtrack to write this entry, if that’s not power I don’t know what is. Purchase the soundtrack here

HONORABLE MENTION: HOOK

Extra Tidbit: I went back and forth on whether to include Hook or Harry Potter as this installments HONORABLE MENTION, pure childhood nostalgia got the better of me.
Source: JoBlo
Tags: soundtracks

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