Thursday, August 30, 2012

Studio Logo Music

After looking at the major studios and their changing logos: Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros and Disney...there are still tons more to look at.  Now including a bunch of production companies.

Here are some logos of past and present (in no particular order) that feature fanfares/jingles composed by film composers.  Study up, and you'll be singing along every time!  



Universal one was of the studios celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2012, and adapted their logo and music.  Here is the behind the scenes of the making of Brian Tyler’s version of the 1997 Jerry Goldsmith logo.

Morgan Creek Productions used a bit of Michael Kamen’s score to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) as their logo.


Michael Kamen
composed the fanfare for New Line Cinema, which first appeared in 1994.




Danny Elfman
composed the short fanfare for the Hollywood Pictures logo, first seen in 1990.

Hans Zimmer composed the fanfare to 1492 Pictures, first seen in 1995.


Marc Shaiman
composed the logo for Castle Rock Entertainment in 1989, featuring the piano and horn motif. 


Michael Kamen wrote the short logo music for Silver Pictures in 1991.  An alternate logo with music by Alan Silvestri was also used. 


John Williams composed the fanfare for The Ladd Company, first seen around 1980.

John Ottman composed the shore fanfare for Phoenix Pictures, composed around 1995. 

Regency Pictures International used a bit of Danny Elfman’s score to Sommersby (1993) as their logo.
 


John Williams wrote the music to the often-used DreamWorks Pictures logo, which premiered in 1997.



Jerry Goldsmith
composed this short ditty for Carolco Pictures, used in the 1980s.



James Newton Howard composed the lively jazz music for Sony Pictures Animation in 2006 and used until 2011.


James Horner wrote the "Cimarron" version of the THX logo used from 1988-2000.


Dave Grusin
composed the short opening for Tristar Pictures, which was used from 1984-1993.
                

Alexandre Desplat
composed the jingly jingle for Studio Canal in 2011.



Brian Tyler composed the new fanfare for the Marvel Studios logo premiering in 2013 with Thor: The Dark World.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Returning Track Titles of John Williams

For anyone that knows John Williams and album titles, you’re bound to notice a few similarities. I decided to keep the Official Running Tally of popular words that come up throughout his soundtrack titles....enjoy!

PROLOGUE
Prologue (Midway, 1976)
Prologue (Born on the Fourth of July, 1989)
Prologue (Hook, 1991)
Prologue (JFK, 1991)
The Island Prologue (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 1997)
Prologue (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001)
Prologue (War of the Worlds, 2005)

THEME
Jane Eyre Theme (Jane Eyre, 1970)
Love Theme From 'Cinderella Liberty' (Cinderella Liberty, 1973)
City Theme (Earthquake, 1974)
Love Theme (Earthquake, 1974)
Theme From 'The Eiger Sanction' (The Eiger Sanction, 1975)
Love Theme from The Missouri Breaks (The Missouri Breaks, 1976)
Family Plot Theme (Family Plot, 1976)
Main Theme (Black Sunday, 1977)
Princess Leia's Theme (Star Wars: A New Hope, 1977)
Love Theme from Superman (Superman, 1978)
Hester's Theme and The House (The Fury, 1978)
The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
Yoda's Theme (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
Marion's Theme/The Crate (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Theme from Monsignor (Monsignor, 1982)
Short Round's Theme (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984)
Love Theme From The River (The River, 1984)
Theme from J.F.K. (JFK, 1991)
Garrison Family Theme (JFK, 1991)
Theme from Schindler's List (Schindler’s List, 1993)
Theme from Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Cinque's Theme (Amistad, 1997)
Theme from Angela's Ashes (Angela’s Ashes, 1999)
Anakin's Theme (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 1999)
Hedwig's Theme (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001)
Stored Memories and Monica's Theme (Artificial Intelligence, 2001)
Love Theme from Attack of the Clones (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, 2002)
Sean's Theme (Minority Report, 2002)
Avner's Theme (Munich, 2005)
Sayuri's Theme (Memoirs of a Geisha, 2005)
Irina's Theme (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
Snowy's Theme (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)
Rey's Theme (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015)

MARCH
End Title: Midway March (Midway, 1976)
Men of the Yorktown March (Midway, 1976)
Prelude and Main Title March (Superman, 1978)
The March of the Villains (Superman, 1978)
Finale and End Title March (Superman, 1978)
March from "1941" (1941, 1979)
The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
Raiders March (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Washington Ending & Raiders March (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
March of the Resistance (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015)

PLACE, YEAR

Main Title: South America, 1936 (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
The Early Days, Massapequa, 1957 (Born on the Fourth of July, 1989)
Cua Viet River, Vietnam, 1968 (Born on the Fourth of July, 1989)
County Galway, June 1892 (Far and Away, 1992)
The 1960's: The Turbulent Years (Nixon, 1995)
Love Field: Dallas, November 1963 (Nixon, 1995)
Sierra Leone, 1839, and the Capture of Cinque (Amistad, 1997)
July 4, 1839 (Amistad, 1997)
Munich 1972 (Munich, 2005)
Dartmoor, 1912 (War Horse, 2011)
Appomattox, April 9, 1865 (Lincoln, 2012)

SCENE
Barber Shoppe Scene (The Poseidon Adventure, 1972)
Love Scene (Earthquake, 1974)
The Love Scene (Dracula, 1979)
The Love Scene (Heartbeeps, 1981)
Tractor Scene (The River, 1984)
The Seducion Of Suki and The Ballroom Scene (The Witches of Eastwick, 1987)
Wedding Scene (The Accidental Tourist, 1988)
The Boat Scene (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
Love Scene (Presumed Innocent, 1990)
The Bedroom Scene (Presumed Innocent, 1990)
The Boat Scene (Presumed Innocent, 1990)
The Basement Scene (Presumed Innocent, 1990)
Joe Sr.'s Passing/The Duel Scene (Far and Away, 1992)
The Farewell Scene (Nixon, 1995)
The Invisibility Cloak and The Library Scene (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001)
The Werewolf Scene (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2004)
The Fountain Scene (The Terminal, 2004)
The Immolation Scene (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 2005)
The Ferry Scene (War of the Worlds, 2005)
The Intersection Scene (War of the Worlds, 2005)

ADVENTURES
Adventures on Earth (ET The Extra Terrestrial, 1982)
Indy's Very First Adventure (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
The Adventures of Mutt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
The Adventures of Tintin (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)
The Adventure Continues (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)

CHASE
The Great Shark Chase (Jaws, 1975)
The Chase (The Missouri Breaks, 1976)
Boat Chase (Black Sunday, 1977)
Desert Chase (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Escape - Chase - Saying Goodbye (ET The Extra Terrestrial, 1982)
The Mine Car Chase (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984)
The Lost Boy Chase (Hook, 1991)
The Jungle Chase (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
Introducing the Thompsons and Snowy's Chase (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)

JOURNEY
Night Journeys (Dracula, 1979)
Journey to Austria (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
Journey to the Island (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Malcolm's Journey (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 1997)
The Journey to the Hanamachi (Memoirs of a Geisha, 2005)
The Journey to Akator (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
The Journey to Himmel Street (The Book Thief, 2013) 

ESCAPE
The Escape (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977)
Star Ship Escapes (Superman, 1978)
Blimp Escapes (Black Sunday, 1977)
Gillian's Escape (The Fury, 1978)
The Battle of Hoth - Escape in the Falcon (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
Escape from the Temple (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Escape - Chase - Saying Goodbye (ET The Extra Terrestrial, 1982)
Short Round Escapes (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984)
Escape from Venice (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
Anderton's Great Escape (Minority Report, 2002)
Jango's Escape (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, 2002)
Refusing to Escape (The Terminal, 2004)
Escape from the City (War of the Worlds, 2005)
Escape from the Basket (War of the Worlds, 2005)
Escape from the Karaboudjan (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)

BATTLE
Morning of the Battle (Midway, 1976)
The Battle of Yavin (Star Wars: A New Hope, 1977)
The Last Battle (Star Wars: A New Hope, 1977)
The Battle of Hollywood (1941, 1979)
The Battle of Hoth (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
Drawing the Battle Lines/Leia's Instructions (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
The Battle of Endor - The Forest Battle (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 1983)
Imaginary Air Battle (Empire of the Sun, 1987)
The Last Battle (Saving Private Ryan, 1998)
The Sith Spacecraft and the Droid Battle (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 1999)
Preparing for Battle (The Patriot, 2000)
Battle of the Heroes (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 2005)
Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015)

REFLECTIONS
Reflections (The Reivers, 1969)
Reflections (Images, 1972)
Reflections (Seven Years in Tibet, 1997)

REMEMBER
Remembrances (The Missouri Breaks, 1976)
Remembering Carolyn (Presumed Innocent, 1990)
Remembering Childhood (Hook, 1991)
Remembrances (Schindler’s List, 1993)
Remembering Petticoat Lane (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Remembering Emilie, and Finale (War Horse, 2011)
Remembering Willie (Lincoln, 2012)

IMMOLATION
Immolation (With Our Lives, We Give Life) (Schindler's List, 1993)
The Immolation Scene (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, 2005)

NEW BEGINNING

A New Beginning (The Accidental Tourist, 1988)
A New Beginning (Minority Report, 2002)

SHANGHAI
The Streets of Shanghai (Empire of Sun, 1987)
Fast Streets of Shanghai (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984)

SCHERZO
Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
Scherzo for X-Wings (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015)

REUNION
Reunion (Jane Eyre, 1970)
Reunion in the Tent/Searching for the Well (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Reunion in Italy (Monsignor, 1982)
Reunion at Rockefeller Center (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992)
The Reunion (Far and Away, 1992)
Reunion and Finale (Sleepers, 1996)
The Reunion (Artificial Intelligence, 2001)
Reunion of Friends (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002)
The Reunion (War of the Worlds, 2005)
The Reunion (War Horse, 2011)

RETURN
Han Solo Returns (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, 1983)
The Return to the City (Empire of the Sun, 1987)
The Return (Always, 1989)Mom Returns/Finale (Home Alone, 1990)
Sabrina's Return to Paris (Sabrina, 1995)
Yorktown and the Return Home (The Patriot, 2000)
The Return to Boston (War of the Worlds, 2005)
"Return" (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)

FINALE
Finale (The Reivers, 1969)
Finale (The Towering Inferno, 1974)
Finale, End Title (Earthquake, 1974)
Finale and End Title March (Superman, 1978)
The Finale (1941, 1979)
Finale & End Credits (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989)
Mom Returns/Finale (Home Alone, 1990)
Finale (JFK, 1991)
Finale (Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992)
T-Rex Rescue & Finale (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Reunion and Finale (Sleepers, 1996)
Look Down, Lord (Reprise and Finale) (Rosewood, 1997)
Finale and Jurassic Park Theme (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 1997)
Finale (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2004)
Finale (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
The Return to Marlinspike Hall and Finale (The Adventures of Tintin, 2011)
Remembering Emilie, and Finale (War Horse, 2011)
The Peterson House And Finale (Lincoln, 2012)
Finale (The Book Thief, 2013)
The Jedi Steps and Finale (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alan Menken: The Musical Renaissance

Alan Menken really hasn’t scored many movies, probably the least of the composers in the Composer Series, but his impact on Hollywood is substantial.  His story starts in musical theater, and quickly transitions into his work on the big screen.  His work with Howard Ashman is another example of amazing collaboration and his part of the Disney renaissance should be recognized. 

Alan Menken was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1949.  His family was musical, with his father playing the standards of Gershwin and hit Broadway songs.  It wasn’t long until the young Menken began composing at the piano instead of practicing.  In high school, he continued playing violin and piano.  Coming from a long line of family of dentists (including his grandfather, uncle and father), he took premed classes when he got accepted into New York University in 1967.  Not surprisingly, Menken followed his heart, and took music classes and eventually graduated NYU in 1971 with a degree in music. 

After graduation, Menken found himself playing piano in clubs, performing his own work and writing jingles.  Working in the New York cabaret scene, he found himself writing revues and musicals.  To please his parents, Menken signed up for the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, which was led by Lehman Engel.  The program provided a workshop for musical theater composers and lyricists – many other ‘graduates’ have gone on to lengthy Broadway careers.  At the Workshop, he met Howard Ashman.  Their first collaboration was on the 1979 musical God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel.  The musical premiered at the WPA Theater in New York, where Ashman was the artistic director.  Their next work together was Little Shop of Horrors, with music by Menken and lyrics and book by Ashman.  Opening Off-Broadway in 1982, the show lasted until 1987 becoming one of the longest running and highest grossing Off-Broadway musical.  It is no surprise that the hit show would make it to the big screen.  The film version of Little Shop of Horrors (1986), retooled some songs and added a song "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space", which was nominated for Best Song at the 59th Academy Awards. 

Menken’s life would change with his next project.  The journey to The Little Mermaid (1989), starting when Howard Ashman was first brought on as a writer for the film in 1987.  As the story changed, Menken and Ashman’s Broadway sensibilities were added to the structure of the film.  While as a team, they wrote several songs including "Kiss the Girl", "Part of Your World" and "Under the Sea".  Menken’s role for the film expanded as he was hired to write the underscore to the film.  The film ended up being a complete success, winning Disney over to a new renaissance of animated musical films.  Ashman and Menken were nominated twice for Best Song at the Oscars for "Kiss the Girl" and winning for "Under the Sea".  Pitted against nominees like John Williams, Dave Grusin and James Horner, Menken took home both the Golden Globe for Original Score as well as the Academy Award for Original Score

Menken’s other music contributions around the same time were "Measure of a Man" from Rocky V (1990) and several songs for Sesame Street in 1989 and 1990 (It’s Gonna Get Dirty Again, Todos un Pueblo and Martian Family (Yip Yip Song)). 

It should not be a surprise that Disney’s next project Beauty and the Beast (1991) featured an underscore by Menken and songs by Menken and Ashman.  The songs include: "Belle", "Something There", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Be Our Guest".  At the time, Ashman began suffering from complications of AIDS, but began working on the next Disney project, Aladdin (1992).  Ashman died at the age of 50 during production, never seeing the finished film.  At the Oscars, the film itself was nominated for Best Picture (a first for an animated film), and the songs "Be Our Guest" and "Belle" were nominated.  The score by Menken won as well as the title song, "Beauty and the Beast".  The score/song won also at the Golden Globes, and won numerous Grammys (thanks to the pop version of the title song). 

With Ashman’s death and only a few songs written for Aladdin (1992), Menken turned to lyricist Tim Rice to finish the rest of the songs.  Songs for the film include: "Arabian Nights", "Prince Ali", "Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World".  Like Beauty and Mermaid, Menken’s score contains themes from the songs in the underscore.  Menken took over the award ceremonies yet again, especially at the Oscars, with "Friend Like Me" nominated (Ashman’s last posthumous nomination) and both the song "A Whole New World" and the score winning 2 more Oscars for Menken. 

Also in 1992 were Menken’s songs for the live-action Disney film Newsies.  (JAC Redford provided the score for the film).  Menken also wrote a song for Home Alone 2 (1992) called "My Christmas Tree".  Proving he was more than a “song man”, Menken scored the PBS TV documentary Lincoln (1992).  He scored another live action film, Life With Mikey (1993).  Menken did compose one song for the film – "Cold Enough to Snow", with lyrics with future collaborator Stephen Schwartz.  In 1994, Beauty and the Beast was adapted for the Broadway stage, with new songs added with lyrics by Tim Rice.

It was Stephen Schwartz that was brought with Menken for the next Disney film, Pocahontas (1995).  Following the past formula, Menken composed the underscore and songs.  The songs included "Just Around the Riverbend", "If I Never Knew You", and the runaway hit "Colors of the Wind".  The song’s pop version was a large success on the Billboard charts – winning a Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar.  Menken’s score also won the Oscar for Best Score (the first year of the two categories for Comedy/Dramatic Score).  Menken and Schwartz also collaborated on the next Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).  Again, songs by the duo with the score by Menken.  The score is actually darker than the rest of the film, and while it relies on the songs for melodies, but uses Latin chants.  Songs included: "Out There", "Topsy Turvy" and "God Help the Outcasts".  While no songs were nominated from the film, the score was both nominated for the Golden Globe and the Oscar.  (This would be the last time Menken would be nominated in the score categories).  Menken next composed the score and songs for the next Disney film, Hercules (1997).  The hit song "Go the Distance" was nominated for Best Song at the Oscars .  Around this time, Menken also had stage works like the oratorio King David (with Tim Rice, 1997) and the German musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1999). 

As the Disney renaissance passed, Menken didn’t score any more Disney films until 2004’s flop Home on the Range.  Menken composed the Western themed score, and of course – the songs.  This time, he found a new collaborator - lyricist Glenn Slater.  Menken also scored the live-action film Noel (2004), and also did a song called "Winter Light", with lyricist Stephen Schwartz.  Menken’s next film was The Shaggy Dog (2006), in which he only did the underscore.  Menken’s next Disney role was for the songs and score of Enchanted (2007), which purposely incorporated great Disney moments.  He took over the song category at the Academy Awards with three nominations for: "Happy Working Song", "So Close", and "That’s How You Know". 

In 2008, Menken returned to Broadway with the adaptation of The Little Mermaid.  The film songs remained, with extra songs by Menken and Glenn Slater.  Menken and Slater also worked on the Disney animated film Tangled (2010).  Yet again, Menken provided the score.   The song "I See the Light" was nominated for the Golden Globe, Oscar and won a Grammy.  Menken contributed the song "Star Spangled Man" to the film Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011.    

With no intention of slowing down, Menken composed the songs for the musical Sister Act, Leap of Faith and a stage adaptation of Newsies.  In a rare move for a composer, all three shows were on at the same time on Broadway in 2012.  It was Newsies that won Menken his first Tony Award for original score.  In 2012 he also scored the film Mirror Mirror.

Menken was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2001, and in 2008 was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He is a storyteller in both song and score, and one of the most prolific composers in the past decades.  It was Menken and Disney that perhaps changed the Academy Award rules twice – once for the split in Dramatic/Comedy score to get anyone else to win, and then in the Best Song category so that not as many songs from a film could be nominated. 

While his collaboration with Howard Ashman was the peak, he was able to work with Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz and Glenn Slater and their work was equally effective.  Menken currently holds the record for living person with the most Academy Awards with 8 wins.  Alan Menken has become a treasure on screen and on stage, with countless children and adults alike mesmerized by his melodies.  
Menken (L) and Ashman (R) winning the Oscar for "Under the Sea" (1989)