John Williams was born ninety years ago today.
I’ve written many times in the years I’ve been blogging about John Williams’s influence on my creative world. He has been a central figure in the cinematic stories that shaped my life and stamped their print on my storytelling soul, all the way back to when I was five years old. Williams is, of course, best known for his many filmscores to some of the most prominent movie franchises of the last fifty years: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and more. The Winter Olympics are going on right now, so I’m sure we’re hearing a steady dose of his Olympic Fanfare on the telecasts. He is absolutely a gigantic part of the sonic character of our time.
In addition to being very prolific, Williams is also versatile. He has scored intimate character studies, historical epics, and psychological thrillers. He has done horror as well as escapist fun…and he has also written a good deal of music for the concert stage. Pretty impressive lifetime of work for a guy who was once “Johnny Williams”, a session musician in 1950s Hollywood who did things like play the piano part on the theme to Peter Gunn.
Thank you, John Williams! Here are some selections, which I tried to draw from his “deeper cuts”–i.e., trying to stay away from the Big Hits. John Williams’s body of work really rewards a deeper look, even beyond the “usual suspects”.
(Oh, and a reminder: No, Williams did not steal the Jaws theme from Dvorak.)