Before reading on, I want you to think of a few pieces of music from films. Got some? Now tell me about them. Congratulations, you are now shouting at a computer and everyone thinks you are weird. More importantly though, just how many of those pieces were composed by John Williams?
If I was to ask myself the same question my mind would immediately go to Star Wars. The ominous Imperial March, the fun and lively Cantina Song, the climactic Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace. The entire series has some unforgettable musical moments that by naming just a few examples is an injustice to those I had to leave out.
It is also hard to talk about only some of John Williams’ work and leave out others but there is only so much room in this article so I will keep myself composed. That will be hard to do though, Williams has almost 60 years’ worth of compositions that have provided the soundtrack to many lives.
Jaws successfully made a shoddy animatronic shark scary to many moviegoers in the 70s and a lot of it had to do with Williams’ score. With just two notes he made people feel the impending doom for the beach dwellers who would soon be shark food.
The flying bike scene in E.T. might have been a cheesy special effect yet the theme makes the scene majestic. The soundtrack to Indiana Jones is as much of an adventure as the action on the screen and who can forget the first time they saw the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park – Williams’ accompaniment serves to help take your breath away. His scores for the first three Harry Potter films are simply magical.
Each one of these films have helped define their generations. A good composer can accompany a film without the viewer noticing. A great composer will enhance the film without taking away from the action on the screen and Williams has done this time and time again. Entire generations have grown up watching films containing the work of John Williams and future generations will continue to be enthralled by these films for many years to come.
Whether it is the Force, a superpower or just magic, John Williams has something that makes him a little bit special – an ability to compose timeless pieces of music that will live on forever.