On Monday, we lost Ennio Morricone, a brilliant composer of many magnificent soundtracks. Morricone created over 400 scores for film and television, as well as over 100 classical pieces. His most famous creation, the score to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” He was nominated for a further six Oscars, and in 2016, received his only competitive Academy Award for his score to Quentin Tarantino‘s film “The Hateful Eight,” at the time becoming the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar. His other achievements include three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs, ten David di Donatello, eleven Nastro d’Argento, two European Film Awards, the Golden Lion Honorary Award and the Polar Music Prize in 2010.
Some of you may be asking …. “What connection would Ennio Morricone have to the song LOUIE LOUIE?”
Luckily, Owen Gleiberman provided the answer to that very question with his celebration of Mr. Morricone in Monday’s Variety.
That said, if I had to choose my favorite Morricone score, apart from the spaghetti Westerns (which I absolutely think are his greatest), it would be the magnificent opening theme music he composed for “Burn!,” a 1969 colonial drama directed by Gillo Pontecorvo that stars Marlon Brando as a British secret agent who foments and manipulates a slave uprising in the Caribbean. The music that opens the film starts off as a single-note organ melody that turns into a stately chant that turns into a slow-groove island hymn that turns into a soaring choral version of “Louie Louie” that turns into the most ecstatic revolutionary anthem this side of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” You could say that it’s completely uncharacteristic of Morricone, except for one thing: the way it burns itself, forever, into your heart.
Here’s a link to that song..
… and a quick sampler of his most famous compositions.
With big thanks once again to our pal Clay Stabler, who spotted this one!
By the way, the featured graphic of Mr. Morricone is an illustration by my friend Jim Blanchard, who’s done some remarkable work over the years. If you’d like more of his work, which includes some awesome images of Little Richard, Lennny Bruce, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Willie Nelson, Richard Nixon and lot of other great pop icons, be sure to visit Jim’s official website at jimblanchard.com.
Variety -Ennio Morricone: His Incandescent Film Scores Made the Past Feel Present