Wednesday, April 13, 2016

John Williams Appreciation Post: Theme to "Superman" - 1978

Yesterday I way overslept and slid into my desk at 9:26 AM.  I was panicky, because Nathan Cone was DJing the Spring telethon for Texas Public Radio out of San Antonio, and he'd promised he'd play the Superman theme just for on my B-Day at 9:30 AM sharp.  I fired up the website, and in a couple of minutes, I got to hear Nathan give me (and the site!) a shout out, and then he played selections from the score to Superman: The Movie (1978).

As much as the movie defines Superman for me in a multitude of ways, I'll never get over the score.  It's got all the drama and adventure and fun of a Superman comic at its best built right in.  And for that, we need to thank John Williams.

We all love John Williams.  He provided the score to our film-going lives and is, arguably, the most important composer of the age.  He's certainly taken up more of my headspace than nearly any other composer, and I've bought more of his work than nearly any other musician.

So, we're going to start posting some of Williams' work here for a bit.  Nothing to overwhelm you, just something to listen to and enjoy yourself.

And, yes, I re-upped my membership with Texas Public Radio.  Nathan is diabolical that way.


Stuart said...

If you haven't seen Space Camp lately, it's high on my list of scores better than the movie they're from (also 1941). He's the first composer whose name I bothered to learn, and still my favorite. Williams is in a class by himself.

The League said...

I honestly don't think I've seen Space Camp in 30 years. Now may be my time.

Jake Shore said...

I don't know how John Williams does it. His ability to marry subject and theme is positively occult. Indiana Jones, E.T., JAWS, and more subtly, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. I'm not a Harry Potter fan but that theme, like so many of his others, perfectly matches the material. It's just uncanny.

With the exception of Star Wars, probably no piece of his music (or any other) is more synonymous with a character or subject than Superman. It somehow manages to capture the grand scale of the story and the subject, the Coplandesque Americana, and even a sense of trust and security. It's just perfect.

Since I saw the 1978 film before any of the old TV shows, I remember thinking how... wrong they seemed without Williams score. It's not Superman without that music, right? I was okay with them moving on in Man of Steel without Williams theme, but aside from a few moments, I did't love Hans Zimmer's theme. Just didn't seem suited for it. But good grief, what an impossible standard.