Whether it’s the ‘duuuun-dun, duuuun-dun, duuuun-dun…’ chords from Jaws or the marching theme of Star Wars, there are certain pieces of film music that are just as well-known or even more well-known than the film they’re featured in.
This got me thinking: what’s the most popular piece of film music and what’s the most recognisable?
In the case of the latter, one suggestion is John Barry’s ‘James Bond’ theme, the signature theme of the James Bond films that has been used in all of the Eon Productions films released to date. This means that it has been heard in cinemas on and off for over 50 years, an enduring legacy to cinema by Barry.
Answering the former, the type of music that you enjoy is a personal choice. Certain parts of The Lord of the Rings scores resonate with me, in particular the beautiful fiddle than accompanies scenes set in Rohan. ‘Promentory’ from The Last of the Mohicans is another – with more use of a stringed instrument – while the much more upbeat and triumphant Jurassic Park theme would round off my top three.
There’s then the question of what the most popular song is.
Mine would potentially be Enya’s ‘May It Be’ from The Fellowship of the Ring. I would hazard a guess that the public vote would be for Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from Titanic, Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ from The Bodyguard or Bryan Adams’ ‘Everything I Do’ from Robin Hood, if single sales are any indication.
Celine Dion, 1997, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, No 1 in 18 countries
Whitney Houston, 1992, ‘I Will Always Love You’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, 14 weeks at No 1 on the USA’s Billboard chart
Bryan Adams, 1991, ‘Everything I Do’ – 15 million+ copies sold worldwide, 16 weeks at No 1 on the UK’s Singles Chart
Recently, Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2 was extremely successful, becoming the best-selling song of 2014 in the United States with over 6.45 million copies sold. ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen is another favourite, with an overwhelming amount of cover versions and parodies making their way onto YouTube.
What are your favourites?
Part 1 – Invoking emotions
Music can stir feelings within you in a unique way. What do you feel when you hear the Jaws soundtrack or Jones’ ‘Last of the Mohicans’?
Part 2 – Industry greats
Looking at such legendary composers as John Williams plus upcoming composers