So after doing War films last week, I thought I’d go on and do another one of my favourite genres this week.
Here are my top 3 opening themes from Westerns…
3- High Noon (1952)
Tex Ritter scored a hit on the Country and Western charts with “Do Not Forsake Me, My Darling” on the back of this film. It won the Oscar for Best Song that year, then Frankie Laine went on to re record it. This is the definitive version as far as I’m concerned. The music by Dmitri Tiomkin and lyrics by Ned Washington went on to set the standard for westerns in the years to come, with the writing team in demand for numerous future productions. Tiomkin, who trained in St. Petersburg before moving to the USA, made a name for himself writing scores for Frank Capra on films such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Ned Washington, the lyricist, had already won an Oscar for writing “When You Wish Upon A Star” for Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.
2 – Gunfight at OK Corral (1957)
Another of Tiomkin and Washington’s collaborations, I prefer this one over High Noon because of it’s tempo and energy. Frankie Laine was the man on vocal duties for this production.
1 – The Big Country (1958)
This is one of my favourite soundtracks of all time, not just Western soundtracks. Jerome Moross was the composer. He was a New Yorker, a talented pianist and a member of Aaron Copland’s Young Composer’s group that included Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann and Moross became lifelong friends. This is one of those rare soundtracks that I can listen to without skipping a single track. The orchestrations are fantastic and it has such a wildness and power to it that it sweeps you along with it. The Big Country is one of my favourite films for so many reasons but right in there with everything else is the great score.
Hope you enjoyed that. I’ll be back next week something from somewhere else.
Thanks for reading and listening.
If you feel like some more music, then please check out some of my other Monday Music posts. They’re packed with great examples of music from movies, TV and other places.
All the best,