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Memories of film score fan.


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I've always loved film music, I just didn't know it until I was 8.

When I think of the countless TV shows and movies I watched as a young one, how I would pay extra attention to the music, the main themes......

It was there, it was always there, I was just too young to realize it.

1976 came and King Kong was remade. I'm browsing thru the record section and I stumble across an LP, the soundtrack to the film. While I can't remember the exact words I believe the conversation went a little like this:

Me: Mommy can I get this

Mom: Why?

Me: It's the story of King Kong.

Mom: No, I think it's just the music to the movie.

Me: Really?

Mom: Yes, that's how most soundtracks are.

Me: But it says soundtrack, that means words as well.

I should point out at this point my mom had a few Soundtrack LP's: Breatfast At Tiffany's was one.

Mom: Well are you sure you want it? It's probably just the music.

Me: Yes.

So we get home and I proceed to go over to the stereo and grab my headphones and give my new record a listen.

Me: (in thought only) First cue, no music..... ok it's just setting up the story...2nd cue, no music....uh oh...something not right....3rd cue....ok we're not getting any dialogue.....mom was right but......the music, it's good!!!!

Me: Mommy!!!! There's no story, it's just music!!!!

Mom: Well I told you Mark but you never listen.....Do you want me to take it back?

Me: No!!!! I like the music.

So I played and played King Kong to death, I played it when I had friends over. Then 1977 came and we all know what happened that year.

We lived in Germany at the time and for some reason the soundtrack to Star Wars was not to be found in any PX or record store in any German town. All that existed was Meco's version. Until one day someone gave me a cassette. A friend of my parents had someone dub a copy of the LP for them and they got me a copy as well.

So I sat down in my favorite little chair and put the cassette in....

To this day I cannot describe the joy I felt upon hearing those first few notes of the LSO blast out of the speakers. The emotions I felt were just amazing, but I cannot explain them. I suppose I could cheat and say it was like falling in love, although I did "fall in love" that day. Nothing prepared me for what I was hearing, it was both powerful and beautiful.

I don't want to make this about Star Wars so I'll spare you the entire breakdown of the LP but move ahead as CE3K was on the horizon. I saw the LP in the store, music by John Williams....oohhh he did Star Wars... this should be great!!!!!

We got home late that day, I was alone and it was dark when I put CE3K on..... It was the exact opposite of Star Wars and what I expected. The music was chilling, it took me forever to get thru Barry's Abduction because the damn cue scared the shit out of me. But I finally made to the end that night. The closing cue for the mothership lifting off just melted me. So beautiful, so uplifting. And it was all at the hand of John Williams.

We came back to the states shortly after that, I quickly made my way to the record store...Jaws, Jaws 2, Superman..... I grabbed every Williams album I could find. But there was more, if I could listen to the music of John Williams, what about all the other movies that weren't scored by him?

Star Trek TMP would be my first Goldsmith album, Star Trek II would be my first Horner album. My friends would take notice and thought it was cool that I collected soundtracks even if they didn't listen to film music. I remember one of my friends coming back from weekend trip with Goldsmith's ALIEN LP as a gift to me. He was in a record store and saw it and knew I collected soundtracks even though he didn't.

The joys of sitting there just listening to the music and not worrying about what was missing or how the album was sequenced are times that I cherish. Superman II got as much play as Superman The Movie did. Of course there were some disappointements as I came to realize that not all films received a soundtrack release or only a few pieces would appear with a bunch of songs I could care less about. No Airplane, no Ghostbusters, Gremlins only had 15 minutes......

Unfortunately times were hard as my parents divorced and I had to scrape and save in order to continue my hobby. So the trips to the old record stores ceased and LPs started to fade as a new medium began mid 80's. I had to be picky as to what I bought.

As the 90's began and I ventured out on my own (with money to spend) I found that I didn't have to browse used record stores for older material. I could go to Tower Records and find almost everything. It was nothing for me to buy 10-15 CDs each trip as I made up for lost time. Ah the joys of browsing thru the CD sections finding all kinds of goodies, Silva, Varese, Intrada...all available in regular stores. It seemed that more was available on CD compared to what I could find on LPs.

But perhaps the true joy was finding that more people, who loved film music, existed. Oh I had a small circle of friends that enjoyed it but after awhile you get tired talking to the same 2 or 3 people.

But the internet provided a community, in fact it was more than I truly expected. But it was a great time to be a Williams fan in the 90's; The Anthology, DCC Raiders, E.T., The RCA Special Editions were just the begining of what was to come. Plus not everything was announced in a big way. I can remember walking into a Circuit city and finding Poltergeist in the soundtrack section. I had no idea that it been reissued.

Starlog Magazine was my source for upcoming CD releases before the internet truly took off. They had a music section. I can't describe the joy of opening the magazine one day in 1994 or 95 and reading that Toho would be releasing all of the Godzilla scores on CD. What was even more exciting is that I could order them from Footlight Records in New York. The Godzilla scores!!!!!! Akira Ifukube's music was something I had wanted since I was a little kid watching all those films on TV. Now here they were, available for me to order.

Then in 1996 FSM started its website and message board, and in 1998 started releasing titles under the FSM with Goldsmith's Stagecoach being the first.

Peter Kelly begain his site with Movietunes.com before becoming moviemusic.com. He went under the name of Dr. Tunes I believe. We used to gather every Monday night on Yahoo for chats. Chris Clemmenson from Filmtracks would drop in and I think Ford may have snuck in once or twice and maybe Lukas Kendall made an appearance. We would discuss everything from Williams to Zimmer and it was all fun. More sights began to pop up and message boards began to flourish.

In 1999 we all know what happened as this great sight was born and after 16 years a new Star Wars score was finally available.

December 1999 was another great time for me as Intrada released their re-recording of Jason and the Argonauts, another score that had never been released. CE3K, Jaws, Superman, ST:TMP expanded were soon to follow.

As the new decade began FSM continued their releases they had started in 1998, Varese re-started their club and Intrada began to up their output. It was all there, the re-recordings, expanded editions, you name it. It seemed like every six months I was buying a new CD shelf or racks

We've come along way, both individually and as a community. I've seen people come and go on these message boards, some by choice and others because their time was sadly up on this earth.

We are in a time I never thought possible some 20 years ago. Music I never thought I would see released is becoming available every month.

Yet a touch of sadness exists as those whose music I've grown up with are near the end, have reached the end or no longer with us.

So here's to another 20,000 posts at JWFAN, if we're both still around another 7 years from now. :mellow:

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Wow, Mark, thanks for sharing. I'm glad your devotion to this hobby has kept you around all these years. This site is all the better for it.

I must say it's difficult for me to imagine Ford "sneaking in" anywhere.

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Bravo, Mark. It's nice to experience the joy of discovering film music through the eyes of someone who began in a much different time than many of us. :mellow:

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Thanks Mark. I'm glad that you've been able to enjoy and pursue one of your biggest passions for as long as you have.

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Cheers, Mark!

For your insight, the underscore for reading your post is the El Cid barn scene - surely one of the greatest pieces ever. Fitting.

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Great post Mark, thank you! I really enjoyed reading your story. I share a similar story in honor of my 1,000th post, but it was nowhere near as well-written as yours.

Also: Welcome back, Neil ;)

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Hey Mark... Me too, brother. Me too. ;)

Thank you for taking the time to articulate this love we all share. So many of the details you describe were so much the same way for me as a kid. Especially the pure joy of putting on the LP of each new soundtrack, and not worrying about unreleased music.

A very nice read.

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1983 is when I noticed unreleased music (RotJ)

Well, it certainly became more apparent to me then, because it was a single LP vs double, but I always found it odd that some of the "Story of Star Wars" LPs featured music not on the soundtrack albums.

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I noticed unreleased music when I got the 1993 SW anthology and I wanted to listen to the "Mynock Cave" music and couldn't find it.

Anyway, great post Mark, I used to ask my mom to put the original SW double LP on the turntable when I was about 4 years old.

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Thank you to all of you for your kind words.

I noticed unreleased music when I got the 1993 SW anthology and I wanted to listen to the "Mynock Cave" music and couldn't find it.

Anyway, great post Mark, I used to ask my mom to put the original SW double LP on the turntable when I was about 4 years old.

Yeah that was odd because that cue was on the double Empire LP but was left off the anthology.

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