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When Williams turns 90


Fabulin
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Oh yea that reminds me that part they pointed out that was very similar to Raiders was fascinating too

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2021 is exactly as far from Williams' first film score (1958) as that score was from the beginning of motion pictures as a commercial industry (1895, when the Lumiere brothers first showed their films and charged admission).

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It's really odd to think that Williams' major "breakthrough" (for the lack of a better word)  with Jaws and Star Wars happened when he was a middle aged man. In other words, he was already an experienced and well lived composer when he got, well, "famous".

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1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

2021 is exactly as far from Williams' first film score (1958) as that score was from the beginning of motion pictures as a commercial industry (1895, when the Lumiere brothers first showed their films and charged admission).

 

Just... wow.

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I read in a recent music column, reviewing Williams long career, that he won his first award in 1957. It said it was a Grammy, but obviously that’s incorrect. (I’ve “lost” the source so can’t go back.)

 

I‘ve been trying to find what the award could have been and what for, but haven’t been successful.

 

I’m guessing it referred to The John Towner Touch, but did the album receive any acclaim at the time? Does anyone know?

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11 hours ago, Edmilson said:

It's really odd to think that Williams' major "breakthrough" (for the lack of a better word)  with Jaws and Star Wars happened when he was a middle aged man. In other words, he was already an experienced and well lived composer when he got, well, "famous".

 

I would say he was already famous by that time. Heck, he even had an Oscar. His proper "breakthrough" with an A list film was HOW TO STEAL A MILLION in 1966. But obviously, JAWS and STAR WARS jettisoned him to top status.

 

What's scary to think about, for me, is that Williams was just one year older than I am now when he did STAR WARS. To quote O'Toole in GOODBYE MR. CHIPS: "Where did my childhood go?".

 

1 hour ago, rough cut said:

I read in a recent music column, reviewing Williams long career, that he won his first award in 1957. It said it was a Grammy, but obviously that’s incorrect. (I’ve “lost” the source so can’t go back.)

 

I‘ve been trying to find what the award could have been and what for, but haven’t been successful.

 

I’m guessing it referred to The John Towner Touch, but did the album receive any acclaim at the time? Does anyone know?

 

That's a good question (what his first award was). I don't really know. The TOUCH album wasn't necessarily a big seller, AFAIK, but it was among the albums that caught Stanley Wilson's attention, and hence a TV contract. CHECKMATE, however, was a big seller that secured JW a good deal with Columbia and the "quick" follow up album RHYTHM IN MOTION. He was making waves in the industry pretty early on.

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4 hours ago, rough cut said:

I read in a recent music column, reviewing Williams long career, that he won his first award in 1957. It said it was a Grammy, but obviously that’s incorrect. (I’ve “lost” the source so can’t go back.)

 

Why did you put "lost" in quotes? 

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6 hours ago, Thor said:

I would say he was already famous by that time. Heck, he even had an Oscar. His proper "breakthrough" with an A list film was HOW TO STEAL A MILLION in 1966. But obviously, JAWS and STAR WARS jettisoned him to top status.

 

I guess it depends on your definition of famous. Not all Oscar winners are famous...I mean, the guy won for an adaptation score. He was certainly already a well-known quantity in the industry, George Lucas was aware of him as "the jazz guy" and obviously Spielberg as an example of both a young professional and film score geek was a fan of The Reivers and The Cowboys. But JW wasn't a pop star until Jaws and Star Wars. 

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5 hours ago, mrbellamy said:

 

I guess it depends on your definition of famous. Not all Oscar winners are famous...I mean, the guy won for an adaptation score. He was certainly already a well-known quantity in the industry, George Lucas was aware of him as "the jazz guy" and obviously Spielberg as an example of both a young professional and film score geek was a fan of The Reivers and The Cowboys. But JW wasn't a pop star until Jaws and Star Wars. 

 

I agree with the "pop star" comment. I just think a lot of people -- especially younger people -- underestimate how much of a major player he was prior to JAWS. A parallell would be James Horner in the 80s. He was A list from the mid 60s onwards.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

 

I agree with the "pop star" comment. I just think a lot of people -- especially younger people -- underestimate how much of a major player he was prior to JAWS. A parallell would be James Horner in the 80s. He was A list from the mid 60s onwards.

Which contemporary composers would you compare the pre-Jaws Williams to, in terms of relative standing in the industry?

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13 hours ago, Jay said:

 

Why did you put "lost" in quotes? 


I don’t really know if it’s correct to say that I “lost” the place where I read it. I was thinking when I wrote it, “can you really lose a website?” Doesn’t the quotation marks open up the interpretation/situation a bit? But I see from your comment that maybe it was unnecessary.

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5 hours ago, Fabulin said:

Which contemporary composers would you compare the pre-Jaws Williams to, in terms of relative standing in the industry?

 

I kinda wonder if it's fair to compare him to Michael Giacchino or Alexandre Desplat and that it's just his ceiling went even higher. 

 

I feel like he was at least in the zone where guys like Marco Beltrami or Patrick Doyle have been at forever. Maybe like Henry Jackman or Nicholas Britell for younger guys?

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It's difficult to assess current composers (always easier to assess in retrospect). But it would have be someone who have HAD their big breakthrough film, is currently A list, but not necessarily a legend/superstar yet. And preferably between the ages 35 to 45. James Horner was easy to use as a parallell, because his breakthrough STAR TREK II made him A list, but then reached superstar status only in the mid 90s with BRAVEHEART/APOLLO 13/TITANIC (especially the latter). Pretty similar to HTSAM, A list period (late 60s, early 70s), then superstar with JAWS/STAR WARS.

 

In terms of US composers, maybe Bear McCreary would be a candidate? Does a lot of high profile TV, is A list, but hasn't had that big, feature film 'superstar' moment yet.

 

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I thought of McCreary too but I wonder if Williams was actually still at a higher stature even pre-Jaws. I mean those Irwin Allen movies were big gigs and he already had 9 Oscar nominations for score including the Fiddler win pre-Jaws...three of those were original noms, plus song for Cinderella Liberty. Maybe Thomas Newman in the 90s or Desplat in the 00s is an appropriate framing. He was definitely a guy, just not THE guy, but quickly skyrocketed into his own league. 

 

I've also wondered when John Williams began to be perceived as a "legend," not in retrospect but at the time. Because when I became a fan around 1999-2001, that was definitely already a popular belief that he was the GOAT, but I wonder around what point did that become so widespread. Not to suggest that he was ever unrecognized in his time, I know superfans would say "He was a legend as soon as Star Wars premiered" but there had to have been shifts. I feel like around 1982-4 would have been one with E.T. being #1 and now having four Oscars, the entire Star Wars trilogy completed, starting up with the Boston Pops, and got that first Olympics commission, plus popular scores like Superman and Raiders...that had to be a moment where people were noticing he was serious business. And then maybe late 80s up to 1993, the deal was sealed? He turned 60, those first iconic scores were becoming a decade+ old, JP and Schindler were new behemoths, he wins a fifth Oscar, and the end of his Boston Pops tenure, plus even more great scores and popular films in rearview. 

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I don't quite get the theme of this thread.

"When Williams turns 90"?

Yeah? He turns 90. What's the what?

Never mind film scoring, he'll be lucky if he can get out of fucking bed, without the aid of a home-help.

He'll be 90. Leave him be.

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When Williams turns 90, Disney will celebrate that with complete score box sets of Star Wars and Indiana Jones mixed and mastered by Mike Matessino and designed by Jim Titus - and then you wake up.

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  • 1 month later...
On 04/12/2021 at 11:36 PM, Disco Stu said:

2021 is exactly as far from Williams' first film score (1958) as that score was from the beginning of motion pictures as a commercial industry (1895, when the Lumiere brothers first showed their films and charged admission).

I posted this sort of thing about relative distances back in 2019, here it is updated:

image.png

 

Puts things into perspective...

 

btw. this year the Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic both turn 180 (both founded 1842). Williams is exactly half as old.

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10 hours ago, Fabulin said:

I posted this sort of thing about relative distances back in 2019, here is updated:

image.png

 

Puts things into perspective...

 

The most striking line to me is ROTJ/Robin Hood. Granted, when ROTJ came out, I was 4 years old and wouldn't consciously be aware of film music until 10 years later. But ever since I started listening to and collecting film music in 1994, The Adventures of Robin Hood has been "old", one of the very early masterpieces of the art form, while ROTJ used to be one of Williams's later scores. It's obviously not that anymore, but it still doesn't feel like an "old" score, or like it belongs to a long gone, historic era.

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So if I'm reading that chart correctly, it's basically saying, for example, that

 

To John Williams in 1977,  having just completed Star Wars, to him Steiner's King Kong was a 44 year old movie/score.  Now to John Williams in 2022, Superman is a 44 year old movie/score.

 

Damn.

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3 hours ago, Jay said:

To John Williams in 1977,  having just completed Star Wars, to him Steiner's King Kong was a 44 year old movie/score.  Now to John Williams in 2022, Superman is a 44 year old movie/score.

 

It gets worse: When Williams scored Bachelor Flat (1962), the original King Kong was as recent as Jurassic Park is today. From today's POV, Bachelor Flat was 60 years ago. Back when Williams wrote it, 60 years ago was 6 years before Saint-Saëns wrote the "first" film score.

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I remember around the time The Phantom Menace/ or Attack of the Clones  was released and Williams was being interviewed on CNN. He mentioned his Mom who had just turned 100! :" Mom is doing great" She thought the Concert in Boston with fireworks that was happening and that they were celebrating Williams own Birthday.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Amer said:

I remember around the time The Phantom Menace/ or Attack of the Clones  was released and Williams was being interviewed on CNN. He mentioned his Mom who had just turned 100! :" Mom is doing great" She thought the Concert in Boston with fireworks that was happening and that they were celebrating Williams own Birthday.

 

His mom never reached 100, but she got pretty close. 1909-2006. She would have been 90 around the release of THE PHANTOM MENACE.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

 

His mom never reached 100, but she got pretty close. 1909-2006. She would have been 90 around the release of THE PHANTOM MENACE.

Yes she was 90 and alive then. A long time ago..so my memory isnt as fresh.

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