Top 10 Favorite Composers

The London Symphony Orchestra, the living embodiment of epicness.

The top 10 Next Generation episodes, are coming, I just thought I’d whip this up just for fun. One of my favorite parts of a movie is it’s music score, in fact, I have over 357 songs on my MP3 player, and of all the songs in it, at least 25 if not 30% of the music are cues from some of my favorite and even least favorite music cues from movies. So,  I thought I’d share some of my favorite composers with all of you. And as an added bonus, I’ll also share some of their best works, to me at least.

10. Hans Zimmer – This guy not only wrote music for some of the best movies of all time, he wrote music for Tangerine Dream, the theme song for The Critic, and had his hand at several animated movies. Not only is he a good composer, but he’s also the most relatable composer on the list. He has admitted that at times he actually admits to copying music from some of his previous works, this gotten to be such a problem, that his frequent collaborator, director Christopher Nolan told him not to do that while working on Interstellar, and he admits to sometimes procrastinate on his work at times. This and his great music earned him a spot on the list.
Favorite works: Thunderbirds Are Go! – Thunderbirds (With Ramin Djawadi)
Flight – Man of Steel

9. Danny Elfman – I was shocked when I first found out he was a part of the band Oingo Boingo, the guy who orchestrated Batman and Spider-Man wrote Weird Science, seriously listen to the Batman soundtrack, then listen to Weird Science, you’d never would’ve guessed it was made by the same person. But I digress, Danny Elfman does some amazing work. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t like some of his early work (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Summer School to name a few). But then Batman rolls around, and he cemented himself as an excellent composer, then less than 2 decades later, he scores again (zing!) with the first two Spider-Man movies. While his theme was used for Spider-Man 3, he didn’t come back for Spider-Man 3, which is too bad he could’ve saved that movie (no disrespect to Christopher Young). Despite that, it’s no wonder the man is Tim Burton’s go-to composer for most of, if not all of his movies.
Favorite works: Finale – Batman
He’s Back – Spider-Man 2
New Avengers/Avengers: Age of Ultron – Avengers: Age of Ultron

8. Michael Giacchino – Between 2004 and 2009, I’ve never even heard of this guy, and then Star Trek came out, and Michael Giacchino proved himself to be among the other composers in Star Trek’s history of great music. Michael is one the most recent composers I’ve grown to like, and when I found out he did the music to one of my favorite Pixar movies, The Incredibles, I was sold on this guy. Let’s hope the magic continues with Star Trek Beyond, and The Incredibles 2.
Favorite Works: To Boldly Go/End Credits – Star Trek
The Incredits – The Incredibles

7. David Arnold – Ladies and gentlemen, the one good thing that comes from a Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin movie (well, until recent years). Now, I never liked Stargate, but after hearing David’s amazing work in the five previous James Bond movies (most of the Brosnan era and the first two Craig era movies), I gave Stargate another chance if not for the movie itself, then at least for the incredible score by David Arnold. Let’s get back to James Bond for a moment, David was a big fan of John Barry’s work and even made his own music project where he did his own take on Barry’s James Bond music, it impressed Barry so much that Arnold was recommended to Michael G. Wilson and Barbra Broccoli to compose the music to Tomorrow Never Dies. Also if you like watching trailers, then you may have heard the track Mastadge Drag in certain trailers.
Favorite Works: The Name’s Bond, James Bond – Casino Royale
Stargate Overture – Stargate

6. Michael Kamen – Like Michael Giacchino, we have another case of, someone I didn’t know of until recently, or in this case 15 years ago. I’m watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and while that’s not my favorite Robin Hood movie, the privilege belongs to Men In Tights, I did enjoy the music, he even made Bryan Adams enjoyable, with his involvement in the film’s love theme Everything I Do. Then I watched X-Men and heard the score for that movie and was very impressed with his work, especially the end credits music, at some points I felt like he was kind of emulating the 90’s cartoon theme. He may not be around now, but his famous Robin Hood theme will still live on, as the fanfare fir Morgan Creek Productions. Wait, does Morgan Creek even still exist?
Favorite works: Cartoon Fight – Hudson Hawk (With Michael Kraft)
Checkmate/End Titles – X-Men

5. Alan Silvestri – This man is responsible for almost all of your favorite movie themes, you name one and he’s done it, like the suite to Forest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, basically any movie he worked on with Robert Zemeckis. But when he isn’t working with Zemeckis, he’s making other iconic themes like Cosmos, Night at the Museum, and of course The Avengers. Alan’s music spans generations, from the 80’s and the iconic Back to the Future March, to the present day with his work on Captain America and The Avengers. If you need an excellent and memorable theme song, look no further than Alan Silvestri.
Favorite works: The Avengers – The Avengers
Cosmos Main Title – Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey
Back to the Future (End Credits) – Back to the Future

4. John Ottman – This guy is awesome, not only does he compose music, but he also dabbles in editing and directing movies, well he directed one movie, Urban Legends: Final Cut, in case you’re wondering. I have not seen it, but the point is John Ottman is incredible when he composes a movie, dude made the 2005 Fantastic Four movie, and it’s sequel great, just by the music alone. Rise of the Silver Surfer’s soundtrack deserves a ton of praise, especially it’s haunting theme for the Surfer. Let’s hope he directs another movie, I’d love to see what he can do behind the camera.
Favorite works: Silver Surfer – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Theme from Astro Boy – Astro Boy
Main Titles – Fantastic Four

3. James Horner – He was added in with a heavy heart, I’m sure you’ve all heard he tragically died last summer. Much like someone else, who may or may not be on the list, his death took me by surprise. Now, at first, I didn’t really care for his work, but as I got older, I grew to enjoy his score, most notably, his music for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and most especially, The Amazing Spider-Man, not to mention, the man pretty much knew Amazing Spider-Man 2 was going to be bad, and he passed on it. It’s a terrible shame that he left us so soon, I would’ve loved to have seen his tackle another superhero movie, or a sci-fi movie again. RIP, Mr. Horner.
Favorite works: Promises – The Amazing Spider-Man
Bishop’s Countdown – Aliens
Battle In The Mutara Nebula – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

2. John Williams – Is there anything I can say about this man that hasn’t been said already, the man has a knack for making everything just so epic. In Empire Strikes Back, he made running away epic with the track Escape from Cloud City. So, I’m not sure if you know, but The Force Awakens is the last Star Wars movie, Mr. Williams will compose. And while I loved the score for the movie, I don’t really consider it to be the perfect swan song for him. Let’s hope Lucasfilm decide to change their minds before post-production of Episode VIII starts.
Favorite Works: The Jedi Steps and Finale – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Destruction of Krypton – Superman: The Movie
The Raiders March – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Setting The Trap – Home Alone
Escape From Cloud City – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

While I will always enjoy John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra do their stuff, there is only one composer, that beats him out of the water, and that composer is…

1. Jerry Goldsmith – I love this guy, out of all these composers, this guy had the biggest impact on me. Whenever I heard the familiar theme to Star Trek TMP, which when I was younger, I thought was just Next Generation’s theme, I’d always get excited, and hum along to the tune. And it seemed, like his musical prowess runs in the family as his son, Joel became a composer, and collaborated with his father on Star Trek Insurrection, giving another example on this list of a of a bad movie with a good score. Joel also composed the music to Stargate SG-1. I remember when, I first learned of Mr. Goldsmith’s death, it was the summer before I started Middle School, Access Hollywood of all shows announced his death, and it just took me by surprise. And just like his father, Joel passed away four years ago, let’s hope they’re making great music together in the great beyond.
Favorite works: End Title – Star Trek The Motion Picture
Short Hair – Mulan
Trailer Music – Judge Dredd
Voyager Main Credits – Star Trek Voyager
Thin Air (AKA Powerhouse) – Looney Tunes Back In Action (With John Debney)

Honorable Mentions

John Debney – Favorite work: Monaco – Iron Man 2

Ramin Djawadi – Favorite work: Riding With The Top Down – Iron Man

John Barry – Favorite work: Main Title – The Black Hole

James Newton Howard – Favorite work: Flow Like Water  – The Last Airbender (BTW, the score the only good thing to come out of that movie!)

Brad Fiedel – Favorite work: Main Title/Harry Makes His Entrance – True Lies

So, given the length it took me to write this, next time will be the Next Generation episodes. Maybe… We’ll see.


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