Thursday, July 21, 2011


Seven years ago today (how can it really be SEVEN YEARS already?) Jerry moved on to another realm of existence and now lives with us only in memory.

And in recordings.

And to commemorate this day (inspired by lists over on The Cult of Jerry Facebook page) I present -

Seven of My Favorite Albums. There may be individual Main Titles and such that I absolutely adore (I'm looking at you, Caboblanco) but typically only listen to on their own, not as a full album. For this list, I'm picking albums, complete musical experiences that I cherish.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Music From the Original Soundtrack1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It all began here. I'd certainly been exposed to Jerry's music before I first saw this film, but it was with this release that Jerry took his honored place in my personal pantheon. Somehow, more than 30 years later, I still find myself listening to this score, never growing tired of it, always finding new ways for it to linger in my thoughts, to speak to my experiences. More than just music, it's a way of life. And I could listen to this version of his Main Title theme OVER and OVER and OVER again without EVER growing weary of it. The theme has been watered down and overexposed over the years, but here it remains an amazing, stirring, exhilarating ride. Every time.

Islands in the Stream (Complete Original Tracks) [Soundtrack]2. Islands in the Stream. Contemplative Goldsmith at its finest. Another CD that creates a journey of its own. I've never seen the film, probably never will. But the music pulses and flows, like the ocean itself, like the shape of our lives. It's filled with delightful details hidden inside a tone-poem of nostalgia. I can imagine an evening staring at the surf, at sunset, listening to this, and feeling the world wash away. Shamefully, I still don't have the Film Score Monthly release.

Planet of the Apes by Jerry Goldsmith LP (Vinyl - 1968) - Soundtrack3. Planet of the Apes. Mixing bowls, ahoy! This is sheer brilliance. inventive, exciting, strangely moving, this score just reeks of genius. And I love listening to it, the whole thing. I'm not especially a fan of atonalism, I like me a good melody. But this score walks the edge and stays right on the line, never drifting too far either way, perfectly balancing familiarity and craziness. It captures the loneliness and otherworldliness Charlton Heston's character experiences in the film and creates a listening experience that truly transports the listener. At least when that listener is me. And I never felt that way about the original LP. I always felt ripped off when I'd listen to the LP, because it was always glaringly missing The Hunt.

Total Recall: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack4. Total Recall. What a roller coaster ride of awesomeness. This is action, my friends. If you like your Goldsmith blistering, your orchestra blazing, your action cues inventive and infectious, then look no farther. And the "Deluxe Edition" manages to make this whole thing into a great listen. By the way, I still remember being absolutely certain, at the premiere midnight screening of the film, that the main title theme was a straight rip of Conan. Okay, so I was wrong. It was obviously an influence, but it veers off into its own awesome territory to make it one of my favorite of Jerry's many wonderful main title themes.

Medicine Man: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack5. Medicine Man. This one is almost New Age-y in my mind, and that makes it great music for becoming calm and centered. I love the instrumentation, the occasional electronics amidst the more jungle-y rhythms. It's soothing for me, and - like alwmost all of Jerry's scores - utterly transcends the movie for which it was written.

Twilight Zone: The Movie6.  Twilight Zone. I had this LP and, well, never played it. I liked the faithful rendition of the TV theme, but other than that, the score didn't grab me Didn't make much of an impression at all. Many years later, Film Score Monthly released their version. Wow. What a revelation. It quickly became a regular in my CD rotation. There's such variety, such nuance here, so many things I missed on - and were missing from - the original release. The Time Out sections are utterly devastating in their power and ferocity. From the warmth of Kick the Can to the jagged intensity of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and everything in between, this is a collection to treasure.

Masada (1981 Television Mini-series)7. Masada. Notwithstanding the amazing new Intrada release, the original MCA LP of this score remains one of my most played. It's a dynamite representation of the score and works extremely well as a stand alone listen. If anything, I love the way this LP version really highlights the gorgeous Slaves theme. But the main Masada theme gets a big, rich presentation as well and, again, it's just a terrific package by itself. I never saw the miniseries, I just bought the LP because it was Goldsmith and I liked the music snippets I heard in TV promos.


  1. An interesting list...

    Mine would go this way, in no particular order :

    UNDER FIRE : ethnic Goldsmith
    THE 13TH WARRIOR : epic Goldsmith
    STAR TREK TMP : storyteller Goldsmith
    any of the RAMBO scores : action Goldsmith
    THE EDGE : tree-hugging Goldsmith
    THE HAUNTING : scary Goldsmith
    THE RUSSIA HOUSE : jazzy Goldsmith

  2. @luquet3 - good list! I find First Blood Part 2 especially to be a great, well rounded, fun to listen to album.

  3. Interesting. I lean more toward luquet3, agreeing that The Russia House and Under Fire have to be in the top seven, but so does Twilight Zone: The Movie. So many of his albums are so important to me that the list could change day to day, but to those three I'd add:

    Basic Instinct
    The Final Conflict