In 1965, movie goers outside of Italy, were interested in watching the film ‘For a few Dollars more’.
This was mainly due to the fact it starred ex-‘Rawhide’ star Clint Eastwood and offered the strange combination of a western filmed in Southern Spain. Who could forget the mystic and story telling music of ‘The Pocket Watch’ song.
The Spaghetti Western was born and Ennio Morricone was introduced to an audience which is still appreciative of his brilliant work to this day.
Morricone had in fact been writing film scores since 1961 in Italy, but the pairing up with Director Sergio Leone to make ‘A fistful of Dollars’ and ‘The Good, the bad and the Ugly’ thus completing the infamous trio.
A poll was taken recently asking “What are the best ever Western film scores”. The top two were ‘The William Tell Overture’ (The Lone Ranger) and ‘The Good, the bad and the Ugly’ – both these being over 40 years ago !!
Morricone (born in 1928) could have sat back after these films and probably taken the easy life, but his love of films and his legendary ability of being able to put music to characters and situations, branched him out into many other ventures, even composing the TV Movie Themes to ‘Moses’ and ‘Marco Polo’.
His style has always been exploratory and he has never shyed away from experimentation ie, the Church bells, the high trumpet with electric guitar, the sounds of whiplash. If you heard the music before you watched the film, you’d want to see it.
Between his many Italian movies, his list of Hollywood productions is endless; ‘The Mission’, ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Once upon a time in the West’ and ‘Bugsy’, just to name a few.
What makes him ‘one of the best’ is quite simply, you listen to some music and say “That’s Ennio Morricone”. A distinctive sound and it’s not just the olden’s who think this either. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ is still a top selling DVD to the younger generation now – Even Heavy Rock band ‘Metallica’ play Morricones ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ as an introduction to their concerts.
I write this in November 2006 – Morricone, at the age of 78 will be performing live at The Apollo in London next month, then moving on to play ‘Radio City’ in New York.
So what more can you say about a man who graduated in music in the second year out of four at the Academy of Santa Cecilia and worked with Mario Lanza in the late 50’s !
Not much really. I guess in some ways, the Spaghetti Westerns were of a commercial slant, but I’m sure he would have seen this a a sound career move and gave him the opportunities of working with more famous directors – who in the main, let him do it ‘his way’ – and I don’t think they’d argue that much !
He has an official website at