The Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies
The second episode, Pop Goes the Soundtrack, in Neil Brand’s three-part exploration of the history of film music
In the second part of this series exploring film music Neil Brand looks at how composers and film-makers began to embrace Jazz, rock and pop in their soundtracks.
The jazz soundtrack for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), composed by Alex North, was the first of its kind and it set a trend of popular music taking place of the traditional orchestral score.
Another case study is The Beatles’s A Hard Day’s Night (1964), which presented the challenge of writing and structuring a screenplay around popular songs.
From Quentin Tarantino’s influential use of pre-existing music – his soundtrack for Pulp Fiction (1994) especially has gone down in cinematic history – to Martin Scorsese’s use of the records he grew up with in the 1960s, this is a wide view of directors and soundtrack composers abandoning the notion of a film score as specially-composed orchestral music.
For more information – and to vote for your favourite soundtrack, head to the Sound of Cinema website.