Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten Favorite Western Soundtracks and a Guest Post


As you know (and if you don't, you should), it is Legends of Western Cinema Week right now!  Hosted by A Lantern in Her Hand and Meanwhile, in Rivendell, this is a whole week of rootin', tootin' fun on not only their blogs, but lots of others (like mine) as well!  Yesterday, I posted about my Five Favorite Western Book-to-Movie Adaptations on my book blog, and today I've got a guest post about the Tombstone soundtrack here on James the Movie Reviewer's blog as another contribution, and I've got a couple more posts planned for later this week too.

But here and now, I'm going to list off my ten favorite western soundtracks, and link to my favorite track on YouTube, plus I'll also link to my reviews on James' blog where applicable.


1.  The Lone Ranger (2013) by Hans Zimmer.  Please note that this is NOT the "music from and inspired by" album called The Lone Ranger:  Wanted.  This is the music actually used in the film, and it is delicious.  The summer this movie came out, I listened to this soundtrack every single morning while making breakfast, then again every night as I worked on writing my first western YA novel.  My favorite track is "Finale."

2.  The Magnificent Seven (1960) by Elmer Bernstein.  For reasons beyond my ken, the original motion picture soundtrack is not available on CD.  However, there's a re-recording that was conducted by Bernstein himself, and that's quite yummy.  My favorite track is, of course, the "Main Theme."

3.  The Mask of Zorro (1998) by James Horner.  One of the grandest soundtracks ever, sweeping and exuberant.  My favorite track is "Zorro's Theme."  My review of the album as a whole is here.

4.  The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) by Elmer Bernstein.  This is my favorite John Wayne movie, and oh, what wonderful music.  Bernstein is hands-down my favorite western composer.  My favorite track is also the "Main Theme" for this one.

5.  Tombstone (1993) by Bruce Broughton.  Wonderful, rousing music, but also a lot of pieces with a more modern flavor to them.  My favorite track is "Looking at Heaven."  Again, my album review is here.

6.  The Quick and the Dead (1995) by Alan Silvestri.  I just got this recently, and I've been listening to it endlessly while I write.  It has a great spaghetti western flavor to it.  My favorite track is probably "Redemption."

7.  Giant (1956) by Dimitri Tiomkin.  I grew up with this movie, and I used to whistle Jett Rink's theme all the time.  My favorite track, though, is "The Yellow Rose of Texas."  It's used as diagetic music during a fist fight toward the end of the movie, and I have loved it since I was a little girl.

8.  Silverado (1985) by Bruce Broughton.  I really love the "Main Title" theme.  It gives you such a good idea of the movie's flavor, full of joyous energy and optimism.

9.  Hour of the Gun (1967) by Jerry Goldsmith.  Another recent acquisition, but I listened to it a ton while writing some Combat! fanfic earlier this year.  My favorite track is probably the "Main Theme" because it's so dark and swaggering.

10.  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) by Ennio Morricone.  I love so many tracks on this one, and it's crazy long, but my favorite of all is "Ecstasy of Gold."  My album review is here.

Really, this list is who's-who of the greatest western composers.  Bernstein and Morricone and Goldsmith and Tiomkin are the old masters, and Broughton and Silvestri and Horner and Zimmer are the new.  You can't go wrong with them.

13 comments:

  1. Hee. Okay, so we both have Hour of the Gun and Tombstone on our lists. And several of the ones you have here are also long time favorites of mine, I'm just not listening to them right now. (Mask of Zorro, Sons of Katie Elder, and Silverado). You know, I love Mag 7, and own it, but never actually listen to it. I think I've played the CD exactly once since I got it. I think it's one of the few scores that suffers from being too famous for me. But that doesn't stop it from being made of sheer awesomeness.

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    1. See? I knew we would have a little overlap! But yours is "most-listened-to," not "favorite," so of course they're a little different. Sometimes something is a favorite of mine, but I don't listen to/watch/read it much anymore because I've seen it so often it's part of me. The Mask of Zorro soundtrack is like that -- I only pull it out once in a great while because I've listened to it so very often I know it by heart and don't have to have the CD on to hear it in my head.

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    2. Yeah, that's part of why I did a "most-listened-to" instead of favorite list this time, cuz the favorite lists tend to stagnate, cuz our favorites don't usually change, we just add new ones to it.

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    3. (To be bitterly honest, I only own a couple more western soundtracks than what I listed here. So my list is basically both. I did finally buy the Bandolero! mp3 album this week, though!)

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    4. Hee, but that's not a bad thing, owning just your favorites! No "clutter" that way. You did make me curious, so I had to go count the Western movie CDs on my shelves. I'm one shy of 50 (not counting multiple CDs for the same movie). Yay for Bandolero! Hope you enjoy that one.

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    5. Yeah, I have culled my CD, movie, and book collections over and over these past few years, trying to pare them down to only the ones I love.

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  2. Awesome list!!! I know a lot of these, but some of them I'm excited to listen to for the first time. Silverado and Tombstone are also some of my favorites -- you can't go wrong with Bruce Broughton! I just bought his True Women soundtrack, and it's GOLD.

    The Magnificent Seven theme is really great too -- my sister and I often get a movie soundtrack compilation from our library, and that's on it so we've listened to it many times.

    Oh! You've seen Giant! Is it a good movie? I've been intrigued by pictures from it for a while, but I haven't watched it yet.

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    1. I've heard the True Women soundtrack too, Emma, and yes, it's lovely. I want to see the movie at some point.

      Giant. I love it dearly, partly because like I said here, I grew up with it. There were certain movies that my parents would rent with some regularity when I was a little kid (under 12), and Giant was one of them. I can't actually remember the first time I saw it because it's sort of always been there. I think it is a good movie -- I find it sweeping, epic, yet compellingly personal. It details the marriage of two very different people from very different backgrounds -- one a rich east-coast debutante, the other a rich Texas rancher -- and their life together, as they clash over everything from how to run their household to how to raise their children to how to treat the Mexican immigrants who live on their land. They especially clash over a young man named Jett Rink, who was my favorite character when I was a little kid.

      I love stories that just follow people's lives as they grow and change. Other people, however, find those stories really boring. Does that help? Or, by "good," did you mean, "Is it at all objectionable?" Because no, it doesn't have anything icky in it.

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    2. Oooh! It sounds super good. I love stories like that too. :-)

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  3. Excellent list! I never thought about checking out The Long Rangers' score. I will have to listen to it! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Tombstone, and Mag7 are the most recognizable ones for me. I can't think one for my favorite, so maybe it is GBU. That soundtrack is fantastic!

    -James

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    1. Thanks, James! I've been planning to do the LR score on your blog, but have been trying not to clump the westerns together too much, lol. I'm sure I will get to it.

      There's a track on the LR soundtrack that reminds me of Ennio Morricone -- track 4, "Ride." I wish there was more like it on the LR album, but even that one cue is delicious.

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    2. Wow, that is a great track! Thanks!

      -James

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