Anyone who has ever seen a movie has undoubtedly heard of composer Danny Elfman, and if they haven’t actually heard his name, they’ve most likely heard his music. Known for partnering with Tim Burton for the majority of that director’s films (all but three: Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd and the upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Elfman has put his musical stamp on more than 70 films (15 of which were directed by Burton). In addition to Burton’s work, Elfman also composed the scores for films like The Nightmare Before Christmas*, Darkman, Army of Darkness, Mission: Impossible, To Die For (a personal favorite of mine), Freeway (also awesome, if only for this scene), Red Dragon, Milk, Fifty Shades of Grey(!) and Goosebumps. While his discography is quite impressive, Elfman has never actually won an Academy Award for his work, which is quite shocking (though he did win an Emmy for his work on Desperate Housewives). Today is his 63rd birthday, so happy birthday Danny!
Elfman has done so much music throughout his 40+ year career that it would be almost impossible to choose a favorite, but that is exactly what I’m going to try to do (and encourage you all to do the same). My favorite track composed by Danny Elfman is a bit unconventional, though it is from a Tim Burton film. I absolutely love the Mars Attacks! main title theme. There’s just something about listening to this piece of music blasting in your car (pretending to be a conductor during those last 30 seconds, of course) that really gets me going. I play it in my car at least once a week.
Hey, I told you it was unconventional, but I’m just weird like that.
As for scores, this may be a little too obvious, but I adore the soundtrack to Batman Returns. Both villains have sufficiently creepy and disturbing introductory themes (with Catwoman’s being just a bit more tragic). The Cat Suite is so playful and all of the choral background music is so haunting. It takes Elfman’s score from the 1989 Batman and improves upon it in every way. This has nothing to do with the fact that it basically turned the score into the soundtrack of a horror movie…**
Do you have a favorite Danny Elfman soundtrack? Or is there one particular track of music of his that you love? Let us know in the comments below and share your thoughts and memories on Danny Elfman’s body of work. Which pieces of music have affected you the most? There are no limits. Give us the scoop!
*I’m just not the biggest fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Blasphemy, I know, but it’s just never been my thing.
**I lied. It has everything to do with the fact that the Batman Returns soundtrack sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie.