Release Date: Dec 18, 2015
Record label: Verve
Genre(s): Classical, Pop/Rock, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen, Film Music, Film Score, Original Score
Eighty-seven-year old legend Ennio Morricone occupies a unique position among film composers. He's known outside of his industry, a rarity for any score-writer not named John Williams. And he's one of the few film composers whose work has had a significant impact on rock music (perhaps only John Carpenter can claim more). In fact, the work that first brought him fame—his iconic soundtracks for Sergio Leone's mid-1960s Spaghetti Westerns—might have had more influence on rock musicians than film composers.
Last year, we put together a bracket and asked readers to identify the greatest film composer of all time. It’s stunning to think that in this year alone, all three of our finalists contributed music to blockbusters. John Williams, the winner of that poll, scored Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Phillip Glass contributed to the much-maligned Fantastic Four; and, in perhaps the most surprising of the three, Ennio Morricone leads the way on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
The Hateful Eight, the appropriately titled eighth film by Quentin Tarantino, was released in late 2015 to much fanfare as the first Ultra Panavision 70 film released since 1966. The gory post-Civil War tale was also the first Western film in nearly 40 years scored by composer Ennio Morricone, who popularized the classic spaghetti Western sound in the '60s and '70s. The film itself is a typically brutal Tarantino affair, full of dialogue, blood, and brain matter, and Morricone's score sets an ominous and deliciously over the top tone throughout the nearly three hours of action.
Quentin Tarantino soundtracks often make cultural impacts nearly as big as his films. In the same way his movies riff on genres, the soundtracks are like great mixtapes lovingly compiled by a true fan of low culture. The Hateful Eight is a major departure from that model: it marks the first time the filmmaker has commissioned an original score. He turned to Ennio Morricone, whom he's been trying to hire since Pulp Fiction.