Rock Stars and Film Scores

‘We’d watch the film together, and he’d pause the film at a certain point and say ‘Look at [that character’s] face here. Write some music about that expression.’  Johnny Greenwood

Over the last few years I’ve discovered that musicians from some of my favourite bands have either collaborated or single-handedly scored films, some gaining critical success and awards. When you take a look at this considerable list of names, you won’t be surprised by the musicians who have pursued the composition of music without words.

Mike Patton – Crank, Crank 2, A Perfect Place – YouTube interview with Mike Patton about his work on Crank , The Place Beyond the Pines

Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) –  The Social Network (collaboration with Atticus Ross), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US version)

Neil Young – Where the Buffalo Roam, Dead Man

Air – The Virgin Suicides

Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) – Into the Wild

Queen – Flash Gordon

Toto – Dune

Brian Eno – The Lovely Bones

David Byrne (Talking Heads) – The Last Emperor (Ryuichi Sakamoto), Young Adam, This Must Be the Place

Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) – Bodysong, There Will be Blood, Norwegian Wood, Inherent Vice, We Need to Talk about Kevin – The Independent Interview with Greenwood about score work

I think cinema has a unique appeal to musicians. The fact that, mostly, an audience will sit in the cinema quietly and listen to what you have done and that you have the audience’s attention is a great incentive. Music in films can move people in a way that is different to a song or gig.” David Arnold

Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy) – About a Boy

Daft Punk – Tron:Legacy

Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) – Local Hero, The Princess Bride, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Wag the Dog (and many others)

Cat Stevens – Harold and Maude

Johnny Marr  (The Smiths) – The Big Bang,  Colours, Mojo interview with Marr about his score work

‘Suddenly he was right on my shoulder, just like Frank from Blue Velvet, shouting in my ear: ‘Make it sound like the fucking cops!’ I immediately started making a sound with my guitar that I’d never been able to make before!’ Johnny Marr

Damon Albarn (Blur) – Ravenous (with Michael Nyman), Ordinary Decent Criminal, 101 Reykjavik (with Einar Örn Benediktsson), The Boy in the Oak

Nick Cave and Warren Elsis (Nick Cave and the Badseeds) – The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesse James, The Road, Lawless (all collaborations with Warren Ellis)

Clint Mansell (Pop Will Eat Itself) – Black Swan, Moon, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Pi, Sahara, Requiem For a Dream (and many more)

Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) – Lilly Was Here, Beautiful Girls, The Ref, Cookie’s Fortune, Alfie (new version, collaboration with Mick Jagger) – cool interview here about his scoring work

David Bowie – Buddha of Suburbia

Ry Cooder – Paris Texas, Crossroads, Last Man Standing, The End of Violence, Primary Colours, The Long Riders, Geronimo (and many more)

Tom Waits – Night on Earth, One from the Heart

Kevin Shields and Brian Reitzell – Lost in Translation

NME published an  interview with Johhny Marr and Trent Reznor offering some insights as to the draw card scoring a film can offer a rock musician.

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