While Giorgio Moroder might not be a household name, his music certainly is. His discography boasts an impressive list of offerings to both the mainstream and underground music scenes. I know of Moroder because he wrote the score to a film I love, Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983). The film is famous for Al Pacino’s portrayal of a Cuban drug lord and these days is also well known for it’s unique, disco-inspired soundtrack. Tony’s Theme, a classic from the film, plays as a blimp, in flashing lights, tells Tony – ‘the world is yours’. Words he takes to heart. Moroder’s music gives that scene power and gravity and lends the film a dark edge that gets softened at times with lighter songs like Push it to the Limit (Engemann, a frequent Moroder collaborator).
It seems Moroder can’t help but be iconic. He is responsible for Take my Breath Away and Danger Zone (Berlin/Kenny Loggins resp., from the film Top Gun), Flashdance – what a feeling (Irene Cara, from the film Flashdance), Call Me (Blondie, from the film American Gigolo), The Never Ending Story (Limahl and Beth Anderson, from the film The Never Ending Story) and scoring films including Midnight Express, Scarface and Cat People. He has produced countless songs for everyone including David Bowie, Barbara Streisand, Freddie Mercury and Bonnie Tyler, to name a few. Moroder produced Donna Summer’s hits Love to love you and I feel love – songs that many consider to be the birth of disco.
Prolific and influential composers like Moroder are often involved in film scoring and soundtracks. Perhaps it is the ability to create emotive music, perhaps it is just a cross-over interest in film, in any case, Moroder’s interest is more than fleeting. He has been involved in the making of several short films that incorporate images and music like A Special Tree, Vorticoso and Metamorphosis. He also created a retrospective soundtrack for Fritz Lang’s silent film Metropolis (1927) which involved his original compositions being performed by artists including Pat Benetar, Freddie Mercury of Queen, Loverboy and Adam Ant.
It seems Moroder was not happy to share his talent exclusively with film, he has also turned his attention to create several sporting anthems, like “Reach Out” for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, “Hand in Hand” for the 1988 Seoul Olympics and “Forever Friends” for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Moroder founded Musicland studios in Munich which recorded bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen,the Rolling Stones,Electric Light Orchestra, The Three Degrees, Marc Bolan & T.Rex, Deep Purple, Freddie Mercury and Elton John under the supervision of engineer and producer Reinhold Mack. Mack was a huge influence and friend to Freddie Mercury in particular, who spent personal time with Mack and his family, his third son being named by Mercury.
And finally, in an unexpected but perfectly suitable turn, he also helped design an Italian Super-Car, The “Cizeta Moroder,” a 16-cylinder sports car that set new records for Italian High-Performance Technology.