Friday, February 27, 2009

Worth Another Listen: Ennio Morricone – Theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking; this isn’t indie rock, pop, folk, or anything. Hell, it’s not even regular rock, pop or blues or electronic or whatever – this is a soundtrack. You may be absolutely right, but the reasons why this is one of my favourite pieces of music of the past 60 years is the same reason why I’m an indie music fan –this track combines an addictive melody, fantastic rhythm and most importantly, stunning innovation. It’s very likely that you know the main tune, but have you ever paid really close attention to the instrumentation? Morricone creates the iconic Western orchestra, and uses it to its full ability and diversity to pack what would normally be a very unassuming track with little nuances that reward with each listen. To merely be able to hum the tune to yourself in your head is to barely capture the slightest essence of this, the greatest theme of all time. Starting with the distant pound of a drum, the main melody breaks across the barren soundscape like a cold Western wind. Slowly, other elements creep in, almost unnoticed as you’re focusing on that unmistakable opening line. However, before you know it, the galloping beat kicks in, and so does the thunderous male choir, driving lead guitar (its use in a major picture soundtrack in front of classical instrumentation unheard of at this time,) a magnificent trumpet breakdown, and those terrifying androgynous vocals. Movie music had never sounded like this before, and hardly ever since. As this whole speeding locomotive of a soundtrack fades into the horizon, all you want to do is head down to the saloon and waste some baddies before the sheriff can even wake up from his afternoon nap. Truly, a masterpiece for the ages.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Theme Song (download)

1 comment:

roygbiv said...


another ennio morricone fan

and it's ken of all people