Movie Music Magic – Danny Elfman ūüéľ

Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman

Music is essential to a film production. It sets the tone and mood and helps tell the movie’s story. A great musician “behind the camera” is Danny Elfman, who’s scored such film’s as “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”, “Batman” ¬†and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is an American composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. From 1976 to 1995 he was the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Oingo Boingo.

In 1976, Elfman entered the film industry as an actor. In 1982, he scored his first film, Forbidden Zone, directed by his older brother Richard Elfman. Among his honors are four Academy Award nominations, a Grammy for Batman, an Emmy for Desperate Housewives, the 2002 Richard Kirk Award, and the Disney Legend Award.

I first became aware of Danny Elfman from his band, Oingo Boingo. Their ska driven music was freeing and fun. ¬†Ska-influenced the new wave band in 1979, and then changed again towards a more guitar-oriented rock sound, in the late 1980s. The band’s appearance in Back to School¬†energized the soundtrack with “Dead Man’s Party”.

Oingo Boingo Deadman's Party

“Back to School” (1986)

Some of Elfman’s music influences were Bernard Hermann, Franz Waxman, and Philip Glass.¬†In 1985, Tim Burton and Paul Reubens invited Elfman to write the score for their first feature film, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”. Elfman was apprehensive at first, because of his lack of formal training, but with orchestration assistance from Oingo Boingo guitarist and arranger Steve Bartek, he achieved his goal of emulating the mood of such composers as Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann.

Elfman immediately developed a rapport with Burton¬†and has gone on to score all but three of Burton’s major studio releases.¬†Elfman also provided the singing voice for Jack Skellington in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and the voices of both Barrel and the “Clown with the Tear-Away Face”. Years later he provided the voice for Bonejangles the skeleton in Corpse Bride.

Trivia: Elfman also composed the theme to “The Simpsons”.

Burton has said of his relationship with Elfman: “We don’t even have to talk about the music. We don’t even have to intellectualize ‚Äď which is good for both of us, we’re both similar that way. We’re very lucky to connect”. (Wikipedia)

Danny Elfman’s score of “Batman” (directed by Tim Burton) won him a Grammy Award.

Elfman admits his favorite movie to score was “Edward Scissorhands” (Tim Burton director).

edward scissor hands

Tim Burton, Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman in 1990.

Danny Elfman has three children: Lola (born 1979), Mali (born 1984), and Oliver (born 2005). On November 29, 2003, he married actress Bridget Fonda.

In October 2013, Elfman returned to the stage to sing his vocal parts to a handful of Nightmare Before Christmas songs as part of a concert titled Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton.¬†He composed the film score for Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), and composed additional music for Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) together with Brian Tyler.

 

Advertisements

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

This film “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” is from a previous post but I think it exemplifies the strength and determination that is the perfect subject matter for Black History Month.¬†Tina Turner’s tumultuous life is explored and documented with the impeccable¬†interpretation by the dynamic Angela Bassett.

Angela¬†Bassett’s performance of Tina Turner’s iconic “Proud Mary” in the biopic,¬†“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”(1993) is a tour de force tribute to Tina Turner and musical numbers from films with dynamic female leads.

James Brown may have been the hardest working man in show business, but he wasn’t being physically abused every day by his spouse. Unlike Tina Turner, the hardest working woman¬†in show business who simultaneously raised a family while delivering show stopping, gut wrenching¬†vocals that, at that time, girls weren’t supposed to be able to deliver.

 

What's Love Got to Do with it poster

 

Quoting my favorite critic – the late Roger Ebert’s review from 1993 – “…ranks as one of the most harrowing, uncompromising showbiz biographies I’ve ever seen.”

Bassett kills it with her¬†living, breathing and –¬†Whoa, check out those guns – transformation paying homage to the Queen of Rock – Tina Turner!

This is Angela Bassett’s hard work paying off; seamlessly blending Tina’s vocals with a powerful performance of her hard rockin’ hit – “Proud Mary”.

Tina Turner’s (Anna Mae Bullock)¬†life is a testament¬†to her resilience. I’ve been fortunate enough to see her live and believe me she is truly a force¬†of energy “leaving it all on the stage” with every performance. ¬†“Proud Mary”¬†(written in 1969 by singer/songwriter John Fogerty and recorded by his band Credence Clearwater Revival) is one of her most recognizable signature¬†songs.

Tina’s interpretation is worlds away from the original southern rock version. With a completely different arrangement, it opens with Tina teasing that sometimes the audience might like to hear them do a song “nice and easy” but “we never, ever do nothing nice and easy” we always do it “nice and rough”. She further sets up the number by enticing the crowd with they’re going to do the first part “nice” but they’re going to do the finish “rough”.

The song reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971 and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972.

 

Tina

Tina lived a life of poverty growing up in Nutbush, TN in the 1940’s, but found solace in the spirit and freeing experience of music and singing in the choir of her Southern Baptist church. She began her musical career in St. Louis in the 1950’s singing in Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band.

Ike Turner (her husband) ended up trying to destroy not only her passion but her life. With hate in his heart and jealousy of her talent, he systematically physically and mentally abused her for years. However, through her strength of will and perseverance, she fought back, sued for divorce, and walked out the courtroom in 1978 (in spite of what Ike tried to prevent) with her dignity and above all – Her Name!

I love Tina Turner and smile because this routine has been performed more than once in the living rooms, basements, wherever by a generation of “rock girls” (myself included). Tearing it up, whipping our hair back and forth and just knowing we are too doggone hot!

This Grammy-winning performance of “Proud Mary”(1971) showcases the dynamic energy and incredible legs of the one, the only, the incomparable – Miss Tina Turner!

 

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Angela¬†Bassett’s performance of Tina Turner’s iconic “Proud Mary” in the biopic,¬†“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”(1993) is a tour de force tribute to my favorite “girls rock” musical numbers from films with dynamic female leads.

James Brown may have been the hardest working man in show business, but he wasn’t being physically abused every day by his spouse. Unlike Tina Turner, the hardest working woman¬†in show business who simultaneously raised a family while delivering show stopping, gut wrenching¬†vocals that, at that time, girls weren’t suppose to be able to deliver.

 

What's Love Got to Do with it poster

 

Quoting my favorite critic – the late Roger Ebert’s review from 1993 – “…ranks as one of the most harrowing, uncompromising showbiz biographies I’ve ever seen.”

Bassett kills it with her¬†living, breathing and –¬†Whoa, check out those guns – transformation paying homage to the Queen of Rock – Tina Turner!

This is Angela Bassett’s hard work paying off; seamlessly blending Tina’s vocals with a powerful performance of her hard rockin’ hit – “Proud Mary”.

Tina Turner’s (Anna Mae Bullock)¬†life is a testament¬†to her resilience. I’ve been fortunate enough to see her live and believe me she is truly a force¬†of energy “leaving it all on the stage” with every performance. ¬†“Proud Mary”¬†(written in 1969 by singer/songwriter John Fogerty and recorded by his band Credence Clearwater Revival) is one of her most recognizable signature¬†songs.

Tina’s interpretation is worlds away from the original southern rock version. With a completely different arrangement, it opens with Tina teasing that sometimes the audience might like to hear them do a song “nice and easy” but “we never, ever do nothing nice and easy” we always do it “nice and rough”. She further sets up the number by enticing the crowd with they’re going to do the first part “nice” but they’re going to do the finish “rough”.

The song reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971 and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972.

 

Tina

Tina lived a life of poverty growing up in Nutbush, TN in the 1940’s, but found solace in the spirit and freeing experience of music and singing in the choir of her Southern Baptist church. She began her musical career in St. Louis in the 1950’s singing in Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band.

Ike Turner (her husband) ended up trying to destroy not only her passion but her life. With hate in his heart and jealousy of her talent, he systematically physically and mentally abused her for years. However, through her strength of will and perseverance, she fought back, sued for divorce, and walked out the courtroom in 1978 (in spite of what Ike tried to prevent) with her dignity and above all – Her Name!

I love Tina Turner and smile because this routine has been performed more than once in the living rooms, basements, wherever by a generation of “rock girls” (myself included). Tearing it up, whipping our hair back and forth and just knowing we are too doggone hot!

This performance of “Proud Mary”(1971) showcases the dynamic energy and incredible legs of the one, the only, the incomparable – Miss Tina Turner!