One of my favourite composers turns 60 today. Danny Elfman has been a major force in movie scoring since the 80’s, and has provided the music for most of Tim Burton’s movies; both their zany aesthetics compliment each other perfectly.
Danny Elfman’s career started out with rock band Oingo Bongo, and his pop background left him open to all sorts of accusations from the very conservative movie scoring community. (the most prevalent rumour was that he’d hummed the themes to Batman on an answering machine, and left the orchestrations to others). Of course, the Elfman sound owes a lot to Shirley Walker‘s orchestrations early in his career (and Steve Bartek later after Walker passed away) but it is true of almost all film composers. The crazy schedules for composers usually prevents them from doing the orchestrations themselves. So it’s a little unfair to single him out for that.
Elfman’s style was the de facto superhero inspiration for close to 20 years, but he’s also done some great music for dramas. He’s been often pegged as a one trick pony, but when given the chance, he’s shown the ability to stretch beyond the Batman/Edward Scissorhands mold. So in honor of his turning 60, here are a few of my favourite Elfman themes. Enjoy!