The word legend gets thrown around a little too freely these days, especially in the music world. Whenever some up and coming rapper gets shot or a pop star that had one radio hit dies unexpectedly from an overdose or whatever, many people run to social media and start talking about how much of a legend they were, when the reality is they’ll probably be forgotten in 5 years tops.
That is why I try my best to avoid putting the legend tag on people’s names unless they truly are one. That being said, I can say with certainty that the world lost a music legend today. Ennio Morricone, an Italian composer whose musical contributions to movies and TV seem nearly infinite, passed away today at the age of 91.
If you don’t know who Ennio Morricone was, shame on you. But if think you’ve never heard any of his music, yes you have. He composed the soundtracks for hundreds of movies and TV shows, but is most known for his work on Sergio Leone movies, a subgenre often referred to as Spaghetti Westerns.
These types of films were my first introduction to Morricone, as my dad and I would watch movies like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars constantly when I was little. As a kid, I loved the catchiness of nearly every song in these movies, and I only grew to appreciate them more as I got older. Morricone had this way of using his music to perfectly set the mood for whatever scene it was being used in, and his influence can be seen way beyond the Western films that made him a household name.
So when I woke up this morning and I heard the news, it bummed me out. I know he was old and everybody has to die eventually, but it still sucks to see a legend go. If my morning were a scene in a Sergio Leone movie, I’m sure Morricone would have had some slow violin playing, and maybe even a sad harmonica solo to accurately reflect how I felt earlier.
But rather than continue to wallow about it all day, I instead decided to pay homage to him and listened to a bunch of his complete scores during work today. If you listen to anything in this blog, please go listen to some Morricone scores. Doesn’t matter what time period it’s from or what movie or TV show it is, just listen to them. Seriously, just go to his Wikipedia and take a look at the giant list of things he was involved with, pick one, and listen. Personally, as I’m sure you can already tell, I’m a big fan of his Spaghetti Western work. So check out Leone’s Dollar Trilogy (A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and of course The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
What Michael Jordan is to basketball, Ennio Morricone is to movie and TV scores. His own work is the greatest of all time, and it influenced pretty much all that came after him. So just like Babe Ruth’s ghost said to Benny the Jet in The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die”. Rest in peace Ennio; Your scores, much like your legacy, will live on forever