James Horner: a tribute

James Horner passed away this week. I feel very strongly about this, because this brilliant composer was behind much of the emotional impact of many of the most important films of my childhood.

While he is well known for his works in Aliens and Titanic (yes, he wrote the melody to the Céline Dion song), he composed many other works that are hugely famous but which are not immediately connected to him.

In honour of one of my favourite and most beloved film music composers, I present some of my favourites. I strongly argue that without his music, these movies wouldn’t have had the same emotional impact.

The Land Before Time

A beloved film for many people of my generation (and others since) James’ music really added to this movie’s drama. From the initial opening credits to the attack of Sharp Tooth to the death of Little Foot’s mother.


Another great and under-appreciated fantasy film. The main theme, I think, stands up there with other greats like Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Truly wonderful, vibrant and exciting work that gave life to the greatest scenes: Mad Martigan’s daring rescue, Willow embarking upon his journey and the dreaded evil Queen and her forces.


The Search for Spock

While I’ve already declared that James made the greatest and best Star Trek intro theme, I find that his work really shined with the intro to Search for Spock. Emotional, awe-inspiring and still promising adventure and wonder:

The Rocketeer

James gave a musical background to my favorite super hero, the Rocketeer. Another under-appreciated film and a great theme song that evokes nostalgia and innocent fun:


There are plenty, plenty more: Avatar, the Abyss, Braveheart, An American Tail, Cocoon, Glory and Batteries Not Included. He has had as big of an impact upon movie music as Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams.


Want more?

Others on Youtube have compiled their own collections of his works. Here’s a decent one that I’ll be listening to today to say goodbye to a great man: