John Williams 90th Birthday – Star Wars Composers Reflect On An Icon
So much of what we love about the atmosphere of Star Wars media comes from one man. In the original film of the franchise, tunes like “Cantina Band” and “Imperial Attack” engrained themselves into our brains. In the following decades, composer John Williams became one of the greatest American composers and popular musicians of all time. The composer holds 25 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. The only man to best his 52 Oscar nominations is none other than Walt Disney himself. For John Williams’ 90th Birthday, fellow Star Wars composers shared reflections on the legacy of the composer, his music, and overall impact.
John Williams 90th Birthday is a Great Time To Praise the GOAT
Image via Lucasfilm
John Williams is so much more than just the Star Wars music composer we all know and love. The man behind the music of Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park, is a living treasure. Born in 1932, the UCLA and Julliard graduate created sounds we tie into just about every aspect of pop culture. The Jaws theme is hummed by kids today as they play “shark.” We can feel the yearning by closing our eyes and picturing Luke Skywalker looking out onto the Twin Suns of Star Wars planet Tatooine. Williams, more than any other composer, is at the heart of American culture’s most iconic moments.
In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams’s score to 1977’s Star Wars as the greatest film score of all time. A year earlier, the score was preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, calling it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The sounds of John Williams, whether they’re part of Star Wars or other iconic films, are engrained in my brain as it is likely yours. That’s one thing – but to have your music honored timelessly by these institutions? That’s a whole other level of GOAT status.
It’s funny – just the other day I was playing Jurassic World Evolution 2, and every now and then, music starts playing. Faintly, you can hear the humming opening of the film’s theme by Williams himself. Note by note, it started triggering strong emotions for me. The hope in the horns and the triumphant rise to its main melody. It’s there and it’s ours to enjoy for a lifetime, all because of one man.
Fellow Composers in the Star Wars World Offer Reflections on Williams
Image via Lucasfilm
On the Official Star Wars website, fellow Star Wars composers offered reflections for John Williams’ 90th birthday. Michael Giacchino (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) expressed a love for what Williams’ music does. “Listening to John’s music is … a masterclass in film composing and storytelling,” Giacchino explained. Echoing his sentiments was Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian). “I don’t know any other composer whose music has reached so many people across all ages in every corner of the world, Göransson shared. The two make wonderful Star Wars music like the original composer but it’s vastly different sonically. That said, Williams’ spirit is alive in each of their scores.
Kevin Kiner (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch) also weighed in. As the composer of animated series within the Star Wars universe, Kiner owes a lot to John Williams. “He is simply the pinnacle, full stop. No one else comes close to his virtuosity and command of orchestral scoring,” Kiner said. All in all, these composers put their own unique spin on the franchise we love so much. That said, none of them can say they could have done it without John Williams.
Humbly, we wish John Williams a happy 90th birthday and a heartfelt thank you. Thank you for the music we love, the melodies stuck in our minds, and for everything in this galaxy and beyond.
Featured Image Credit: Lucasfilm
Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.