My mother tended to influence my brother and me musically more than my dad, as she owned and listened to all the records while he listened to country music on an AM radio in his garage workshop/man cave. Because she liked pop/rock and he liked country, car rides usually consisted of classical music as that was the only music they could agree upon to listen to. Mom’s music forms about 90 percent of my childhood soundtrack. And her eclectic tastes taught both me and my brother to like many types of music. Original Motion Picture Soundtracks were common in our household. Some consisted of show tunes while others were scores.
One score stands above the all others. Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece (one of many masterpieces, I might add), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, still graces my playlists today–particularly “The Ecstasy of Gold.” I own both the original score version on vinyl and CD, and a digital download remix version. Both Morricone’s soundtrack and Leone’s classic film are favorites of mine. I even use the graveyard scene featuring the song and the subsequent duel among the titular trio to teach my students how to read film–lighting, angles, sound, shot…its got it all. I also love sharing a little piece of my childhood with my students in the hopes that I can turn them on to Leone’s and Morricone’s works.
I was overjoyed with the Maestro finally won an Academy Award this past spring (for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight). It was long overdue. He has over 520 movie scores to his credit, including such greats as The Untouchables, The Mission, and Once Upon a Time in the West. But when it comes to my childhood it will always be the score for Blondie, Angel Eyes, and Tuco.