Ennio Morricone

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About Ennio Morricone

Perhaps no film composer has ever had a more immediately identifiable style than Ennio Morricone, who became best known for the soundtracks of the “Spaghetti Western” genre in the ’60s. Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone had a trumpet-playing father who facilitated Ennio’s entrance into music. From the late ’50s on, the multitalented Morricone played trumpet in jazz bands and worked as an arranger and composer for radio and Italian pop artists’ recordings. He composed for films during this period too—but everything changed when he wrote the music for his childhood schoolmate Sergio Leone’s milestone Clint Eastwood-starring A Fistful of Dollars, which helped popularize Italian-made Westerns. Morricone’s combination of Golden Age Hollywood soundtrack influences, Western musical flavoring, and his own evocative, atmospheric approach helped the music become nearly as popular as the movies, which also included The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, For A Few Dollars More, and Once Upon a Time in the West. Morricone went on to compose in many other styles for multiple film genres, including horror and science fiction, adapting his approach as each demanded. Quentin Tarantino, heavily influenced by Morricone, engaged him to write for 2012’s Django Unchained and 2015’s The Hateful Eight, bringing things full circle. Morricone passed away in 2020 at the age of 91, more renowned than he’d been even during the Leone films’ heyday.

Rome, Italy
November 10, 1928
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