James Horner - The Rocketeer

James Roy Horner (August 14, 1953 – June 22, 2015) was one of the most highly regarded film score composers from the 1980s up to the present time. Among the over 100 film scores Horner composed many were award-winning. A small listing of these is The Lady in Red, Krull, Star Trek III, Cocoon, Aliens, Field of Dreams, Titanic, and Avatar. His parents were both Jewish immigrants; his father from Austria-Hungary and his mother from Canada. His brother, Christopher, is a writer and documentary filmmaker.

Horner’s music education was from the Royal College of Music in London, the University of Southern California (USC). He received his doctorate from The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Before deciding to embark on a career of writing film music, Horner was an accomplished composer of concert music. In addition to his many film scores, Horner’s themes have been used in trailers of other films.

An avid pilot, tragically, James Horner died in the crash of his single-engine private airplane in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara. He was 61 years old.

The Rocketeer

This 1991 super-hero film was based on a cartoon character and writings of comic book writer and cartoonist Dave Stevens. Set in 1938 Los Angeles, the Rocketeer relates the story of a stunt pilot who accidentally discovers a jet pack that enables him to fly. With assistance from his lady friend, Cliff Secord, to accomplish heroic deeds which help the FBI confront evil Nazi operatives who had infiltrated the U.S. during World War II. Horner used popular music of the era, “Begin the Beguine” and “When Your Lover has Gone” sung by Melora Hardin, to augment his colorful score. The tracks of “Main Title / Liftoff”, and “Rocketeer to the Rescue”, are particularly invigorating while “Jenny” is a poignant tribute to Cliff’s love interest.

James Horner:
The Rocketeer (1991)

“Main Title / Takeoff” 4:45
“Flying Circus” 6:26
“Begin the Beguine” (Cole Porter), Melora Hardin, vocal 3:46
“When your Lover Has Gone” (Einar Aaron Swan), Melora Hardin, vocal 3:30
"Jenny" 5:14
"Rocketeer to the Rescue / End Title" 6:34

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Studio Orchestra
James Horner, conductor
Melora Hardin, vocals
Hollywood Records HR-61117-2

Horner's climax of the track Bishop’s Countdown from his score for the science fiction film Aliens, featured below, ranks fifth in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers.

"Bishop's Countdown" 3:21
(from the film Aliens)
The Alien Trilogy
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Cliff Eidelman
Varese Sarabande VSD-5753

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