I’m dispensing with the lengthy explanation from the previous 5 posts. By now, it is clear that I’m revealing 10 albums in as many days that I would take with me to a deserted island. I’m bringing albums that evoke memories from different times of my life, so the order of the reveal is chronological and not by ranking. I’m also seeking to capture a range of musical styles so I don’t get too bored there…
Album 6: Conan The Barbarian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) composed by Basil Poledouris
As you might imagine of someone who began purchasing CDs in the early ’80s, I have a rather large collection that I refuse to dispose of and which resides in a rack which I constructed myself in handier days. The bottom-right shelf holds a couple of dozen movie soundtracks, among which are film scores such as Glory, The Mission, Shawshank Redemption, A River Runs Through It, and Braveheart. More recently, I’m really into Gravity, Inception, and Oblivion. So, this music genre needs to be represented on the island.
On a side note, the oldest CD in my collection was one I remember my father purchasi g back in 1983 from Oz Records & Tapes, in Stone Mountain, Ga. Somehow it wound up in my collection. Flashdance.
I’ve frequently referred to film scores as the idiot’s classical for their approachable, uncomplicated, and sometimes formulaic style. They became a frequent listen sometime in the early ’90s and continue to this day, depending on the mood. Composers like James Horner, Hans Zimmer, Mark Isham, Ennio Morricone, and John Williams have been producing high-quality, if overlooked, music for years. When I was younger and wilder, nothing ended the night better than a soundtrack. Mornings, too, are also ideal times for a suitable film score. And work, of course. Sometimes I can’t focus with a singer spouting words into my ears, but I can listen to film scores all day.
I should get my old friend Doug to reveal his top 10 albums, since this is another music style with whom I share a love. But, the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian is distinctly me, though. I don’t think ole Doug is into it, and, typically, the mention of the movie title to others draws a snarky comment or laughter. They don’t know what they’re missing. Barbarians.
Here’s the thing. When I was an adolescent, I got really into sword movies. I found the movie Excalibur on HBO one night when my parents must have been out, and it changed me forever. Not because of the R-rated elements, either; it was the knights and their swords. Soon the movies Dragonslayer, Beastmaster, and other, sword B-movies followed. I became an adolescent sword-nerd. And then came Conan the Barbarian. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it, and his acting doesn’t exactly evoke Marlon Brando, but he played the character of barbarian well. He was big and ripped and a man of few words. But with a stirring, mood-setting score from Basil Poledouris, he doesn’t need to speak much.
I love the entire soundtrack, but it starts with particular force. There’s no better way to describe the opening scene and the accompanying theme other than that it kicks ass. I once contacted Dr Michael Robinson, Director of the UGA Redcoat Marching Band, about using the track, “Prologue/Anvil of Crom,” to fire up the Bulldogs’ defense. I think it would be unique and intimidating. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to hear it played on a fall Saturday, but I’m still waiting. I’m taking this album to the deserted island because, like the mad Irishman, Stephen, says about Ireland in Braveheart, “it’s my island.”
Since this is a film score, I obviously have no lyrics, but here are the opening words of the Wizard, spoken just prior to launching into the Prologue and the forging of Conan’s sword:
“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”
Now you have to watch it! Opening of Conan the Barbarian.