John Williams is our greatest living film composer. Like Max Steiner in the 1930s, John Williams revived the use of classical music scores for movies with 1977’s Star Wars whose original soundtrack recording was entered by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
John Williams has composed some of our most recognizable music from TV and movies, including the theme songs for Lost in Space and the NBC Nightly News; soundtracks for Star Wars, Jaws and Saving Private Ryan.
Williams started as a jazz drummer and percussionist before moving to LA and studying composition and playing in a collegiate jazz band. After being drafted into the Air Force, Williams played piano and brass instruments and after discharge, worked with Henry Mancini before working on his own as a composer. Under the name Johnny Williams, he released several jazz albums and composed scores for 50s and 60s TV shows.
John William’s first film composition was for a promotional film for the Newfoundland tourist board in 1954. By 1958 he scored his first movie and became a popular choice for soundtracks due to his versatility. His skill was first recognized by the awards committees with an Academy Award nomination in 1967 for Valley of the Dolls.
William’s close association within Steven Spielberg began in 1974 and soon produced the classic suspense film score for Jaws. It was Spielberg who recommended Williams to George Lucas, beginning William’s long career scoring the Star Wars series.
Over his seven decades of work, John Williams has scored more than 75 movies and created the theme song or music for more than 30 TV shows plus created the theme music for many special events. With 52 Academy Award nominations, Williams is second only to Walt Disney.