Bill Conti

Last updated
Bill Conti
Bill Conti.jpg
Conti in 2008
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Conti
Born (1942-04-13) April 13, 1942 (age 79)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Genres Film score, Disco
Occupation(s) Composer, Conductor
Instrumentsbassoon, piano
Years active1969–present

William Conti (born April 13, 1942) is an American composer and conductor, [1] best known for his film scores, including Rocky (and four of its sequels), The Karate Kid (and all of its sequels), For Your Eyes Only , Dynasty , and The Right Stuff , which earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only . He was the musical director at the Academy Awards a record nineteen times. [2]

Contents

Biography

Early life

Conti, an Italian American, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, [1] the son of Lucetta and William Conti. [3] He graduated from North Miami High School in 1959. [4] He is a past winner of the Silver Knight Award presented by the Miami Herald. [5] He is a graduate of Louisiana State University, [1] and also studied and gained honors at the Juilliard School of Music, including a master's degree. [1]

Rocky series

As early as 1971, Bill was orchestrating pop recordings by Italian artists, such as the album "Si .. incoerenza" (yes to incoherence) by Italian singer Patty Pravo. [6] He was also a ghostwriter of the scores for Spaghetti Westerns. [3] Conti's big break into celebrity came in 1976, when United Artists hired him to compose the music for a small film called Rocky . [1] The film became a phenomenon and won three Oscars at the 49th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The same ceremony was also the first time Conti served as musical director for the telecast, a role he reprised 19 times, more than any other person. His training montage tune, "Gonna Fly Now", topped the Billboard singles chart in 1977, and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. [1]

Conti also composed music for the sequels Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky V (1990) [1] and Rocky Balboa (2006).

Other film and television credits

Conti also worked for some other films and, eventually, for television series. In 1981, he wrote the music for the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only , [1] when John Barry was unwilling to return to the United Kingdom for tax reasons, [7] and provided the score for playwright Jason Miller's film version of his Pulitzer Prize winning play That Championship Season the following year.

In 1983, Conti composed the score for HBO's first film, The Terry Fox Story. [8] He then did Bad Boys and Mass Appeal . [9] In 1984, he won an Academy Award for composing the score to 1983's The Right Stuff , [10] after which he wrote the music for the TV series North and South in 1985. [11] He also scored the Masters of the Universe live action film. Another score was the 1987 film Happy New Year . [12]

In 1991, Conti composed for Necessary Roughness , a college football film. [13] In 1993, he wrote the music for The Adventures of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood and directed by Stephen Sommers. In 1999, he composed the score for The Thomas Crown Affair remake, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. That year, he scored Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. [14]

Conti composed the themes to television's Dynasty , [15] The Colbys , Falcon Crest and Cagney & Lacey. [16] He wrote the theme song to the original version of American Gladiators , worked with CBS on its 1980s film jingle, composed one of the early themes of Inside Edition , [17] and wrote the Primetime Live theme for ABC News. [18] He composed the score to the studio altered American version of Luc Besson's The Big Blue . [19]

Two of Conti's previously-composed works were reused for the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous . These were the love theme "Come with Me Now" from the soundtrack for Five Days from Home (used for the show's main theme), and "Runaway", from For Your Eyes Only (used for in-show content).

Awards and nominations

Conti has been nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one in the Best Original Score category for The Right Stuff. [20] He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only . [21]

He had three Golden Globe nominations; two for Best Original Score for Rocky and An Unmarried Woman , and one for Best Original Song for the title song of For Your Eyes Only . [22]

Conti also received thirteen Emmy nominations, all but one for his role as musical director at the Academy Awards (the exception, his first nomination, was for his music for the 1985 series North and South). He won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction for the 64th, 70th and 75th Academy Award ceremonies. [23]

On April 22, 2008, at the LSU Union Theatre at Louisiana State University, Conti was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. [24]

Selected discography

Related Research Articles

<i>The Karate Kid</i> 1984 American martial arts drama film

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts drama film written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. It is the first installment in the Karate Kid franchise, and stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue and Billy Zabka. The Karate Kid follows Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), a teenager taught karate by Mr. Miyagi (Morita) to help defend himself and compete in a tournament against his bullies, one of which is the ex-boyfriend (Zabka) of his love interest Ali Mills (Shue).

Michel Legrand French film score composer (1932-2019)

Michel Jean Legrand was a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist. Legrand was a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores, in addition to many songs. His scores for the films of French New Wave director Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), earned Legrand his first Academy Award nominations. Legrand won his first Oscar for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

<i>Rocky III</i> 1982 boxing film directed by Sylvester Stallone

Rocky III is a 1982 American sports drama film written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone. The third installment of the Rocky franchise, it is the sequel to the 1979 film Rocky II and the second in the franchise to be directed by Stallone. The film features returning co-stars Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire, Burt Young and Tony Burton, and also marked the feature film debuts of both Mr. T and professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

Howard Shore Canadian film score composer (born 1946)

Howard Leslie Shore is a Canadian composer and conductor noted for his film scores. He has composed the scores for over 80 films, most notably the scores for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. He won three Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings, with one being for the song "Into the West", an award he shared with Eurythmics lead vocalist Annie Lennox and writer/producer Fran Walsh, who wrote the lyrics. He is also a consistent collaborator with director David Cronenberg, having scored all but one of his films since 1979.

Thomas Newman American composer

Thomas Montgomery Newman is an American composer best known for his many film scores. In a career that has spanned over four decades, he has scored numerous classics including The Player, The Shawshank Redemption, Cinderella Man, American Beauty, The Green Mile, In the Bedroom, Angels in America, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, WALL-E, the James Bond films Skyfall, Spectre, and the war film 1917.

James Horner American composer and conductor

James Roy Horner was an American composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores. He was known for the integration of choral and electronic elements, and for his frequent use of motifs associated with Celtic music.

Leslie Bricusse is an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also cinema theme music. He is best known for writing the music and lyrics for the films Doctor Dolittle, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Scrooge, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, the songs "Goldfinger", "You Only Live Twice", "Can You Read My Mind " from Superman and "Le Jazz Hot!" with Henry Mancini from Victor/Victoria.

John Alfred Mandel was an American composer and arranger of popular songs, film music and jazz. The musicians he worked with include Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Diane Schuur and Shirley Horn. He won 5 Grammy Awards - from 17 nominations; his first nomination was for his debut film score for the multi-nominated 1958 film I Want to Live!.

George Fenton 20th and 21st-century British film composer

George Fenton is an English composer best known for his work writing film scores and music for television. His work has been recognised with five Oscar nominations, several Ivor Novello, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and BMI Awards and a Classic Brit. He has frequently collaborated with the directors Richard Attenborough, Nora Ephron, Alastair Fottergill, Stephen Frears, Terry Gilliam, Ken Loach and Andy Tennant.

<i>The Karate Kid Part II</i> 1986 American martial arts romantic drama film

The Karate Kid Part II is a 1986 American martial arts drama film written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. It is the second installment in the Karate Kid franchise and the sequel to the 1984 film The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. The Karate Kid Part II follows Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who accompanies his karate teacher Mr. Miyagi (Morita) to see his dying father in Okinawa, only to encounter an old friend-turned-rival with a long-harbored grudge against Miyagi.

The James Bond film series from Eon Productions features numerous musical compositions since its inception in 1962, many of which are now considered classic pieces of British film music. The best known of these pieces is the ubiquitous "James Bond Theme". Other instrumentals, such as the "007 Theme" or "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and various songs, such as Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger", Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die", Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better", Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only", Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" and Tina Turner's "Goldeneye" also become identified with the series. Two Bond songs have won the Academy Award for Best Original Song: "Skyfall" by Adele and "Writing's on the Wall" by Sam Smith, with the latter also becoming the first Bond theme to reach number one on the UK music charts.

Gonna Fly Now 1976 single by Bill Conti

"Gonna Fly Now", also known as "Theme from Rocky", is the theme song from the movie Rocky, composed by Bill Conti with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, and performed by DeEtta West and Nelson Pigford. Released in February 1977 with the movie Rocky, the song became part of American popular culture after main character Rocky Balboa as part of his daily training regimen runs up the 72 stone steps leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia and raises his arms in a victory pose, while the song plays. The song was written in Philadelphia. The song is often played at sporting events, especially in Philadelphia.

Jackson Whiteside Eskew Kenmore, known professionally as Jack Eskew, was an American arranger and orchestrator based in Los Angeles, California. He studied music at the University of Southern California before beginning his career in the early 1960s by touring the United States as a trumpeter with various bands, most prominently with Harry James.

Bruce Broughton is an American orchestral composer of television, film, and video game scores and concert works. He has composed several highly acclaimed soundtracks over his extensive career and has contributed many pieces to music archives. He has won ten Emmy Awards and has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. Broughton is currently a lecturer in composition at the UCLA.

<i>The Spy Who Loved Me</i> (soundtrack) 1977 soundtrack album by Marvin Hamlisch

The Spy Who Loved Me is the soundtrack for the tenth James Bond The Spy Who Loved Me. The soundtrack is one of only two Bond soundtracks to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The other score nominated was Skyfall (2012).

Glory of Love (1986 song) 1986 single by Peter Cetera

"Glory of Love" is a 1986 song performed by Peter Cetera, which he wrote and composed with his then-wife Diane Nini and David Foster. The song was recorded by Cetera shortly after he left the band Chicago to pursue a solo career. Featured in the film The Karate Kid Part II (1986), it was Cetera's first hit single after he left the band, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was included on his album Solitude/Solitaire (1986), which Michael Omartian produced.

<i>For Your Eyes Only</i> (soundtrack) 1981 soundtrack album by Bill Conti

For Your Eyes Only is the soundtrack for the 12th James Bond film of the same name.

For Your Eyes Only (song) 1981 single by Sheena Easton

"For Your Eyes Only" is the theme tune to the 12th James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, written by Bill Conti and Mike Leeson, and performed by Scottish singer Sheena Easton. The song reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number eight on the UK Singles Chart. It was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1982.

<i>The Karate Kid</i> (2010 film) 2010 film directed by Harald Zwart

The Karate Kid, known as The Kung Fu Dream in China, is a 2010 wuxia martial arts drama film directed by Harald Zwart, and part of The Karate Kid series. It stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in lead roles, and it was produced by Jerry Weintraub, James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz and Jaden's parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The plot concerns 12-year-old Dre Parker from Detroit, Michigan who moves to Beijing, China with his mother and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully Cheng. He makes an unlikely ally in the form of an aging maintenance man, Mr. Han, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defense. The screenplay by Christopher Murphey was from the story written by Robert Mark Kamen for the original The Karate Kid. Unlike the original, this remake is set in China, and, despite the movie's misleading title, features Kung Fu instead of Japanese-Okinawan Karate. The film's music was composed by James Horner. It is an international co-production between China, Hong Kong, and the United States.

<i>Rocky: Original Motion Picture Score</i> 1976 soundtrack album by Bill Conti

Rocky: Original Motion Picture Score is a soundtrack album for the 1976 film Rocky, composed by Bill Conti. It was released on vinyl in the United States on November 12, 1976, by United Artists Records, followed by a CD release by EMI Records on November 7, 1988. The soundtrack is notable for its inclusion of "Gonna Fly Now", the theme song from Rocky.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 297/8. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  2. "The Music Behind the Screen: Cue Bill Conti". Music Behind the Screen. February 24, 2014. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  3. 1 2 MacDonald, Laurence E. (2013). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. p. 324. ISBN   978-0-8108-9058-9.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. Dahlberg, Nancy (October 30, 2017). "Silver Knight Scholarship Endowment Fund launches with more than $3 million in grants". Miami Herald . Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  6. Cusimano, Clarissa (July 23, 2020). "Patty Pravo, vita, figli e amori: tutto sulla cantante nota come La Ragazza del Piper". LettoQuotidiano.it (in Italian). Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  7. Simpson, Paul (2015). Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces of 007. New York: Race Point Publishing. p. 138. ISBN   978-1-63106-000-7.
  8. Newman, Peter C. (May 30, 1983). "The Terry Fox project in black". Maclean's . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  9. Maslin, Janet (December 17, 1984). "JACK LEMMON IN 'MASS APPEAL'". The New York Times . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  10. MacDonald, Laurence E. (2013). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. p. 323. ISBN   978-0-8108-9058-9.
  11. Brode, Douglas; Brode, Shea T.; Miller, Cynthia J. (2017). The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. p. 204. ISBN   978-1-4985-6688-9.
  12. Powell, Larry; Garrett, Tom (2013). The Films of John G. Avildsen: Rocky, The Karate Kid and Other Underdogs. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 151. ISBN   978-0-7864-6692-4.
  13. Johnson, Malcolm L. (September 28, 1991). "UNNECESSARY `ROUGHNESS' IS PREDICTABLE, COLLEGE-GRIDIRON PICTURE". Hartford Courant . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  14. Powell & Garrett 2013, p. 217.
  15. Gripsrud, Jostein (2003). The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 46. ISBN   0-415-08598-5.
  16. Torres, Agnes (July 6, 1986). "COMPOSER BILL CONTI IS A MASTER OF MOVIE MUSIC". Orlando Sentinel . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  17. Horovitz, Bruce (May 21, 1991). "Killer Music Signs Big Names to Do Product Jingles". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  18. Carter, Bill (August 8, 1989). "A Ripple of Interest for 'PrimeTime Live'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  19. Lanzoni, Rémi Fournier (2015). French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 346. ISBN   978-1-5013-0307-4.
  20. "The 56th Academy Awards (1984) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  21. "COMPOSER CONTI WILL CONDUCT AT 62ND ACADEMY AWARDS". Deseret News . January 24, 1990. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  22. "Bill Conti". Golden Globe Awards . Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  23. "Awards Search". Emmys. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  24. "BILL CONTI - 2008". Louisiana Music Hall of Fame . Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  25. "Bill Conti: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 8, 2019.