Tag Archives: John Williams

Darth Vader Theme Song

I can’t believe I only thought of this now. The Star Wars franchise has a lot of themes, especially for its characters, but possibly the one with the most recall is Darth Vader’s theme. After all, it screams menace and evil.

So after this expect to see all Star Wars-related themes posted here.

Anyway, Darth Vader’s theme is an actual song entitled “Imperial March”. Some officially refer to it as “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”. It was composed of course by legendary composer—and composer of all Star Wars music—John Williams.

In orchestral mumbo jumbo, the song is what they would refer to as a leitmotif—a recurrent theme associated with characters or events.

The song’s first appearance is in The Empire Strikes Back (V), in piccolos (instrument), when the Galactic Empire sent probe droids in search of Luke Skywalker. Its major entrance is of course on Darth Vader’s first appearance in the film.

In Return of the Jedi, it was also played for the arrival of Emperor Palpatine on the Death Star, but it segued in the Emperor’s own theme.

It also had minor appearances in the prequel trilogy, most often when hinting about Anakin’s future as Darth Vader. However, Anakin has his own theme.

The song is available in multiple recordings—interpretations by other artists and original John Williams performances—but more importantly, it is part of the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Below is how it sounds like in the soundtrack album.

Home Alone Theme Song

1990

Hey, hey, hey!

Hey, so Merry Christmas everybody! As I write this it is already the 26th of December, but I realize it is still Christmas to some of you. So hey, from me and all of us here at Theme Songs, we wish you the merriest, and we wish you the best in the coming year.

So I guess it only makes sense to post a Christmas-themed theme song, so let’s start with one of my favorite (there are only a handful) Christmas films, Home Alone. Yes, that Macaulay Culkin film.

And yes, it has a theme song. Listen to it below and surely you will associate it with the movie. The song, as with almost all of the songs in the film, was composed by John Williams. In the official soundtrack—Home Alone: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Music Composed & Conducted by John Williams)—it is entitled “Main Title from Home Alone (‘Somewhere in My Memory’)”. The song segues to “Somewhere in My Memory” sung by a children’s choir.

It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 63rd Academy Awards (1990), but lost to the song from Dick Tracy.

So here you go, the theme song from Home Alone.

Harry Potter Theme Song

Having a single, all-out theme song for the Harry Potter series of films is, I think, impossible. After all, each film has its own soundtrack—making the official soundtrack count eight. Yes, there are 8 official soundtracks, 1 for each film. There are seven books, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, the last book, is split into two parts.

However, if you ask me, and I think many would agree, there is a single standout recurring tune in the Harry Potter movies. The song is “Hedwig’s Theme” from the first soundtrack—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was composed by John Williams, performed by Isobel Griffiths, and orchestrated by Conrad Pope (more on that later).

Listen to the song below and tell me if its the song you had in mind.

Update

I just found out that Hedwig’s Theme is a leitmotif. What that means is it is a recurring theme—it is a musical term. So I guess then, that it is really the one associated in Harry Potter. Besides, the song, or bits of the song, is also heard in the succeeding films.

The Soundtracks

Just in case you are interested, the film series has 8 unique soundtracks—one for each film. The soundtracks are widely available.

The songs from the first three discs—Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone), Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban—were all composed by John Williams. The fourth disc, Goblet of Fire was composed by Peter Doyle. The 5th and 6th discs, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, were composed by Nicholas Cooper. The seventh, Deathly Hallows: Part 1, by Alexandre Desplat, and the last still TBC.

See each soundtrack below.

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (contains original Hedwig’s Theme)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Enhanced)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (pending)

Awards & Nominations

  • Philosopher’s Stone’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Original Music Score at the 74th Academy Awards but lost to The Lord of the Rings.
  • Chamber of Secret’s soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy in 2003.

More on this later.

Gilligan’s Island Theme Song

What we have here for the theme song of the television series, Gilligan’s Island, are three different and distinct versions. We have a Calypso version for the pilot episode, a different version for the post-pilot first season, and another version for the second and third seasons. We’ll first talk about the second and third versions since this is what most people are familiar with.

The theme song for Gilligan’s Island is aptly titled, “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle.”

First season version

This version of the song was written by show producer Sherwood Schwartz, with George Wyle. The first year’s version was sung by The Wellingtons, featuring Les Brown Jr. (son of Big Band Leader Les Brown and his Reknowns), who later became a guest in one of the first season’s episodes as “Bingo.”

Later version

There are two claims to who sung this version, one by a group called The Eligibles, and one by someone named Gerald Fried. I do not know which is correct, but Gerald Fried was not part of The Eligibles. The song had a fuller, more stereo sound, did not use the hula instrument, but used more of other instruments to create a sort of orchestral sound.

Lyrics for first season and later versions

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny Ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour.

A three hour tour. (sound of thunder)

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Minnow would be lost.

The Minnow would be lost.

The ship’s aground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan, the Skipper too,
The Millionaire and his wife,
A movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle!

So this is the tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long, long time
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In their tropic island nest.

No phone! No light! No motor car!
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson C-ru-soe, it’s primitive as can be.
So join us here each week my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castways,
Here on “Gilligan’s Isle.”

Calypso-pilot version

This was the song used from when the original pilot. It had a Calypso theme to it and was a lot longer. Although not credited, the Calypso-themed song was sung by John Williams. This pilot episode was not broadcast due to casting changes.

Lyrics for the Calypso version

In tropical sea is the tropic port,
Vacation fun is the favorite sport,
This is the place where the tourists flock,
Renting the boats at the busy dock.
Two secretaries from U.S.A.
Sail on the Minnow this lovely day.
A high school teacher is next aboard;
All taking trip that they cannot afford.

The next two people are millionaires;
They got no worries, they got no cares.
They climb aboard, and they step inside,
With just enough bags for a 6-hour ride.

Tourists come, tourists go;
Tourists touring to and fro.
These five nice tourists, they take this trip,
Relaxing on deck on this little ship.

The weather is clear, and the sun is hot (sound of thunder)
The weather is clear? I think it is not!
Tourists come, tourists go;
Tourists tossing to and fro.

The captain is brave (Aye, carumba! What a storm!).
The captain is brave, he’s a fearless man,
And Gilligan help him all that he can.
The wheel, she break, and lose all control;
S.S. Minnow do the rock-and-roll!

The sea is now calm, and the weather grand;
There is the Minnow upon the sand.
What happen now, will give you a smile:
The adventures of Gilligan… and the skipper…
And the millionaire… And Mrs. Millionaire…
And the other tourists… on Gilligan’s Isle!

We leave all our friends on this tropic shore,
Perhaps they will be here, forevermore.
Maybe a rescue will set them free?
Tune in next week, and then you will see!