by Alex Misiti
If you were to ask someone who their favorite film composer is, there are generally only a handful of names you’ll hear. John Williams, Hanz Zimmer, and Danny Elfman will probably pop up. For me, it’s Randy Edelman. Who’s that you may ask? Randy is a film score composer who started his career doing solo vocal albums. He is an expert piano player and has written some of the most beautiful and catchy songs I have ever heard. He has done the soundtracks to dozens of films, including Dragonheart (1996), Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Kindergarten Cop (1990), and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (1998). Edelman even did the soundtrack for the TV show MacGuyver (1985-1992). While his films aren’t considered the greatest movies ever made, he created some of the best scores I’ve ever heard. What makes Edelman stand out his that he gives 110% to each score he does. While someone like John Williams has done memorable scores including the theme to Star Wars and Indiana Jones, he’s done his fair share of forgettable scores, like Warhorse or Lincoln. Edelman on the other hand hasn’t done one score I find forgettable. Each is varied and able to capture the emotions of any scene.
My love all started for Edelman late one night when I was watching television. An old Tim Allen movie called For Richer or Poorer (1997) was on. I had never seen it, but I love me some Tim Allen, so I decided to watch it! It was a comedy about how he and his wife, played by Kirstie Alley, live with Amish people to escape prosecution for a crime they where framed for. While not exactly the funniest movie I had ever seen, one thing stood out to me: the music. It had a great score and I found myself watching the credits a few times just to hear it more. After the names of all the crew members passed, I saw who did the score: Randy Edelman.
As a film major, I love movie soundtracks and Randy Edelman was a name I was aware of, but not familiar with. I little research discovered that he had done some other soundtracks that I loved. Two of my favorites where the theme to Dragonheart and to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. These two themes are also some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, with “To the Stars” from Dragonheart bringing me to tears each time I hear it.
“To the Stars”
“Bruce and Linda”
Randy Edelman was responsible for some of my favorite soundtracks and I had never even noticed! Angels in the Outfield (1994), Beethoven (1992), Indian in the Cupboard (1995), Gettysburg (1993), My Cousin Vinny (1992), and Twins (1998), all done by Edelman! He even did the wonderful theme to “NFL on NBC’, and I don’t even like football!
“NFL on NBC Theme (1995-1997)”
I had to find more. I went to YouTube and put “Randy Edelman” in the search. What came up wasn’t a movie score though. Instead, it was a vocal song call “Pistol Packin Melody”. I wasn’t sure if this was Randy Edelman “the film composer”, so I decided to click on. It was indeed him and I was in for a pleasant surprise.
(The song was taken off YouTube, but I found it on another video site)
“Pistol Packin Melody”
This song was really catchy! I had no idea that Edelman had a music career outside of film. I went in search for more and was surprised to find that Edelman had a singer/songwriting career in the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve listened to almost all of his vocal songs and some of my favorites are…
His cover of “Concrete and Clay”
“Don’t Let Go of Me”
“Uptown Uptempo Woman”
And “Nobody Made Me”
From 1972 to 1985 he did eight albums, but sadly, most where only released on vinyl record and are pretty hard to find now a days. In 2011, after 26 years, he took a break from film scores and returned to do another vocal album called “The Pacific Flow to Abbey Road”. Edelman hadn’t lost a single beat and his latest album can be heard on Spotify.
I now consider myself a huge Randy Edelman’s fan. I own eight of his nine vocal albums on vinyl record, with his 1985 album “On Time” autographed. What makes me sad though is that he is so underrated. Scoring mostly family films, most people overlooked his music because they overlooked the films. For his vocal career, he put it on hold right before the dawn of digital music, so most of his songs can’t be heard anywhere online and you’ll never find a Randy Edelman vocal CD in your nearby record store. It’s such a shame because he is such a huge talent and I have fallen in love with his music.
Randy Edelman has become my favorite film composer and musician. All of his music is catchy and the lyrics in his vocal work I can relate too. I highly recommend anyone who likes music to check out Randy Edelman. If you enjoyed any of the music I linked above, then you already know what a genius he is.
Please check out his website for more information:
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