I have theme music. No, really. I often have music playing in my head as I walk around. While I do things. Cleaning the garage, walking through an airport terminal, mowing the lawn, playing hockey…there’s often a soundtrack accompanying me as I go about my business. (It’s actually more of a “score” but you get the idea.) The great news is that YOU can have the SAME SOUNDTRACK! Primarily because the score I use comes from motion pictures, and it’s a sincere compliment to the composers themselves that these little instrumental gems have lodged themselves so firmly in my subconscious. This is also a great peek into the inner machinery of my head, a place that most people would find unfathomable. Yes, it’s absolutely true: if you see me walking through the mall any given day, chances are that one of these tunes is churning along in my noggin.
I’ll start with my number-one piece of go-to all-around-awesome music. It’s from the incredible soundtrack to the equally incredible 80’s flick “Beverly Hills Cop.” The shocking twist? It’s NOT the most recognizable piece, “Axel F” by composer Harold Faltermeyer. The main theme is compelling, even if it is completely ripped-off from Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.” (Rumor has it that the studio wanted Herbie’s song, but he wouldn’t grant the rights. The producers thus hired Faltermeyer to write a theme that ‘sounds like Hancock.’) Anyway, this one is hard to find, as it was left off the original motion picture soundtrack released for sale. It’s known as “Shootout” and features bits of the main Axel F theme. It’s a great all-around life accompaniment, starting around 1:11 in. Enjoy.
Next up is another Harold Faltermeyer masterpiece. It’s a little more subtle, and also more synthed-out. (Hand-claps like a MUHFUH!!) I give you the main theme from another great 80’s movie. It’s “Fletch.”
The Fletch theme is a bit darker than the “Cop” movies, and I think that’s by design. The filmmakers were going for a more sleuthy, sneaky sort of sound, one that matched the playful-yet-dangerous theme of the movie. But when I need something a bit more sinister or mysterious, I go with our next selection. Again, it’s not the main theme from the featured soundtrack, but it’s my favorite in terms of mood. It’s tension, drama, and a hint of menace. This one would be right at home in an Agatha Christie story, but for some reason I employ it when I’m walking through the airport. It’s good walking through the airport music. I don’t know why. From John Ottman’s wonderful, classic soundtrack to “The Usual Suspects” it’s a piece called “New York’s Finest.” Enjoy.
This one here, though. This one is your go-to action/adventure theme. Hell, this gets stuck in my head when I visit the rainforest exhibit at the zoo or when I pull up in front of Menards.
Yes, I’m talking about the theme from “Jurassic Park.” Technically, it’s not the ‘main theme’ but a track called ‘Journey to the Island.’ You hear the hook a few times throughout the flick, but it’s first experienced as the helicopter descends to the landing pad near the end of the first act. The entire soundtrack is superb, as you’d expect from John Williams. It’s pastoral, majestic, frightening…but it’s the anthemic part of this track (starting around the 1:21 mark) that makes your heart start thumping.
Last, but not least, is an obscure favorite. It sounds to me like a mash-up between the Jurassic Park music and the Usual Suspects. It’s by the incredible Michael Giacchino, who is prolific and diverse. I’ve sung his praises in the past, and the man’s catalog spans everything form “The Incredibles” and “Up” to the JJ Abrams “Star Trek” reboots. But this score was the one where he cut his teeth, drawing the inevitable comparisons to John Williams. It was a video game on the original Playstation called “Medal of Honor” and both the game itself and the well-thought-out soundtrack were awesome. The follow-up MoH titles “Underground” and then “Frontline” also featured brilliant Giacchino compositions, but this one right here is hard to top.
There you go. Some theme music for your daily life. There are surely others, and I welcome suggestions! Leave a comment below and tell me what you putter around to. (As long as it’s not disco. Please, no disco. Unless it’s like Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ or something.)