From the intro titles of Edward Scissorhands to Moon River, we defy you to listen to this and not come over all goosepimply
Words Kate Simko
Photographer Euan Danks
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TRACK BY TRACK
1. Love Theme for Nata – Ennio Morricone – from Cinema Paradiso (1988)
I had to include Ennio Morricone, he’s a master of emotional film scores. The way the strings interweave at the beginning of this theme gives me goosebumps. Then the melodic theme builds until by the end we’re engulfed by piano and full orchestra belting out the love theme in epic proportions.
2. Introduction Titles – Danny Elfman – from Edward Scissorhands (1990)
This theme introduces Edward at the beginning of the film, helping us fall in love with his offbeat character. Danny Elfman has such an iconic light, playful composition style. When I watch Tim Burton films I’m always drawn in by Elfman’s music. The choir alongside the light bells and pizzicato string orchestration leaves us floating here.
3. Love Theme – Nino Rota – from The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather is one of my all-time favourite film scores. Nino Rota’s melodies evoke so much emotion and his lush orchestrations sit perfectly next to the intense drama in the film. This love theme is hauntingly beautiful.
4. Moon River – Henry Mancini (vocal Audrey Hepburn) – from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Henri Mancini is just incredible. My 15-month-old son and I probably listen to Mancini scores more than anything else! His music is so expressive. I love this arrangement, with Audrey Hepbern’s delicate vocals rounding off the understated, unforgettable love tune.
5. ‘Luke and Leia’ – John Williams – from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)
This love theme plays out after Princess Leia and Hans Solo have kissed, but now know they are siblings. So this is about family love, and going from having no one to knowing they can count on each other. It builds slowly, perhaps reflecting the progression of the relationship, ending in a lush yet understated orchestration.
6. Roxette – It Must Have Been Love – from Pretty Woman (1990)
My next five picks are love songs from movies. This one by the Swedish duo Roxette is so iconic that it’s almost impossible to hear it without seeing the imagery of Pretty Woman in your mind. When I looked this up, I discovered the track was originally a Christmas song. It was definitely a good call to edit it for this movie!
7. Curtiss Mayfield – Superfly – from Superfly (1972)
Never mind this being a movie theme – it has a life of its own and tells a full story! I have it on vinyl and used to play it in soul/funk sets. Curtiss Mayfield is such a legend, and this track was in a string of blaxploitation films in the 70s, accompanied by lots of great music.
8. Sade – No Ordinary Love – from Indecent Proposal (1993)
For me, Sade is the master of heartbreak songs. She’s the queen of cool, emanating natural beauty inside and out, just a living goddess. This song was iconic in the movie but most people know it in its own right. Timeless.
9. Berlin – Take My Breath Away – from Top Gun (1986)
This has to be one of the most iconic 80’s movie themes. Tom Cruise was the biggest heartthrob actor in Hollywood, and his character in this movie reflected the carefree, cocky vibe of the time. Another song that brings you straight back to the movie when you hear it.
10. Whitney Houston – I Have Nothing – from The Bodyguard (1992)
Few love songs have resonated with pop culture more than this one. “You break down my walls with the strength of your love” – those words empowered so many. At a time when apartheid was falling in South Africa, Houston, a black woman, was on top of the world, both on screen and in real life.