Blockbusters' greatest hits

A timeline of the blockbuster music with the biggest bite since 'Jaws.'

 
1975
"Jaws"
Composer: John Williams
The original summer blockbuster; Williams won an Oscar for his score and a Grammy for his album re-recording, beginning a history of specially tailored movie-score album presentations.

1976
"The Omen"
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Goldsmith won his only Oscar for this horror score that had everyone chanting in Latin.

1977
"Star Wars"
Composer: John Williams
Williams supercharged his symphonic style with the London Symphony Orchestra and officially became "Mr. Blockbuster."

1980
"The Empire Strikes Back"
Composer: John Williams
Williams created an elaborate package for his second "Star Wars" score, with album treatments of Yoda's Theme and the Imperial March.

1981
"Raiders of the Lost Ark"
Composer: John Williams
Williams. Again. This time he launches a new franchise with a rousing, horn-laden theme that transcends the film's Saturday matinee spirit.

1982
"E.T. -- The Extraterrestrial"
Composer: John Williams
Another Steven Spielberg blockbuster. This time Williams trades in thrills and chills for sentiment and wonder.

 
1984
"Beverly Hills Cop"
Composers: Harold Faltermeyer, et al.
Faltermeyer's "Axel F" theme became the anthem for fun-loving cops who don't play by the rules, and Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On" (co-written by Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey) became the latest '80s hit with the word "heat" in the title.

1985
"Rambo: First Blood Part II"
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Sylvester Stallone's muscle-bound career pinnacle benefited from Goldsmith's "action cheerleader" scoring.

1985
"Back to the Future"
Composer: Alan Silvestri, et al.
Silvestri made an explosive, big movie debut with his popular "BTTF" theme, but that was the only part of the score to make it into the album of pop hits by Huey Lewis and the News and others (Silvestri's score was finally released by Intrada Records in 2009).

1986
"Aliens"
Composer: James Horner
Horner's anvil-driven action music from this James Cameron smash became ubiquitous in movie trailers and temp music tracks for years after the picture's release.

1986
"Top Gun"
Composer: Harold Faltermeyer, et al.
Faltermeyer (with Steve Stevens) nailed the patriotic synth-pop anthem for Tom Cruise and his flyboys, but Kenny Loggins ("Danger Zone"), Cheap Trick and others stole the spotlight.

 
1987
"RoboCop"
Composer: Basil Poledouris
Poledouris provided a surprising human dimension -- albeit a dark one -- to Paul Verhoeven's bloody, satirical action romp.

1989
"Batman"
Composer: Danny Elfman
Songwriter: Prince
Elfman shaped the sound of comic book films forever with his massive, dark-humored symphonic score, but Prince's song contributions got so much press some critics thought His Royal Badness wrote the score.

1994
"Forrest Gump"
Composer: Alan Silvestri, et al.
Silvestri's touching piano theme defined the character, but a fat collection of period songs drove album sales.

1993
"Jurassic Park"
Composer: John Williams
Williams took on yet another franchise, curiously choosing to score optimism and grandeur rather than the terror of a park filled with dinosaurs.

 
1999
"The Matrix"
Composer: Don Davis
Pulsating post-modern orchestral music provided the throbbing background to the Wachowskis' seminal kung fu/sci-fi epic

1999
"Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace"
Composer: John Williams
Like it or not, George Lucas' return to the "Star Wars" universe proved the audience was there for the prequels, and Williams got the opportunity to complete his space fantasy opera.

2000
"Gladiator"
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Zimmer's world music approach to Ridley Scott's Roman epic made wailing women and duduks the order of the day for a decade.

2002
"The Bourne Identity"
Composer: John Powell
Powell's mix of rock, trance, world music vibes and pounding percussion redefined spy movie music for good.

2006
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Zimmer unleashed the Kraken with his massively swashbuckling second effort for Captain Jack Sparrow.

2008
"The Dark Knight"
Composers: Hans Zimmer and James Newton-Howard
The pairing of Zimmer and Newton-Howard marked one of the biggest film scoring collaborations since Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman on "The Egyptian."

 
2008
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
Composer: John Williams
The famous archaeologist's return after almost two decades didn't please everyone, but it did show Williams is still a master of the medium.

2009
"Star Trek"
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Giacchino fashioned an appropriately different feel for this franchise reboot, boldly choosing to focus on character over space spectacle.
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