Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ron Goodwin - Composer

Ron Goodwin ( Feb. 17, 1925 - January 8, 2003 ) 

Ron Goodwin was a prolific composer who scored over 60 feature films throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He got his start in the industry in the mid-1940s arranging music for popular British artists of the day such as Ted Heath, Geraldo, and the BBC orchestra, but within five years switched to conducting orchestras for recording companies such as Polygon Records. Later, he worked with George Martin at Parlophone Records where he was kept busy arranging and conducting music for over 300 recordings, including a series of Peter Sellers LPS and Goodwin's own music, released under the Ron Goodwin and His Concert Orchestra name. 

It was during the 1960s that Goodwin became the top-notch film composer that we know of today when he began work with MGM British film studios, scoring it big with the jaunty titular tune to Murder She Said ( 1961 ) and his excellent 633 Squadron ( 1964 ) theme. During the early 1970s Goodwin joined with the Walt Disney Studios and composed the themes to many of their British productions. 

For over thirty years, Ron Goodwin also toured the world performing film and popular music in concerts to vast crowds of enthusiastic listeners. 

Signature Style

Mr.Goodwin often arranged trumpets with string but his unique stamp is most probably his rousing war film themes, which utilized plenty of horns and his spunky "old English lady" music, which could be heard in the Miss Marple themes and The Alphabet Murders

The Noteworthy Five

Whirlpool ( 1958 ) - One of Goodwin's first film scores and such a lovely score this is.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde ( 1960 ) - A powerful and yet gentle theme wrapped into one. The clashing cymbals offset the beautiful strains of the strings.  

Murder, She Said ( 1961 ) - Simply unforgettable. A truly unique piece of music to fit a truly unique series of mystery films. 

633 Squadron ( 1964 ) - The famous six-beat three-beat theme, played on french horns. 

Where Eagles Dare ( 1968 ) - An epic score to match an epic adventure film. 

Highlights of his Discography

  • The Trials of Oscar Wilde ( 1960 )
  • Village of the Damned ( 1960 ) 
  • The Day of the Triffids ( 1963 )
  • Of Human Bondage ( 1964 ) 
  • Operation Crossbow ( 1965 ) 
  • The Alphabet Murders ( 1965 ) 
  • The Battle of Britain ( 1969 )
  • Frenzy ( 1970 )
  • One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing ( 1975 )
  • The Littlest Horse Thieves ( 1976 ) 
  • Candleshoe ( 1977 ) 


  1. Nice! I have always been fond of the Where Eagles Dare music, and own 633 Squadron as well. I recently watched Battle of Britain, and even though he wasn't listed in the credits, I hit some music in the film and knew it had to be Ron Goodwin. That signature style of his was unmistakeable. I looked it up afterwards, and yes, he had composed some extra music for the film.

    1. Oh dear, see now we didn't do our research there... I just *assumed* that Goodwin did The Battle of Britain and as Benny Hill once said, "Never assume anything because it makes..." well, we won't get into that. Goodwin really did have a signature sound that is easily recognizable but darn - I'm not good at putting sounds down into words. You have to listen to his One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing theme....very catchy!

  2. When I'm feeling a little low I know that listening to "Murder She Said" will lift my spirits. It makes a grey day feel sunny.