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My tastes are eclectic, so why recommend The Eagles Greatest Hits when you know about that already?

You've heard you're not supposed to notice film music. But why not? If I mention JAWS, you think of the "Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum" music of John Williams. Does that make the music (or the movie) bad? Just the opposite. But there's always some snob who has to put something down. Film music is to "legitimate" concert music what illustration art is to "legitimate" gallery painting: a barely tolerated, artistically lame cousin.

But is this assertion true? Nope.

My love of orchestral music lead me to major in music for two years in college, from theory to orchestration (and a short stint as a choir leader at a small Baptist church in Burbank). But it wasn't always Dvorak and Ravel for me. As a kid, I fell in love with film music. How could I not? The themes for Perry Mason and Ben Casey still thrill. The incidental music for Batman and Gilligan's Island still tickle. I well recall the two scores that stood out first: John Barry's Zulu and Bernard Herrmann's Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (both thanks to TV). So many terrific movie scores (not to mention TV music by Lalo Schiffrin, Hank Mancini, Fred Steiner, Vic Mizzy, Earl Hagen, and Williams, Barry, and Herrmann)!

Trust me, if you venture into the sonorous worlds of Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith, Maurice Jarre, and the Newman clan (and newer talents like Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Alan Silvestri, and Michael Kamen, RIP), you won't be disappointed.

Below are a couple of entrepreneurial companies that actually specialize in this delicious music. They don't just release (or re-release) movie music. They do for film music what AAA is trying to do for illustration: preserve. The two featured scores below have never seen vinyl, tape, or CD before until these companies brought them to life. Click on the images to visit their entire catalogs.

Percepto Records

If it wasn't for Percepto Records, one of my favorite scores wouldn't be in my hands today! Not only does Mizzy have perfect comic timing, but his spooky music is genuienly blood stopping! Check out the whole Percepto catalog!

Film Score Monthly

A CD named after a fanzine? FSM started as a cheap (but good) monthly by a college student. When he arrived in Los Angeles he upped the fanzine to a glossy color magazine and got the rights to release rare movie soundtracks! Frankly, John Barry's first western, Monte Walsh is even better than his more famous Dances With Wolves.