Star Wars - Main Theme (John Williams). 40 Songs for 40 Years, 1977

By the time I was five, it was clear to pretty much everyone that I had developed an unusually ardent interest in music; I was six when I got my first drumset and started taking lessons. It would take another decade before I started to have coherent musical taste of my own. At this point, I just absorbed whatever music happened to be around.

This is what I listened to when I needed to take the edge off a hard day of learning my letters and coloring.

The release of Star Wars was the first big pop culture event that I remember caring about; my friends and I spent hours with our Star Wars action figures, replaying key scenes from the movie and inventing our own stories (which had more primitive special effects but superior dialog). They also had just the right musical background, provided by the official soundtrack double LP, which I listened to obsessively.

Lots of movies aspire to being epic, but very few have the audacity to open with an actual fanfare (followed by a triumphant march, no less). John Williams’ score sets the perfect tone: bold, heroic, and memorable in a way that seems to have largely fallen out of favor. When’s the last time you heard someone hum the theme from a movie’s orchestral score?