The 1960s was a turning point for the motion picture industry. An abundance of classic films was released during this decade. Many of them had successful soundtracks which reached the charts. Throughout this decade it was not uncommon for hit films to have tie-in soundtrack releases. These records usually came out on vinyl LPs.
James Bond Series
This movie franchise began in the ’60s and has continued to this day. Monty Norman and John Barry contributed to the iconic soundtracks of the James Bond films. Each instalment has its own theme tune which is played during the opening credits. Some of the most popular Bond themes from the ’60s include Goldfinger, From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice.
West Side Story
The story of Romeo and Juliet is updated and transported to New York in this 1961 musical. It focuses on two rival gangs called the Sharks and the Jets. Song and dance are used to represent their conflict. The musical numbers proved to be a hit with the public. This is especially true for the song America, which is now regarded as a classic.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The theme tune for this iconic western has become an essential piece of American culture. Ennio Morricone composed it and utilised noises such as gunshots, yodelling, whistles and howling. A guitar also appears during the crescendo. Today the theme is as famous as the movie itself. When the soundtrack album was released, it remained in the music charts for more than a year.
The Great Escape
The Great Escape is a war film depicting a real-life escape attempt from a German POW camp. The soundtrack was composed by Elmer Bernstein and featured tuneful whistling. The central theme has appeared in a range of media over the years. This has included TV shows such The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and Goodness Gracious Me, as well as the movies Chicken Run, Charlie’s Angels and The Parent Trap.
Few pieces of film music are as iconic or recognisable as the string section in Psycho. It was used in the infamous shower murder scene to create a very memorable horror sequence. Bernard Herrmann utilised screeching violins and cellos to unnerve and shock the audience. It helped to intensify the already shocking scene. Film composers today still try to replicate the effect of Herrmann’s Psycho soundtrack.
This is another 1960’s horror film which contained an impressive soundtrack. The lead actress Mia Farrow hums the haunting theme at the start and end of the movie. It is a strange and somewhat creepy lullaby that puts the viewer on edge. Years later, the same song was used to scare theatregoers watching the horror play Ghost Stories.