Although born in the US, Bill Conti's film music career started in Italy before he returned to work in the American film industry. Conti is an accomplished composer who has a well-deserved reputation for serving up exciting scores which easily span the boundaries between traditional classical film scores and contemporary rock music. The best example of this bridge is in music for Rocky and its sequels, but the scores for other films such as The Karate Kid and For Your Eyes Only also demonstrate the same effortless fusion. "Rocky" is a particularly good example to demonstrate the economy in Conti's use of thematic material. The familar main title seems to contain all the thematic elements, and most of the soundtrack seems to spring from there with deceptive ease. This is despite the fact that other tracks are so varied in nature, ranging from the boxing fanfare through classical contrapuntal cues to the songs.
With this background it is no surprise that Conti has penned several songs for movies, and has been called upon to write the theme music for several well-known TV series. In all cases he has delivered the goods in his own inimitable and exciting style. One of his most recent films is the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Pierce Brosnan in the title role, whose original Steve McQueen version used "The Windmills of your mind" by Michel Legrand. Conti's soundtrack is full of fun with prominent piano part and inventive orchestration (including tap-dancing percussion) during the cat & mouse chase. He introduces Jazz, Latin and Caribbean numbers with relaxed ease and treats us to a number of different versions and hints of the "Windmills" theme
Conti won an oscar for his inspirational soundtrack to "The Right Stuff". While composers like Elmer Bernstein have also acted as musical director and arranger for the awards ceremony, Conti seemed to hold that post for most of the 90s. Look out for Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky which contains sheet music for all the best themes from the Rocky movies, for Piano, Vocal and Guitar Chords.
Bill Conti has provided the theme music for many noteable television series, including Dynasty, The Colby's, Falcon Crest and Cagney and Lacey. His music has also appeared frequently in many other one-off programmes or series.
There are sheet music arrangements of most of his TV themes.
For a while it was difficult to find CDs dedicated to Bill Conti's film music, but his better known soundtracks are now well covered and you'll find songs and themes on many compilation albums. Here for example you will find the original soundtrack to "For Your Eyes Only" at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, and the original Rocky film at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Here are some CD covers signed by Bill Conti. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click any of the thumbnails below to see a full size version of the image in a separate window.