Jerry Fielding (1922-1980) - a long pedigree in the industry
The name of Jerry Fielding doesn't readily spring to mind when asked to name famous composers of film scores, yet he is a composer with an enormous pedigree in the industry, having penned a large number of film scores from the 60s onwards. He received Oscar nominations for "The Wild Bunch", "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Straw Dogs", though unfortunately "Straw Dogs" did not have much early exposure following adverse comment about its violence. The music for this sometimes disturbing film is by turns thoughtful, dischordant and downright eerie. Jerry Fielding's background was playing and arranging for Big Bands, and his early career as a composer was creating this style of music for his Jerry Fielding orchestra to perform for radio and television shows. He created music for Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" and on TV he even hosted his own "Jerry Fielding Show" in 1952.
One of his best remembered soundtracks is "The Wild Bunch" for director Sam Packinpah. Without going way over the top, as some composers may be tempted, he produced a score for this with subtlety and atmosphere, depicting the wildness and the loneliness of the situation on the American-Mexican frontier, gently building tension when required.
Fielding stood in for Lalo Schifrin on "The Enforcer", the 3rd in the Dirty Harry series, and was to work with Clint Eastwood again on "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (winning another Oscar nomination), then on "The Gauntlet" with Lennie Niehaus (Eastwood's favourite composer) and "Escape from Alcatraz".
Films by Jerry Fielding:
- The Wild Bunch - virtually a cult movie, with subtle Mexican atmosphere (and touches of guitar and harmonica) amid much lawless violence
- Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?
- Chato's Land
- The Mechanic - now remade with the remake scored by Mark Isham
- Junior Bonner
- The Outfit
- Scorpio - spy thriller with Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon
- The Gambler
- The Outlaw Jose Wales - oscar nominated
- The Enforcer - 3rd in the Dirty Harry series, mostly scored by Lalo Schifrin
- Straw Dogs - oscar nominated
- The Demon Seed
- The Gauntlet
- The Big Sleep
- Beyond the Poseidon Adventure
- Escape from Alcatraz
TV music by Jerry Fielding:
- The Jerry Fielding Show - hosting this musical show as bandleader
- You Bet Your Life - first on radio and then on TV
- The Betty Hutton Show - theme and some episodes
- The Tom Ewell Show
- The Lively Ones
- Shane - the TV series of the popular western hero
- Tarzan - abother popular hero on TV
- He & She
- Star Trek - two episodes of the original TV series: "Spectre of the Gun" as additional composer and full composer credit for the famous "The Trouble with Tribbles"
- The Queen and I
- Mission Impossible - several episodes of the series famous for its theme by Lalo Schifrin
- The Good Guys
- Hunters are for Killing - TV Movie
- The Tom Conway Show
- The Governor & J.J.
- Hogan's Heroes - theme and many episodes
- The Chicago Teddy Bears
- The Brian Keith Show
- Bridget Loves Bernie
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker
- McMillan and Wife
- On the Rocks
- The Andros Targets
- The Bionic Woman - theme and several of the episodes, with the theme for the Six Million Dollar Man by Oliver Nelson
Jerry Fielding recommendations:
Many Jerry Fielding soundtracks are quite rare, but check availability and prices of the following albums using these links: