Pop Goes the Soundtrack

Image for Pop Goes the SoundtrackNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

Composer Neil Brand explores how in the second half of the 20th century, composers and film-makers embraced jazz, pop and rock to bring fresh energy and relevance to film scores.

He shows how in the 1960s, films as diverse as the James Bond movies, Italy's spaghetti westerns and Disney's musicals drew on the talents of pop arrangers and composers like John Barry, Ennio Morricone and the Sherman Brothers to create unforgettable soundtracks. But the role of the film composer would subsequently be challenged by directors like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, who showed that a soundtrack consisting of carefully chosen pop songs could be as effective as a specially written one.

Neil's journey sees him meet leading film-makers and composers including Martin Scorsese and composers Richard Sherman (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book), Lalo Schifrin (Bullitt) and David Arnold (Casino Royale).

Music Played

9 items


Series Producer
John Das
Francis Welch
Neil Brand
Executive Producer
Michael Poole
Martin Scorsese
David Arnold
Francis Welch
Richard M Sherman
Lalo Schifrin


Sound of Cinema season

Sound of Cinema season

A season of radio and TV programmes dedicated to the soundtracks of the big screen.

Meeting the composers: Read the blog post

Hans Zimmer

'I’m greeted by a series of epic, thundering chords'

Some film music pictures chosen by Neil Brand

Film music pictures chosen by Neil Brand

We let Neil loose in the BBC's picture library for a few hours.

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