View Full Version : True and Classic Aviation Music

Spitfire PRXIX
7th Dec 2003, 05:36
I am wondering what all you lot out there class as proper aviation related music, there are the classics like;

633 Squadron
The Dambusters
RAF March Past

And then you have things like;

Danny Boy

What does everyone like and who is the piece of music by? AND most of all Why do you like the particular piece of music?

7th Dec 2003, 07:01
"Skyliner", recorded by Charlie Barnett and many others around 1940, is aviation music IMO. It reminds of a romantic era of air travel. The DC-3s were reliable and reasonably safe, and air travel was still mostly for the few.

7th Dec 2003, 07:20
Agree on 633 sqn (just watched it) plus Coates' Dambusters and the march. For my money, though, Ron Goodwin excelled 633 with his rushed score for the Battle of Britain. This was commissioned after Sir William Walton delivered a score which producers/director deemed too short.

Walton's "Battle in the Air" movement is only bit of his score which survives in the film (plus final triumphal march in some prints) and "Battle..." is the definitive piece of aviation music for me. The rest of the score, if you can get hold on it, is also pretty powerful. Would love to have seen some of the dogfight scenes done to Walton's ballet/dance music.

For a piece of music completely in tune with the essence of flight, may I recommend Gerry Goldsmith's title theme for TV's Star Trek Voyager. Forget any prejudices about Trekkie anoraks et al. Just watch the titles and feel the ship move to the music. (7 of 9 has nothing to do with this and I always turn off when titles finish - honest!)

7th Dec 2003, 08:24
To update the star trek line, try "Faith of the Heart" from the series "Enterprise". Sadly the interesting aviation/space footage in the background seems to indicate the goobers pioneered and invented everything that has (or will) fly...

Theme from the "Thunderbirds".

"Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines."

Definitely not the p1ssweak "Danger Zone" from "Topgun."

Spitfire PRXIX
7th Dec 2003, 23:00
I gree with Danger Zone, it is far too week and cheesy, however the Top Gun Anthem is marginly better!

You want it when?
8th Dec 2003, 02:50
Agree on 633 Sqdn, and Thunderbirds. But damm I will have to get a new record deck for Christmas (Dear Santa) - RAF 50th Annerversary on viynl, loads of great stuff.

May I add to the list;

Bring back my bomber to me...
Dambusters March

And much better than "Danger Zone" - Steppan Wolf "Born to Be Wild"

Any votes for the Irish Rovers - "Snoopy and the Red Baron"? OK I'll get my coat.

8th Dec 2003, 04:24
There are romantic ones and stirring ones, and I would not disagree with any of the above. My personal favourite, also by Ron Goodwin and from the "Battle of Britain" score, is "Aces High". Slightly disappointed that it was chosen to soundtrack the Luftwaffe sequences!

8th Dec 2003, 15:58
I like the start to "Catch 22"... Just a few birds calling, the dawn flooding the sky, then the cough, splutter, wheeze, clank, cough of a B-25 starting up... now THAT's music!

Agree with Battle in the Air! Nothing better in my view...

Iron City
8th Dec 2003, 21:52
"Ride of the Valkyres" from movie "Apocolypse Now" as the Air Cav attacks the village. I suppose helos qualify as aircraft (broadly defined)

Dr Jekyll
9th Dec 2003, 00:43
Considering the music played during the opening sequence of Top Gun. Does anyone else think it seems to have been er, influenced, by the BBC Grand Prix opening sequence with the Fleetwood Mac piece "The Chain"?

9th Dec 2003, 03:41
Don`t know if it really counts as aviation music, but the shuttle/space station docking sequence in "2001" to the strains of "The Blue Danube" worked well.

Windy Militant
9th Dec 2003, 05:38
Don't know what it's called but the theme and incidental music from "Strategic air command" which had Jimmy Stewart co starring to B 29's,36's and 47's. Despite the gung ho cold war message there's some truly wonderful aerial photography which the music compliments perfectly.

Another perfect fit was the Skyhawks (I think) Glider display team and Pink Floyds "Shine on you crazy diamond part one" etherial music and graceful flying.

9th Dec 2003, 08:48
Recently came accross a CD in a local music store called "Military Bands play War Movie Themes".It has most of the aforementioned music,ie. quite a lot from the Battle of Britian, Mash, 633Sqd, Dambusters, River Kwie,and several others.
If you like good brass band music, this is tops.
Will try to remember to get the proper name and a number and post it

9th Dec 2003, 09:50
The theme fron "The High And The Mighty" was pretty good.

You'll need to have your speakers open for this short musical piece, but it's worth the effort.
douglasdc3.com/ ;)

9th Dec 2003, 10:37
Must mention The Final Countdown 1980-something, I think. Neat little mix of time-travel science fiction and USN bigtime hardware. Starred Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, USS Nimitz and excellent photography, particularly the air-to-air of Tomcats.

Score by one John Scott - a bit Ron Goodwin-derivative, but still powerful nevertheless. Scenes with the 'Cats playing hide-and-seek in clouds, with main theme playing, was far better than anything in Top Gun .

Treadigraph - totally agree on Catch 22. You hear what you think are odd, out of time drums as the camera pulls in over the sunrise. The beats quicken and then suddenly cut to bluddy great radial turning over. (There follows one of the longest, most complex, single-take sequences in film: B-25s taxying, turning, taking off, Yossarian talking in tower, walking out and getting stabbed with the shadow of moving B-25 falling over him at exactly the right moment) Brilliant.

Small, bijou poserette question: What do Catch 22 , The Hill and Fail Safe have in common?

9th Dec 2003, 14:54
Hmmm... good question. Time to visit IMDB...

9th Dec 2003, 16:54
Much appreciated this stroll down amnesia lane.

Picked up a 'War Movie Themes' CD some years ago, with all the afore-mentioned on it. Partly puter-rendered but still matches up with the scores on my B.o.B copy.
Have to agree with the 'Mosquito Sqn' comment.. absolutely abyssmal.

Here's one for you.

Early 80s (?) doco following a pilot intake, 'Fighter Pilot', from Cranwell to Valley, had a succinctly period flavour to the music, synthesisers. Still, a sharp melody, evoked the youthful vigour and enthusiasm of this group's new direction and fitted in well with the from-the-cockpit sequences of the FTS Hawks.
Was it composed specifically for the programme or one of myriad stock tunes used in broadcasting?

633 film score still sends shivers up the spine :ok:

Serial English TV programme, 60s..? 70s...? Set in WW2, obviously. Opening credits accompany a panning shot over your usual picturesque country manor, then camera catches a lone Spitfire beating up low, taps open, to barrel roll (?) over manor and exit, stage right. I think a young lad watches the whole scene.
What was the programme?

* * * memories in Antipodoea-sur-lac * * *

Saab Dastard
9th Dec 2003, 20:54
Not an aviation movie per se, but the opening of "Where Eagles Dare" with the Ju52 plodding thru' the snowy mountains to the strains of another Ron Goodwin theme is very appealing. :ok:

Although it's a Lanc. in the book...;)


9th Dec 2003, 23:30
Waltons "Spitfire" Prelude and Fugue rates pretty highly on my list. Also I think it was the BBC did a programme on the Confederate Air Force, they opened with sunrise over the aircraft and Pink Floyds opening to "crazy diamonds" - magical:ok:

10th Dec 2003, 00:54
Can't hear "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac without seeing the B-25 shot from another B-25 nose from "B-25s do fly IMC". Great documentry, almost enough to ecxcuse the abortion that was "Hannover Street" which is why the flew the B-25s accross the Atlantic.

As said before "Shine on..." by the Floyd will also always bring back the Fornier duo. Yes, a great team - showing that you don't need to be noisy, fast or high g to impress at an airshow - just very, very good. Can we have them back please?

10th Dec 2003, 02:38
Risky R - don't remember the doco about Cranwell, but do remember earlier one the Ark Royal (late 70s, early 80s - maybe). The Ark in question was not the dinky-toy rampy thing we have now, but the real naff-off big flat-top beast. F-4Ks and Bananas everywhere. Called simply Sailing the title sequence featured (please don't mock) Rod Stewart's song of that name. Visual for titles was good quality film camera mounted in nose of Bucc or, more likely, F-4K. Coming in v. v. low and v. v. fast over the water - the dot on the horizon gradually grows - until, with the Ark looming massive in frame, the FJ pulls back (from below deck level) stands it on its tail and just goes! Sad I may be, but the wrinkly wrocker's toon was perfect for it.

Was the barrelling Spit a series called Piece of Cake ? About Spitfire sqn ("Hornet sqn") before and leading up to BoB. Dunno much about it - think somebody flew under a bridge and Ray Hanna was one of the drivers.

Saab D - yeah, love that shot; almost identical to BoB film as the 52 banks over.

Mr treaders...? Well..? :)

10th Dec 2003, 06:22

Gracias, senor, I also remember the Ark Royal prog. Even worked in a big mess with Scouser ex-matelot who served on the old Ark. Great stories. :D

This might mean a visit to the Beeb's site, for further research.

The prog with the Spit was definitely not 'Piece of Cake', the memories are really vague and definitely more years ago that 'Cake'.

10th Dec 2003, 06:31
Go on Tharg, g'is a clue - or come for a pint as you are in Croydon!

Checked IMDB and either I missed it... or I missed it...! Probably I missed it... (Just like to stake my claim for PPRuNe user of the year in the ... category, 2003!)


10th Dec 2003, 09:23
Mr Treadders - now don't go all off-key, old chap Compose yourself. The ancient sages say 'A man cannot miss what is not there...'

Delighted to meet for a glass of Chateau Collapso sometime. Airport house or , perhaps, the ... er ... office in Coulsdon where I toil: it has quite a library of ancient tomes going back to 1910-ish which I think you might like to see.

Senor RisqueR - hay nada. Wish they'd repeat Sailing. Best doco in decades. Will keep puzzling over other thing - any more clues? There must have been a doxy of some note in it - who was she?

Hasta la vista;)

10th Dec 2003, 15:12
Ahhh, I confess I haven't seen the other two films so, if I've caught the melody of your reply, they are all rather Porridge-esque...

Think I've figured out where you work also! Speaking of which I had better start my own labours...

10th Dec 2003, 15:16
A good rule of thumb when sticking aeroplanes to music ( except 633 sqdn) is the slower more empty the music the faster the a/c sequence should be. Managed a bit with the Marlboro pitts and extra to a piece by Soft Machine which was very sparse but very effective.

Never managed to get the right sequence to Barbers Adagio to strings, unfortunately. While it is very evocatice with slow fly by etc. Nimrod is just a little over used (as is Holsts Mars!!).....

Gld to see you are still alive and drinking Tredders!

11th Dec 2003, 21:44
I've always rated Piece of Cake's music as very stirring, especially the piano piece where one of the characters (Moggy Cattermole) flies under the bridge...

And yes, it was Ray Hanna doing the driving ;)