SCARLETT COLE: Music and Movies … The Perfect Combination

By Scarlett Cole

This month I am all about the perfect combination of music and movies. Did you see Violetta’s post at the end of February? It was an ode to some of her favorite lines in movies inspired by watching the Oscars. You can read the full post here.

It got me thinking. If you read any of my books, you’ll see they are saturated in musical references. I’ve always felt that music has the power to elevate stories.

When it comes down to the Oscars, the media make a huge production over the best actor and supporting actor roles, but I love watching for the Best Original Score. For example, did you know that John Williams has been nominated in this category an incredible fifty times. That is more than the top three nominated actors added together (Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, and Jack Nicholson), and second only to Walt Disney. So I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

It’s impossible to imagine the infamous scene in the 1966 Sergio Leone classic, “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly,” without Ennio Morricone’s score. The main theme is used repeatedly in popular culture today, but it was meant to resemble the howl of a coyote. I hadn’t realized until I was researching this blog, that different instruments were used to play the score for each of the three main characters, so I’ve put watching it again on my weekend to-do list. And Yo-Yo Ma’s “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone” is one of my favorite albums to write to. Sometimes songs with lyrics start to interfere with the words in my brain, so soundtracks become my go-to writing accompaniment.
The wonderfully talented James Horner provided over thirty-five years of incredible scores and earned eight Best Original Score nominations. Did you know that his work on the Titanic score led to it becoming the best-selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time? Titanic also won him an Oscar. It is hard to imagine a career that produced original music for over one hundred films. My all-time favorite is For The Love of a Princess from the Braveheart soundtrack. The movie itself may have been riddled with gaping historical inaccuracies, but the soundtrack made it compelling… well, that and Mel Gibson’s rousing speech on freedom.
My young children would consider me incredibly neglectful if I didn’t include Hans Zimmer who has been nominated for Best Original Score ten times. Many would think of his work on Gladiator (I LOVE Now We Are Free and I often to write to this soundtrack, too), or The Pirates of the Caribbean, but in my home, it’s his score for The Lion King (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1994) that gets him the two thumbs up.
And finally, lets come back to John Williams. He wrote the score to some of my favorite movies from the seventies, like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno plus more popular movies like Jaws (the haunting bass that meant someone was about to lose a vital body part), and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (never have five notes been so important). So my favorite of this wonderful man? Well, it might be kind of obvious, but this was the first movie I remember going to see at the cinema. It released in May of 1977, and I loved it so much, that I asked for the album (yes, the vinyl kind) for Christmas. It started my love of musical scores, so here is my favorite piece conducted by the man himself, The Main Theme from Star Wars.

My next release, THE PUREST HOOK, comes out on May 3rd (available for pre-order now), and the heroine, Pixie, is a lover of musicals… her favorites? Evita (the Elaine Paige version, not the Madonna one) and Wicked. Perhaps closer to release day, I’ll tackle my favorite musicals 🙂

Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite scores are.


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Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

Follow Scarlett Cole:

Scarlett Cole is a contemporary romantic suspense / contemporary romance author. All four books in her debut series, SECOND CIRCLE TATTOOS, are published by St. Martin’s Press and available now. When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles. Twitter: @itsscarlettcole Facebook: Website:

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10 Responses

  1. Victoria Vane

    Loved your post, Scarlett! My favorite score is from LAST OF THE MOHICANS. I have listened to the entire soundtrack countless times! I also love the theme to Titannic.

    • Scarlett Cole

      That is a great soundtrack, Victoria! I’d forgotten about that one! It wasn’t nominated because of a technicality. They changed from an electronic score to a fully orchestrated score part way through production and had to bring in a second person to help finish it off, and only one person can be nominated in the category, which is such a shame.

  2. Barbara Monajem

    I don’t think have a favorite score, but I intend to spend a while this evening listening to all your samples. Thanks for posting these. 🙂

  3. Lana Williams

    This is an excellent reminder to me – I’ve written a few books while listening to movie sound tracks. You’re so right – the movie wouldn’t be the same without them! Can’t wait for your new release!

    • Scarlett Cole

      Hey Lana – sorry for the delay in replying – the lurgy has blown through our house and I’m the last person standing unfortunately … They make GREAT writing accompaniment don’t they. And thank you 🙂

  4. laurenlinwood

    You picked some of my favs, Scarlett, but I’m with Vicki – LAST OF THE MOHICANS does it for me every time. Daniel Day-Lewis, fire in his eyes, rushing to Cora across that field of mayhem. Music swelling. My heart flooding with love. Sigh…off to watch it again!

    • Scarlett Cole

      Okay – two votes for Last of the Mohicans … I think I will listen to it again tonight. Thanks, Lauren <3