More strong Williams' themes by Jeffery (May 2, 2003)
This is quite simply one of Williams' better "forgotten" scores. It unfortunately has not received a mainstream CD pressing; and although there has been a complete set of tracks on the Film Score Monthly version, I am reviewing the 1975 LP. The most impressive is the wonderfully strong "Main Title" theme which Williams weaves cleverly throughout the film--it becomes more vulnerable and minor as the story of a burning skyscraper progresses and then an anthem in the film's conclusion. Because its an Irwin Allen production, it is an all-star soap opera--with dozens of surfacey, different personalities in the midst of disaster. Williams' "Something for ..." themes for each of the major characters in the film are compelling--watching the film you witness Williams' genius at timing--as each of the characters appear onscreen so does the sweep of their theme music. The Kasha-Hirschorn penned ballad "We May Never Love Like This Again" appears, warbled by Maureen McGovern. Although it wasn't a #1 hit like "The Morning After," it won the Academy Award and maintains a sort of dated, eerie presence on the soundtrack. Also eerie are the padded synths on "Trapped Lovers" and the almost unbearble build in "Planting the Charges"--more high notes in Williams' fantastic 1970s repertoire .
My First John Williams Soundtrack by Luis M. Ramos (October 20, 2002)
The original Warner Bros. album for "The Towering Inferno" was the first score by John Williams ever to enter my collection. I was far from believing that I would be getting more albums by this gentleman so he could become my favorite composer ever. However the album suffered from repeated listens from my part, especially the main title.
And I'd like to thank the people from Film Score Monthly for releasing a complete and definitive CD of this score. I have to admit that the dark mood in certain tracks ('Doug's Fall/Piggy Back Ride', 'Lisolette's Descent') have left me kind of displeased, but listening to the main title on this magnificent recording makes me forget that dark music. The main title is great indeed, and after that, there is 'Planting The Charges', which I consider one of the best thrilling cues I've ever heard in my life. The easy listening tracks are very interesting, especially 'Lisolette And Harlee' and the original album version of 'Susan And Doug'. Two versions of Maureen McGovern's song are heard here on this album, but I personally prefer the album version.
This is doubtlessly a great album, and the first one in a series of works by John Williams that I've collected through my twenty five years as a soundtrack collector. After "The Towering Inferno", I went on buying Williams' "Jaws" and "Earthquake", which paved the road to my admiration for this composer. "Star Wars" and "Superman-The Movie" cemented it.
Mushy lounge music/thrilling action cues by Bret Wheadon (January 23, 2002)
The Towering Inferno, John Williams' 1974 effort, shows some of the promise that would later blossom with "Jaws," "Star Wars," "Close Encounters," et. al. Beginning with a prominent main title, moody cues such as "The First Victims" which uses a bass-line piano figure, changing to trumpet flares which effectively increase the tension.
However, the first third of the disc is relatively undistinguished, as the film introduces the main characters and their situations, the listener is forced to endure rather soppy lounge music; light synthesizers and strings before the action cues come into play. We're even pummeled by the ultra-cheese of Maureen McGovern singing such "Love Boat"-wannabe anthems as "We May Never Love Like This Again," (of which we are treated to two versions).
That said, the final two-thirds of the soundtrack is vintage Williams, with thrilling, melodic lines and dark, moody action cues pointing the way to his later, greater accomplishments.