In a Tweet from July 3, 2022, Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas shared a clip from the famed sound studio Warner Bros. Eastwood Scoring Stage, where the orchestral scores for films like Casablanca, Blazing Saddles, Ghost, and Back to the Future were recorded. The ten-second musical clip showed an orchestra’s string section performing the score for the third season of the Paramount+ series. As the Tweet emphasizes, the clip pays homage to the late Jerry Goldsmith. A composer Trekkies may best recognize for writing Star Trek: The Next Generation’s theme song.
While the Picard Season 3 score by Stephen Barton and Freddie Wiedmann pays homage to the memorable song that became the TNG theme, that isn’t actually where the tune originated. The music first appeared in the score for 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, directed by Robert Wise, also known for the science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (which inspired the first episode of the latest hist from the Star Trek Universe, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, starring Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romjin as Una, and Ethan Peck as Spock).
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In 1987, Dennis McCarthy arranged for Goldsmith’s theme to return. When TNG debuted, the opening credits combined the Goldsmith theme and Alexander Courage’s Star Trek: The Original Series opening fanfare. It wasn’t just TNG that featured the tune, either. In 1989, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was released in theaters and also featured a revised arrangement of the song, alongside a modified arrangement of the TOS theme composed by Courage.
Goldsmith continued to play an important role in the sound of Star Trek. In 1995, he composed the theme for Star Trek: Voyager, an achievement that a Primetime Emmy Award would recognize for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. His oldest son, Joel Goldsmith, was also a composer. And in 1996, he would share credit for scoring Star Trek: First Contact with him, with Joel composing over 20 minutes of the film.
Although Joel went off to do his own projects, the elder Goldsmith continued to work on the TNG movies, providing the score for 1998’s underrated Star Trek: Insurrection and 2003’s Star Trek: Nemesis.
Jerry Goldsmith Received 18 Academy Award Nominations
While Trekkies may be most familiar with Goldsmith thanks to his work on Star Trek, he was one of the most prolific music composers of his time. After a long career, he died from colon cancer at the age of 75 in 2004, but his body of work is here to stay.
Goldsmith had a varied career that spanned decades and genres. His first feature film work occurred when he scored the music for a 1957 western, Black Patch. He would later compose the score for 1968’s Planet of the Apes, 1970’s Patton, 1982’s Poltergeist, and 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Goldsmith was also behind other fan-favorite scores like the one for the 1984 horror comedy Gremlins. And of course, he composed the 1990 sequel, not to mention acting in what seems to be his only cameo role, appearing as a yogurt customer in a scene.
Notably, Goldsmith was honored with many nominations throughout his career, including six Grammy Awards nominations and eighteen Academy Awards, making him one of the most nominated composers in the history of the Academy. He was even nominated for Best Original Score for TMP in 1980, losing to Georges Delerue’s A Little Romance. In 1976, he was awarded an Oscar for his work on The Omen.