Edelman composed the MacGyver theme song (aka the greatest theme song in the history of television) and the scores of 16 episodes scattered throughout seasons 1, 2, and 3. All of the composers who worked on MacGyver were great, but Edelman was the best. His MacGyver scores were uniquely creative, evocative, rich, moving, and powerful, and his music played an integral role in fostering my love of the show.
I decided to rank my top 14 Edelman songs, including the themes from his MacGvyer episodes. I'm not familiar with everything he's ever done and so I may be missing some. All these songs are amazing and super hard to rank, but that's why I get paid the big bucks -- in order to make tough decisions like these.
Now I'm no music historian, and there are lots of brilliant composers out there. It's just that when I look at his top 14 songs, it's hard to think of who has had a better run, though there are a few names that come to mind who are worthy challengers for the title of all time greatest composer:
- Alan Menken. His work on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin alone would make for an all-time great career, yet he's done more and is still going strong.
- The Sherman Brothers. Unbelievable legacy. They have at least 10 songs so far on my countdown with more to come in the top 8.
- Vangelis. Chariots of Fire is possibly the greatest song of all time, and his entire score from that movie is enough to bring him into the conversation.
- John Williams. In terms of volume of hits, John Williams is tough to beat. Just Star Wars alone has a variety of memorable themes, and then throw in Indiana Jones, Superman, ET, the Olympic themes, Jaws, Harry Potter, and Amistad just to name a few. And then there's the Jurassic Park main theme, which is another contender for greatest song of all time.
- Tchaikovksy. Speaking of the greatest song of all time candidates, how about the 1812 Overture? Throw in the Nutcracker Suite and Sleeping Beauty and we're talking about a pretty talented fellow.
- Mozart and Beethoven. 'Nuff said.
So clearly there are some worthy candidates for greatest composer of all time, but I believe that Randy Edelman's name deserves to be included in the discussion. Without further ado, here are my top 14 Edelman songs.
14. Three for the Road. Specifically the scene where MacGyver builds a rocket (the 2nd best MacGyverism ever) out of Guy Roberts' prized convertible while being chased at high speed.
13. Last of the Mohicans. An excellent movie with an incredible soundtrack. In particular, the Promentory theme is noteworthy for being awesome.
12. Dragonheart. One of those songs where you may not recognize the name, but you've likely heard the song (considering it's used in movie trailers all the time). In fact, for the longest time I was trying to figure out what this song was (i.e. I had heard it but didn't know what it was called). Recently it occurred to me that it sounded similar to Randy Edelman's other works, and so I listened to everything I could find by him. And sure enough, I eventually found it.
11. Bushmaster. This episode's soundtrack just grows and grows on me, particularly the parts where MacGyver and Kelly board the bus and then later when they talk in the dark church.
10. Phoenix Under Siege. A fantastic march that plays while MacGyver and Grandpa Harry bravely defuse the bomb.
9. Angels in the Outfield. #33 on the Disney countdown.
8. Thief of Budapest. The Opening Gambit (MacGyver stealing a horse and attaching it to a helicopter) features not just one of the series' best stunts but also one of its most outstanding musical scores.
7. The Prodigal. The 2nd best MacGyver episode of all time which features the greatest-ever MacGyverism and a knockout theme.
6. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. This is another one that is always used in movie trailers.
5. Gettysburg. An all time classic.
4. Tall Tale. #9 on the Disney countdown.
3. Brisco County Jr. This amazing theme has become synonymous with NBC's Olympic coverage, and Olympic viewers may not realize that it came from a television show from the mid 90's called The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. I got the DVD for the first (and only) season last year, and I haven't got around to watching it yet but I am looking forward to getting into it at some point in the near future.
2. MacGyver theme / Slow Death. I've said earlier how the MacGyver theme song is the greatest in tv history. The slowed down, sentimental variation on the theme heard in Slow Death and Trumbo's World is enough to bring tears to any MacGyver fan's eyes.
1. The Gauntlet. In my original post on this Opening Gambit (the climax of which I describe as the greatest moment in MacGyver, television, and human history), I wrote:
There's actually a mistake in the credits when it says the music was written by Randy Edelman. In reality it was created by God himself. It may be the most wonderful sound these ears have ever heard - it's certainly right up there as one of the greatest ever pieces of music from any era.
That's all true. It's one of if not the greatest song of all time. It's at least right up there with Chariots of Fire, Jurassic Park, the 1812 Overture, the New World Symphony, Bolero, Ode to Joy, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, and a few yet-to-be-revealed Disney songs.
So there you have it. Whether or not Randy Edelman is the best composer of all time, I can at least say that he is my favorite.