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John Williams Is Coming to Phoenix; Here Are His Five Most Iconic Scores

Legendary film composer John Williams is scheduled to appear at a benefit performance by the Phoenix Symphony on September 28. It's not like he needs to tour to help raise money for his kids' college fund, and he's probably busy with the Jurassic Park IV and new Star Wars soundtracks. There's no reason for him to perform in Phoenix aside from the pure love of it.

We're just thankful Williams is making an appearance, and that he'll stick to his film scores. The music will be accompanied by film clips, so anticipate lots of Spielberg flicks. What's even cooler is that all proceeds will go to The Phoenix Symphony's Education and Community Outreach programs, even though tickets range from $90 to $500.

We're excited enough about his visit that we took a look at his five most iconic film scores. Check them out after the jump.

Harry Potter

Williams scored the first three Harry Potter films, establishing the franchise's most memorable songs in the process. No disrespect to Patrick Doyle, but how often do you hear teens getting excited about the maze song from Goblet of Fire, which just so happens to be the least popular Harry Potter song on Spotify?

The song most fans associate with Harry Potter is called "Hedwig's Theme." A variation of the melody played every time something magical happened--you can hear it again in "Prologue" and "Lumos!" The whimsy of the song seems to perfectly encapsulate the Weasley twins acting up, or Harry discovering Quidditch.


In E.T., too, Williams's score sums up the movie perfectly.

The flying theme elevates along with Elliot's bike; "Bait for E.T." and "E.T.'s Powers" offer echos of the song's climactic feel early in the film. "Meeting E.T." shares the sense of mystery we feel as the alien hides out among the toys in Drew Barrymore's closet.


The Jaws theme is the only one on this list recognizable from two notes.

The escalating urgency of the tuba puts us in the shoes of swimmers unaware that a great white killer is on the way. The film builds suspense by what it doesn't show; we fear the shark we don't see, and the famous theme builds on the same sense of mystery, which turns into horror.

Indiana Jones

"The Raiders March," or the Indiana Jones theme song, makes Mr. Henry Jones, Jr. feel like a hero, even though it evokes memories of him running or being chased--we forget his grave fear of snakes to focus on his achievements. In its own time it lost out on an Oscar to the equally iconic Chariots of Fire score.

"Escape from the Temple" is extremely fast paced, matching Indy's urgency to get the hell out of the Temple of Doom. "The Raiders March" makes an appearance toward the end to celebrate his escape to safety.

Star Wars

Even if you're a die-hard trekkie, there's no denying the power of Star Wars. Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman will never be as iconic as Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, but that doesn't change the fact that episodes IV, V, and VI are phenomenal -- and the American Film Institute lists the Star Wars score as the greatest film composition of all time. We can't hear the main title without picturing giant words flying through space. What appears under that text all depends on the film, but this song unifies the whole series.

"The Imperial March" shows the evil of Darth Vader. The percussion gives it a disciplined military feel -- nobody messes with the Sith Lord, or else they risk being choked from across the room.

Episode I understandably got a lot of flack, but "Duel of the Fates" is one of the series' best fight songs.

Honorable mentions: Jurassic Park and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum