The Complete Original Score of 1954
Cat.#: FLY 0295.54
Format: CD (Unauthorized Bootleg)
Release Date: 1998
(note: this CD was a “bootleg”, and was therefore not made available for sale to the general public in stores. It can be somewhat difficult to find)
"The High and the Mighty" is a song by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin from the movie of the same name.
At the start of the film's production late in 1953, veteran film composer and musician Dimitri Tiomkin was commissioned to write the film's Academy Award winning score. The studio also urged Tiomkin to come up with a theme song for the film, to be released to radio and as a vinyl record. Tiomkin formed the basic melody to the song and enlisted songwriter Ned Washington to write the song's lyrics. What resulted was a gentle ballad. Warner Bros. presented the song to Les Baxter and his Orchestra, who recorded and released the song to coincide with the release of the film. When released in 1954, "The High and the Mighty" peaked at #4 on the Billboard Pop chart. Tiomkin and Washington earned an Academy Award nomination for the song in 1955.
Toward the end of the film, after John Wayne's character convinced the captain to try to make it to San Francisco rather than ditch, the captain said "Whistle me a tune, Dan. I like music when I work." Dan (John Wayne) whistled a bit of "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech" (Georgia Tech's famous and catchy fight song). Audiences at the time no doubt immediately recognized it and understood it was a sign of success, as Georgia Tech was in its glory years in football under Bobby Dodd, during which it won six bowl games in six years and was named National Champion by one organization in 1952.
An instrumental version was also recorded in 1954 by the conductor and arranger LeRoy Holmes, reaching #9 on the Billboard chart. It became Holmes' biggest hit, and his most recognizable. The song is known for its distinctive whistling, which accompanies the music, and which was provided by Fred Lowery (“the Blind Whistler”), who himself had a moderate hit with the piece. (The whistling within the film itself was dubbed by Muzzy Marcellino.) Yet another hit version was recorded by Victor Young and his orchestra in 1954, peaking at #6 on the Billboard chart.
Another vocal version with the complete Ned Washington lyrics has been recorded by Billy Eckstine in his album "12 Great Songs from the Movies" from the early sixties.
The tune is whistled in the fadeout of the Simon and Garfunkel song "Punky's Dilemma", from their 1968 album Bookends. Toward the end of the 1980 film "Seems Like Old Times," Chevy Chase's character can be heard whistling the tune as he walks away from the camera.
1. Main Title / Goodbye to Toby / Flashback, Plane Wreck (03:30)
2. The Flight Begins / First Tremor / Painting Natives / Professional Tirade (04:12)
3. Jan Sterling's Story / Second Tremor / Phil Harris's Story / The Letter (08:43)
4. Third Tremor / Point of No Return / Plane on Fire! (11:44
5. Bad News / Baggage Overboard! / Calming the Passengers (06:55)
6. Rescue Planes / Sleeping Boy / Laraine Day Scene / Jan Sterling's Confession (10:19)
7. Cut Back on Fuel / Final Approach / Safe Landing (with chorus) (13:44)
8. Return to the Ground (04:31)
9. Finale (with chorus) (03:07)
Total Duration: 01:06:45
Composed by Dimitri Tiomkin
Label: Film Music Collection
Country: United States
Format: LP 33rpm
Release Date: June 1979
Music composed by Dimitri Tiomkin. Featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Soloists and Chorus with Bruce Ogden (Baritone) - conducted by Elmer Bernstein.
This album has appeared in various incarnations over the years, including a double LP set (with this album and another LP from the Elmer Bernstein Film Music Collection) and its current incarnation which is a complete CD set of the entire Elmer Bernstein Film Music Collection (a 12-CD boxed set from Film Score Monthly).
1. Prelude and take-off
2. Safe landing
Tracks 1-2 from The High and The Mighty
3. Prologue and hunza valley
4. Come ye discontented
5. Killer mountain
Tracks 3-8 from Search for Paradise