We lost Ennio Morricone yesterday. The world’s greatest screen composer was 91 years old, which is a good innings by anyone’s estimation, but it still stings when you lose someone who cast a shadow as long as his, and perhaps twice as much in a year as unarguably shitty as this one.

Morricone’s achievements are both legion and well documented, and you don’t need me to lead you by the hand through his C.V.: The Dollars Trilogy, The Untouchables, The Thing, Cinema Paradiso, Days of Heaven… and that’s just the cream of the crop. He was hugely prolific; imdb lists 520 credits as Composer and 344 soundtrack appearances and, given the murky details of his early career (Morricone ghost-composed for better known artists when he was making his bones) those are lowball figures. If you’ve spent any time at all at the movies, odds are good that you’ve heard Morricone.

But like I said, I’m not here for the biographical details. Well, not Morricone’s at least, but I’ll give you some of mine. Way back in the day when the earth was young and VHS gave rise, for good or ill, to a whole generation of screen-savvy consumers and aficionados, Morricone was there when my switch got flipped.

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