October 24, 2012
John Williams had been working in Hollywood for several years, composing scores for a series of breezy comedies such as "How to Steal a Million," "Penelope," and "Fitzwilly" when he began collaborating with director Steven Spielberg. When Williams played the two-note theme he had written to represent the silent approach of the deadly great white shark, the young director at first thought it was a joke. But after delays developed during shooting due to inclement weather and problems with the mechanical shark, the director hit upon the idea of using Williams' music to build suspense. With its widespread release in the summer of 1975, both the film and the music became blockbusters. Williams' score later won him the Oscar and led to his position as perhaps the most esteemed and popular film composer in movie history. And the "Jaws" theme -- with its slowly intensifying, percussive strings and blaring horns -- is still one of the world's most recognizable and terrifying pieces of music.
Listen to music from "Jaws"