The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #142: Time by Hans Zimmer from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception” (KTOM)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #142: Time by Hans Zimmer from the Original Motion PIcture Soundtrack to the movie, Inception.

A few posts ago, we profiled Broadway legend, Stephen Soldheim. In that post, I talked about how there are whole categories of music that this countdown list has, seemingly, ignored. On that day, we aimed the spotlight on Broadway show tunes. Today, we are going to take a detour from the original countdown list and showcase another genre of music that is critically important yet, often under-appreciated and that is, movie scores. Just so we are clear, by movie scores, I do not mean hit songs from movies like “Saturday Night Fever” by The BeeGees or, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from “Titanic”. A movie score refers to the music (usually instrumental) that is placed throughout the scenes in a movie, documentary or television show. A good score will complement the scene that is unfolding; adding a layer of meaning and emotion that go beyond the dialogue and imagery before you, as a viewer. The undisputed King of movie scores is John Williams. His score for the original movie, “Star Wars” places him light years ahead of everyone else, in terms of sales figures and the ease with which audiences recognize his score and his own fame as a composer. But for today’s post, we are going to focus on a man who also ranks highly on every list of well-known movie composers and that is, Mr. Hans Zimmer. Even if his name is unfamiliar….and, it won’t be if you are a movie buff….but, even if you aren’t, I still have confidence that you have listened to his music and been moved by it, as well. Here is the story of Hans Zimmer… composer extraordinaire!

Hans Zimmer is a German-born composer who has had a hand in composing the score for over 150 movies. Of those 150 movies, many are regarded as the best of all-time. A listing of Zimmer’s credits reads like a list of the A.F.I. (American Film Institute) retrospective of the Top 100 movies ever made. Zimmer won an Academy Award for his score for the movie, “The Lion King”. He has been nominated several times for movies such as “Gladiator”, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Crimson Tide”. He has, also, scored the following films…..I could list dozens but, here are ten, more recent films, just to give you a sense of this man’s references when it comes to being among the most prolific film scorers ever: “Dunkirk”, “Interstellar”, “Dune”, “12 Years A Slave”, the “Spiderman” series, David Attenborough’s “Planet Earth” series for the BBC, “Blade Runner 2049”, “Wonder Woman 1984”, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series and, going back a few years, “The DaVinci Code”. There are many, many other well known films that Hans Zimmer has been involved with that have brought recognition for him or for the movie, itself. In fact, of the 150+ movies that Zimmer has composed the musical score for, he (or the film) have been nominated for major movie and/or music awards 75 times. Gross sales of the movies his work has touched reaches beyond the one billion dollar mark! While I could focus on any number of compositions for this post, I have chosen to talk about his piece called, “Time” by the movie, “Inception”.

“Time” is, quite simply, a lovely, moving composition that uses notes and chords to describe the cycle of life; from birth to death. In particular, “Time”, as used in the movie, “Inception”, deals with the idea of Love; with “birth” being your life before finding love, the rousing mid-section is the act of finding love/falling into love and living a love-filled life and then, the heartbreaking finale to the song is “death”….when love is lost and silence fills the void left in your heart. If you have watched (or, tried to watch) the movie, “Inception”, you will know that the description I just used is not as straight-forward as I am making it out to be but, trust me, that is the message of Christopher Nolan’s movie and that is what Hans Zimmer manages to achieve with his wonderful composition, “Time”. For the video for this, I will leave you with a live performance that took place in Prague a few years ago. I will, also, toss in a few additional videos of his music from other movies.

One of the things that has drawn me to Hans Zimmer is that he has publicly stated that he finds the melding of classical and more modern, electronic music to be very interesting. As we just saw in the post about the EDM song, “Sandstorm”, *(which you can read about here), the blurring of genre lines between classical music and the most cutting edge electronic music is one of the most popular trends in all of music right now. “Time” shows that very well during the live performance. As an FYI, the guitarist featured in this live performance is Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths. His extraordinary guitar skills add much to this piece. He was personally selected by Zimmer to be involved in the score for “Inception”.

So, without further delay, allow me to introduce you to the most prolific musical film scorer on Earth, Mr. Hans Zimmer, with his composition of “Time” from the movie, “Inception”. This is simply beautiful. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the live version of “Time” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Time” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception”, can be found here.

The link to the video for “The Dark Knight Medley”, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “The Dark Knight Rises”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Circle of Life/King of Pride Rock” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “The Lion King”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Interstellar theme” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Interstellar”, can be found here.

The link to the video for music piece known as the “Nimrod: the Enigma Variations”, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Dunkirk”, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Hans Zimmer, can be found here.

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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