Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes out on May 26 (soon) and I have not yet had the chance to write about the movie’s film score composer until now (yikes). Most of you probably already know who it is by now, but keep reading for more facts and background on who exactly is creating the music to accompany this long-awaited addition to the beloved pirate movie series. For those of you who are wondering: Nope, it’s not Hans Zimmer.
My piano teacher was the first to enlighten me of the new change. Indeed, Zimmer’s name was nowhere to be found in the credits in the trailer, and I almost lost about 50% of my excitement for Dead Men Tell No Tales. But Rogue One was awesome without John Williams. Such a decision could turn out to be either madness ... or brilliance.
Turns out, whoever this “new” guy is isn’t new at all. Emmy award-winning Geoff Zanelli, the composer for Dead Men Tell No Tales, has had lots of experience with Zimmer, Bedalt, and Verbinski from the beginning and throughout all four films. Take this, for example: Believe it or not, the track “He’s a Pirate” (we ALL know this song) is actually a collaboration between Zanelli and Zimmer for The Curse of the Black Pearl. (Cue me freaking out as I type this.) In fact, Klaus Bedalt may have composed for Curse, but if you take a look at this track list, he had some people helping him out. (Why was he the only one who got first-hand credit? I have yet to research that for a later post, but yes, I’m very curious.) Anyhow, Zanelli has worked on all four Pirates films in the music department, alongside six other film score composers, because the film’s schedule was tight and the score had to get done in three weeks. When you find the Pirates of the Caribbean track the music was always “by” either Bedalt or Zimmer. Little did I know that the first movie soundtrack was, in fact, done with the help of Bedalt, Zimmer, Zanelli, Ramin Djawadi, James Dooley, Nick Glennie-Smith, Steve Jablonsky, Blake Neely, and James McKee Smith. *inhales*
The first Pirates of the Caribbean score was a breakout moment in my career. That I should be called on to score Dead Men Tell No Tales was simply a dream come true for me. - Geoff Zanelli
All that to say, Geoff isn’t some random guy who decided to take the place of Hans Zimmer. He’s worked with this production team from the first movie. He’s the only person besides Hans Zimmer to be the only composer to work on all four PotC films, dang it, and I wasn’t even aware of this awesomeness till now. I’ve heard a snippet of the main theme for Dead Men Tell No Tales (yes, give me all the film score spoilers) and I declare it’s legit. Assuming this video of the supposed main theme is legit.
One of my favorite Pirates melodies actually has a name, and it is composed by Zanelli, “Broadside.” I believe it’s only played once, in the first film, and wow, I need to hear it more often. Perhaps it’ll play often in Dead Men Tell No Tales...I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Besides having much experience in the Pirates of the Caribbean film score production Zanelli has also composed for movies including Into the West, The Pacific, Ghost Town, and Gamer. He’s also contributed to many scores including The Lone Ranger, The Last Samurai, Pearl Harbor, and Rango.
Are you ready for May 26th, armed with a theater ticket and clad in the armor of a Jack Sparrow t-shirt? Most importantly, are your ears tuned to appreciate the film score for Dead Men Tell No Tales?
I’m excited. Thanks for reading.