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1987 Polydor

1995 Polydor

2012 Intrada

Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Co-Produced by:
Bruce Botnick
Joel Goldsmith

Performed by:
The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra

2012 Album Produced by:
Douglass Fake

Labels and Dates:
That's Entertainment Records (Europe)

Polydor Records (Japan)

Intrada Records
(December 10th, 2012)

Also See:
Extreme Prejudice

Audio Clips:
1987 Album:

1. Theme From Hoosiers (0:33):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (266K)
Real Audio (165K)

2. You Did Good (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

6. Town Meeting (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

7. Finals (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (258K)
Real Audio (160K)

Both original albums are international releases by Polydor Records, with no commercial pressing in America. The 1987 European album under the name "Best Shot" was the easier of the two to find in most countries. A cassette release was offered in America.

The 2012 Intrada CD is a limited product of unspecified quantities, originally available through soundtrack specialty outlets for $20. As of 2012, the original LP record was worth $150.

  Nominated for an Academy Award.


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Sales Rank: 249981

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Buy it... on the expanded 2012 album if you maintain any collection of Jerry Goldsmith's works, for Hoosiers is not only a major achievement in the composer's balance of symphony and electronics, but it remains one of the best sports genre scores of all time.

Avoid it... if you're so cold-hearted that the best of the inspirational sports genre of film music, including Goldsmith's Rudy, does nothing to successfully engage you.

Hoosiers: (Jerry Goldsmith) One of the definitive sports movies in the history of Hollywood, Hoosiers is an essential piece of Americana filmmaking. Directed by David Anspaugh (who would continue on to direct another similarly themed concept in 1993's Rudy), the film captures a piece of Indiana life with an authenticity that few have ever accomplished. A disgraced, out of town basketball coach, performed brilliantly by Gene Hackman, arrives to guide an underdog high school basketball team, the Hickory Huskers, to an improbable state title. It is, like Rudy, the ultimate message about motivation, faith, self-confidence, and achievement against the odds. The small-town spirit depicted by Anspaugh is almost religious in its powerful appeal, and the film's heart and loyalty to character depth required a score that could help motivate those characters onto their path to rewarding success. Jerry Goldsmith was emerging from arguably the most successful period of his career in 1986, with several of his most dynamic scores produced in the prior ten years. He had branched out from his usual science fiction, horror, and war drama assignments to compose for children's films, fantasy, and animation. Also a pioneer in the integration of synthesized elements into a symphony orchestra, Goldsmith was becoming fond of utilizing electronics as a fifth member of the ensembles for his works at the time. In fact, by 1986, he had completed the electronically rich Legend, and while that score would be partially replaced in the final theatrical cut, it proved to film music collectors that his techniques of applying his Yamaha keyboards and other electronic instruments to an orchestral canvas were truly mastered. Goldsmith loved scoring the adversity of sports dramas, and when approaching Hoosiers, he had the additional challenge of augmenting the autumnal setting of Indiana in the 1950's. With a fully symphonic score expected by his fans, it was a complete shock when Goldsmith's end product for Hoosiers was a piece of music dominated by electronics. The fit didn't seem natural when mentioned by the word of mouth, and yet, when all was said and done, the composer somehow managed, just like the Huskers, to pull off the impossible. Goldsmith single-handedly proved the legitimacy of employing electronics in period dramas by composing and mixing one of greatest hybrid scores of all time for Hoosiers.

So natural is the music for this film that the listener is completely enveloped into the world of 1950's Indiana during the heartfelt scene of travel at the start of the film without realizing that the score is, despite its organic elements, electronically defined. That opening title cue, adapted into a similar end credits variation tacked on as the last five minutes at the conclusion of the score's original LP and CD albums, offers the score's main, pure melody of historic beauty. This cue, "Main Title - Welcome to Hickory," single-handedly launched the film and score from their opening minutes all the way to multiple Academy Award nominations. This theme of redemption and regional simplicity ties together all the character and location elements in the story, and some film music veterans have gone so far as to argue that the opening five minutes featuring this theme (and cleverly previewing the later victory theme as an interlude and conclusion) in Hoosiers, with only the score heard in association with the visuals, is one the most impressively understated moments of music and film congruence ever. It's hard to disagree, though people who are fixated on the tender moments of the Hoosiers score forget that Goldsmith's innovative sounds during the climatic scenes on the basketball court are another remarkable treasure. It's not often that even the greatest composers accomplished what Goldsmith did for the game scenes in Hoosiers. He took the sound of a basketball bouncing off of a hardwood floor and mutated it into several variations, depending on how distant the ball was from the listener. He then utilized the main, up front bouncing ball for the majority of his beats in the score (supplied in his perfectly appropriate 7/8 rhythms) and accentuated other moments dictating percussive beats with the other bouncing variations, some in drum pad style. The result is a powerful and bass-rich score that sounds strangely effective even though most casual movie-goers likely didn't clearly make the bouncing ball connection. Along with other tingling synthetic elements, including some straight forward keyboarding on his Yamahas, these sounds are accompanied by a full orchestra. The strings are consistently utilized in every cue, woodwinds carry the most personable moments, and solo brass accents are woven into the percussive textures without resorting to obvious thematic duties outside of the score's famous trumpet solos. Rhythmic propulsion is expertly applied, with tempi carefully tailored, much like Rudy, to how well the team is performing during game sequences.

The score for Hoosiers is extremely melodic, almost to a fault. You can understand by the victory scene at the end of the finals sequence why Goldsmith spent so much time developing his themes until that one, massively heroic statement of emotion. While the aforementioned, primary theme captures the spirit and charm of the team, its individuals, and community in Indiana, Goldsmith's arguably more memorable ideas exist in a packaged related to the game of basketball. He does separate the game-related melodies with specific intent; in the concert arrangement of the "Theme From Hoosiers" (which is performed electronically only by Goldsmith on the albums and could have served as a demo for the assignment), the composer divides the piece between its driving, inspirational half for the game and its intimate half of introspection that eventually flourishes as a representation of triumph. Boiling them down to their most simplistic descriptors, the idea in the first two minutes of this suite is the "game theme" and the following two minutes offer the "victory theme" (intermingling at times with the Hickory theme, as at 2:27). The main game theme is largely static in its applications, with cues like "You Did Good," "Get the Ball" and the first two-thirds of "Finals" exploring its potential with all the driving intensity that Hackman's character inspires in his players. An intriguing Western, Aaron Copland-styled subtheme inhabits a variant of this idea in "The Pivot" and "Free Shot," though the game theme is still the backbone of the former cue. Less transparent is the victory theme, which understandably experiences the most growth throughout the picture. This is the idea that delicately opens the film, bracketing "Main Title - Welcome to Hickory" with a ghostly, solo synthesizer foreshadowing of what is to come. Its intermingling with the Hickory theme's lovely trumpet and electronic flute performances is joined by a friendly, two-note rising motif that accentuates each shift in harmonic progression (this high range effect gorgeously concludes the end credits version of the cue). These lighter themes are eventually passed to the violins in this early cue, with Goldsmith's trademark rambling of soft keyboarding flowing with elegance underneath. Those who appreciate the composer's mid-range, tingling synthesizer effects will enjoy their contributions to this score. The victory theme, like Hackman and his players, gains confident throughout the score until its cymbal-crashing explosion at 8:45 into "The Finals" introduces the Hickory theme in full orchestral glory. Several secondary themes and motifs round out the work, including a few somber ideas for scenes of conflict and conversation in "Town Meeting" and "Someone I Know."

It's interesting to note that the victory scene concluding Hoosiers, in which Goldsmith's score once again holds the soundscape alone for a time for poignant effect, is one of the only moments in the score during which the full orchestral ensemble performs without any electronics, a redemptive, organic way to conclude such a personal story. The performances of both the victory and Hickory halves of Goldsmith's main identity for Hoosiers convey the ultimate in major-key excellence, warming the listener's heart and begging for repeat listens. The secondary themes (outside of the obvious game variety) do slow the score's inevitable sense of propulsion, though many of the sequences employing them yield to lovely performances of the Hickory portion of the main theme. For instance, hidden about two minutes into "Town Meeting" is a beautiful electronic performance of the idea (which at this point is something of a perseverance theme), and the electronic keyboarding in "Chester" is equally charming. The lighter portions of the score illustrate another interesting aspect of Goldsmith's recording, its masterful variation in wet and dry mixing of different elements. Just before the aforementioned electronic woodwind effect in "Town Meeting," a real woodwind is very dryly presented. The subsequent synthetic variant is extremely distant and echoing. This technique of alternating atmospheres exists from the opening cue, and it establishes the electronics as a dream-like element of yearning (causing some to term the score "optimistically dreamy"). If the orchestra always bursts forth at moments when the players actually achieve their goals, then the synthetics represent their intangible aspirations. As the coach enters town at the start, nothing better reflects his personal demons and hopes than the slightly nebulous atmosphere created by these tingling and echoing electronics. Still, intimacy is key to the success of Hoosiers. The fact that Goldsmith was able to capture this spirit of closeness in the Hickory theme is no surprise, but the engaging personality of the game theme is indeed a significant achievement. Every moment of this score envelopes the listener equally, just as the film remarkably makes you care about this small town basketball team. In his long, illustrious career, Goldsmith's most personally affecting scores are often his less heralded in the mainstream. Whether it's A Patch of Blue for the Silver Age or The Russia House for the Digital Age, Goldsmith's most touching work isn't always his flashiest. While a different animal in terms of its higher activity levels than those other scores, Hoosiers clearly occupies this definitive position for the composer in the Bronze Age.

The awarding of the original score Oscar for 1986 to Herbie Hancock for 'Round Midnight is considered one of the greatest of the many injustices that have befallen nominees for that category. Ennio Morricone and, to a lesser extent, James Horner were worthy of recognition that year, though Goldsmith's Hoosiers stands in a class of its own because of its immense, counterintuitive impact on the picture. There will always be debates about the merits of Hoosiers when compared to the better known Rudy, though while the later score equally captured the spirit of competition on the field of play, the former better addresses the soul of the narrative in its entirety. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is Rudy you hear playing at American football games and Hoosiers offered at their basketball counterparts, and despite better recognition for Rudy in the mainstream, the application of Goldsmith's work for Hoosiers to the whole film (and a superior one at that), not just the game and practice sequences, makes the 1986 entry the better achievement. Tragically, Hoosiers has never been released on a regular commercial CD in America. It existed most famously on CD under its international name of Best Shot (after all, who outside of America actually knows what a Hoosier is?) on a European (and British distributed) branch of the Polydor label called "That's Entertainment Records," and it has always been available at a slightly higher price as an import in America. A cassette was ironically released in America with the same contents and the correct Hoosiers name. Similarly, an identical CD album with the Hoosiers name came out of Japan in the mid-1990's. The pressings of these albums ranged from 1987 to 1995, so many copies of all versions are floating around the market, largely satisfying heightened demand for the score. The editing of the rearrangement for that album is not the best, with the end credits existing after a sharp edit and several cues badly out of order and artificially pieced together. This is the way Goldsmith intended the album to be presented for the original LP release, and his assembly of "The Finals" was reportedly a great labor of love for him. Even though the sound quality of the recording of the orchestra sounded slightly dated in its editing from the digital masters, the electronics of the score are so dynamic that you will not notice that age to any great extent. The ensemble was recorded in Hungary, a tremendous irony when you think about it, and there was protest from America's musicians unions at the time. The performances are not always perfect, with notable, distracting flubs from the trumpet at 0:40 and 1:00 into "Main Title - Welcome to Hickory" a minor tragedy for such a great cue.

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The only way to hear "Main Title - Welcome to Hickory" on album, however, trumpet flubs and all, is on a spectacular expanded edition of Hoosiers made available by Intrada Records near the end of 2012. This long awaited album was the result of years of effort by the label, and it presents the entirety of the score in chronological film order (with the exception of a recreation of Goldsmith's later cues into "The Finals" and the omission of a few repeated takes in the film). The additional cues are well worth the initial $20 price of the album, the pairing of "Main Title - Welcome to Hickory" and "Chester" yielding five minutes of absolutely essential music. The new secondary themes of serious character support in "No More Basketball" and "Someone I Know" give the score an added dimension, and many of these cues feature performances of the heartwarming Hickory theme (including "Empty Inside"). Better variation on the game theme is also presented on this hour-long album, "First Workout" slowly building steam and introducing the electronic beats. That game theme is mutated into a unique form in "Get It Up," and the victory theme is given another orchestra-only burst in "Free Shot." For fans of the Copeland-like game motif, "Last Foul" expands its usage. The only somewhat unnecessary additional cue is "The Gym," the moment of awe for sustained violin note and fragments of theme for nearly three minutes as the team does a walk-through on the finals court in preparation for the big game. Interestingly, Intrada does not provide any alternate takes or bonus cues for its presentation of Hoosiers, though the listening experience of the complete score alone easily carries the product. Taken from the digital masters for the recording, the sound quality of the 2012 album is noticeably improved, especially in the absolutely crystal clear tone of the electronics. In this form, the score sounds as good as Rudy, if not better in some ways. There remains an odd background drone in the bass during the eerie electronic flute performance of the main theme in "Town Meeting," however. Overall, however, Intrada has done tremendous justice to the score with their limited product; between Hoosiers and The Shadow, Goldsmith enthusiasts of the younger generations owe Intrada significant gratitude in 2012. Hoosiers remains one of Goldsmith's crowning achievements, a testament to the notion that you can take the intellectually wrong instruments for the job and make them work brilliantly. Not only should Hoosiers be the staple of any Goldsmith collection, it should be a top priority for all film score enthusiasts, especially on the expanded 2012 album. Few scores demand the level of respect that is due this infectiously lovely and enthusiastically inspiring classic. ***** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,589 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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   Re: Hoosiers or Rudy?
  S.Venkatnarayanan -- 1/9/13 (10:20 p.m.)
   Review at Movie Wave
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   Jerry Goldsmith the best composer !!!
  Isaac -- 12/24/12 (4:10 a.m.)
   Re: Hoosiers or Rudy?
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   Re: Overrated. Clemmensen is a hack.
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 Track Listings (Both Polydor Albums): Total Time: 39:35

• 1. Best Shot (Theme From Hoosiers) (4:25)
• 2. You Did Good (7:02)
• 3. Coach Stays (2:42)
• 4. Pivot (3:29)
• 5. Get the Ball (1:49)
• 6. Town Meeting (4:47)
• 7. Finals (15:19)

 Track Listings (2012 Intrada Album): Total Time: 59:34

• 1. Theme From Hoosiers (4:26)
• 2. Main Title - Welcome to Hickory* (3:50)
• 3. Chester* (1:26)
• 4. First Workout* (1:57)
• 5. Get It Up* (2:20)
• 6. You Did Good (7:03)
• 7. No More Basketball* (1:34)
• 8. Town Meeting (4:47)
• 9. The Coach Stays (2:44)
• 10. The Pivot (3:30)
• 11. Get the Ball (1:48)
• 12. Last Foul* (0:48)
• 13. Free Shot* (1:13)
• 14. Someone I Know* (2:23)
• 15. Empty Inside* (1:45)
• 16. The Gym* (2:45)
• 17. The Finals (15:23)

* previously unreleased

 Notes and Quotes:  

The inserts of the Polydor albums include no extra information about the score or film. That of the 2012 Intrada album features extensive information about the film but no cue-by-cue analysis of the score.

  All artwork and sound clips from Hoosiers are Copyright © 1987, 1995, 2012, That's Entertainment Records (Europe), Polydor Records (Japan), Intrada Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/5/03 and last updated 12/21/12. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved. The irony of my love for this film and score exists in my hate for the game of basketball.