Hans Zimmer Biography

12 September 1957, Frankfurt, Germany. Apparently, from the age of six, Zimmer wanted to be a composer, although he had no formal musical education. When he was 16 he went to school in England, and during the 70s spent some time at Air-Edel, writing jingles for television commercials. Following brief spells with synth-pop bands Buggles and Ultravox, Zimmer collaborated with the established movie composer Stanley Myers, to write the score for Nicolas Roeg’s Eureka, and several other British films during the 80s, including Moonlighting, Success Is The Best Revenge, and Insignificance. His solo credits around that time included movies with themes such as apartheid (A World Apart), a psychological thriller (Paperhouse), a couple of eccentric comedies (Twister and Driving Miss Daisy), a tough Michael Douglas detective yarn (Black Rain), and a ‘stiflingly old-fashioned’ version of a Stefan Zweig short story, Burning Secret (1988). In that year Zimmer provided the music for 14 films in the UK and abroad, including the blockbuster, Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. Rain Man earned Zimmer a nomination for an Academy Award (‘When they found out that I was only 30, I didn’t get it!’). He continued apace in the following years with scores for Bird On A Wire; Days Of Thunder, Chicago Joe And The Showgirl (written with Shirley Walker), Pacific Heights, Green Card (starring Gérard Depardieu in his English-language debut), Thelma And Louise (‘a twanging, shimmering score’), Backdraft, Regarding Henry, K2 (a crashing, electro-Mahlerian score), Radio Flyer, The Power Of One, A League Of Their Own, Toys (with Trevor Horn), Where Sleeping Dogs Lie (with Mark Mancina), Point Of No Return, Calendar Girl, True Romance, Cool Runnings, The House Of The Spirits, Younger And Younger, I’ll Do Anything, Africa: The Serengeti, Renaissance Man, The Lion King (1994, Academy and Golden Globe Awards), Drop Zone, Crimson Tide (another Academy Award), Beyond Rangoon, Nine Months, Something To Talk About, Two Deaths, Broken Arrow, Muppet Treasure Island, The Fan, The Whole Wide World, The Preacher’s Wife, Smilla’s Sense Of Snow, The Peacemaker, Scream 2, As Good As It Gets, The Last Days, The Prince Of Egypt, The Thin Red Line, The Road To El Dorado, Gladiator, Mission: Impossible II, The Pledge, Hannibal, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron, The Ring and The Last Samurai.

In 1992, Zimmer composed the music for ‘one of the most bizarre television re-creations to date’, the 10-hour series, Millennium. His other work for the small screen includes the popular First Born (1988), Space Rangers (1993), The Critic (1994, series theme), and High Incident (1996, series theme). His most recent major success was The Da Vinci Code. Zimmer is most certainly a major figure in music; his accomplishments in the film world for such a comparatively young man are already exceptional.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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