Tuesday Tune: ‘All Along the Watchtower’ by Bear McCreary

Song: “All Along the Watchtower”

Artist: Bear McCreary

Album: Battlestar Galactica – Season 3

Movie soundtracks are probably the most frequent rendezvous point for music and science fiction. Who could forget John Williams’ iconic Star Wars theme or Jerry Goldsmith’s brutal, avant-garde score to The Planet of the Apes? For my money, no one is writing better music for Science Fiction these days than Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary.


Over the course of four seasons, the music on Battlestar Galactica grew from little more than pounding tribal drums to a full blown orchestral score complete with rock guitars and world music elements. From the beginning, McCreary showed a Williams-like touch in creating leit-motifs for several of the main characters. Number 6 was almost always introduced by that insistent 9-note melody played on the gamelan.

As the show progressed, the music became an integral part of the story. Through McCreary, “All Along the Watchtower”, a Bob Dylan standard performed by every coffee shop strummer and sloppy bar band, received its most creative and moving arrangement since Hendrix. The fact that he poured so much life and originality into such an overplayed song is a true testament to the skill and creativity of this young composer.

Check out Bear McCreary’s Blog. It is full of great posts about his creative process as he composes music for film, TV, and video games.

Who is your favorite soundtrack composer?

5 thoughts on “Tuesday Tune: ‘All Along the Watchtower’ by Bear McCreary”

  1. Bear McCreary has to be right up there, the music for BSG was simply outstanding. Although I would say the music for Babylon 5 is possibly better, Chris Frankedid an amazing job not just creating 1 defining sound for the show but also creating for the numerous different races that inhabbited JMS’ universe. Greg Edminson also produced a fairly unique and brilliant sound for Firefly.

  2. Perhaps I’m a bit too much of a traditionalist, but I’d have to go with Randy Newman and Mark Knopfler for their underappreciated work. I’m not just talking about Toy Story and The Princess Bride either; actually listen to the soundtracks in Pleasantville and Cal (let alone Local Hero) along with the films in question; they are vastly better integrated with the feel of the material than anything that gets broadcast. Admittedly, as films they have more time (especially during the developmental process) and greater dynamic range to work with, but still…

    That said, I’d be just fine with nuking every film work ever done by J___ W___, which is so traditional that it actually contradicts what it is supposed to be supporting.

  3. Andy: Thanks for the Babylon 5 recommendation.  I never really watched Babylon 5 so I’m unfamiliar with Chris Franke’s work.  Has he done any other scores?

     

    Jaws: I’ve enjoyed all of the Randy Newman scores that I’ve heard.  I like a lot of Mark Knopfler’s singer/songwriter stuff, but I wasn’t aware of the fact that he did film scores.  I’ll have to check them out. 

    Like him or not, John Williams (there, I mentioned his name!) composed more memorable melodies than just about any creator in the past 40 years: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Jaws, etc.

  4. Dunno, but go and grab some B5 and watch it, its still some of the best SciFi created in my mind. It easily stands alongside BSG as intelligent thought provoking stuff that is almost a different genre to trek.

Comments are closed.