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James Horner Eight Years Ago

James Horner died in a single-occupant plane crash eight years ago today, June 22, 2015. He was only 61.

Such a gifted artist—and so young, with so much more music to write. (When John Williams was 61, he scored the original Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List.)

What a tragedy.

By a total fluke I heard of Horner’s passing before the general public. I had called one of my friends at a CD label that morning to check in about a piece of business, and they had just heard from Horner’s agency (who were, needless to say, distraught beyond words), having called them about something unrelated.

When I first got into film music, I noticed the “gossip game” of being the first to know something. “Ooh, did you hear whose score got rejected”—things like that. (Ford Thaxton: this means you!)

It was really fun, I’ll admit, to be the first person to know something juicy...and then see people’s reactions as you told them...but yuck, what a shallow and soulless game.

I mean, bragging rights over gossip—how low can you go?

So I remember how upset I was to have heard of Horner’s passing—one of my favorite composers, whose scores meant so much to me, who I had never met and now never would meet. (I’m sure I’m not alone in that.) And the terrible and gruesome circumstances of his accidental death—well, all plane crashes are freaky.

But it was especially eerie to look at his wikipedia page, yet to be updated, and then see the breaking news that afternoon.

I did do one thing: I called a journalist friend ASAP to give him the heads up, knowing that he would surely be asked to write the obituary. Professional courtesy, which he appreciated.

I don’t know what I’m writing this now except that I guess enough time has passed to share my memories of this sad day on my obscure blog.

I was trying to think of what to say about wealthy and famous people who die in private planes (John Denver, JFK, Jr.)...but there’s no good comment to make. “Be more careful?”

My sympathies to their families.

It’s certainly not a hobby for me!

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