Hans Zimmer

Biography

Born: September 12, 1957; Frankfurt, Germany  
Hans Zimmer is a composer and keyboard synthesizer player who made popular music history then became one of the most successful film score composers.

Raised and educated mainly in England, he has no formal musical education; he says the most he ever got was about "two weeks of piano lessons." Nevertheless, he took an early interest in electronic musical synthesizers in the 1970s, when these were large, bulky analog devices
Read more programmed usually by means of patch cords and individual oscillator settings.

He found work writing tunes and electronically scoring music for television commercials and, still in his early twenties, joined two British musicians named Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes to form a rock group called The Buggles. They produced a world-wide hit called "Video Killed the Radio Star," which made music history as the first piece ever broadcast on America's music network MTV. The Buggles' subsequent LP, "The Age of Plastic," was also a major hit.

Zimmer became interested in film music, mostly through the influence of Italian composer Ennio Morricone, and also cites Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven as an influence both on himself and Morricone, as well as John Barry's James Bond scores, Bernard Herrmann's Psycho, and Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen as major influences on later film scores. But it was a meeting with another film composer, Stanley Meyers, that led Zimmer into scoring for films and into a style using classical and electronic techniques.

Zimmer and Meyers founded Lillie Yard Studios in London. Zimmer and Meyers worked on small British films, including Jerzy Skolimovsky's Moonlighting, Success is The Best Revenge, and The Lightship, and Nicholas Roeg's Insignificance and The Castaway. The big hit of this "little movie" period was My Beautiful Laundrette. This introduced Zimmer to the Hollywood community and he was brought in to help Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne (neither with much film experience or Western classical training) to score Bertolucci's epic The Last Emperor.

After writing scores for a few more movies, including Wonderland, Paperhouse, and Burning Secret, he was commissioned to compose for the low-budget film on South African racial problems A World Apart in 1986. This work led Barry Levinson to hire Zimmer to write the score for the Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drama Rain Man, a score nominated for an Oscar. The financial and critical success of this film led to such prestige films as Driving Miss Daisy, then made a sharp turn into action movie scoring, beginning with Black Rain and continuing with Days of Thunder, Backdraft, Thelma and Louise, Peacemaker, and Crimson Tide (which won a Grammy Award). He says he developed a new action music style in Black Rain because he was trying to sound like John Williams and didn't know how to.

Zimmer's best known work is the score to The Lion King, Disney's most popular animated film, which won the Academy Award and, at twelve million copies sold, became the best-selling record in the history of Walt Disney Records.

Zimmer has not escaped typecasting; action films became his forte, along with projects with some element of cross-cultural clashes in the plot. He is exceptionally frank about his own work and in interviews has readily identified work he considers good and bad. For instance, when asked why there is no recording of even a selection of the best parts of his score for Days of Thunder he said, "Because there wasn't any good music in it." On the other hand, he cites his films Drop Zone, Two Deaths, Peacemaker, Driving Miss Daisy, Prince of Egypt, and part of Crimson Tide as favorites. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 305987 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer,  Kendrick Lamar,  Matthew Houck,  Pharrell Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Satnam S. Ramgotra,  Johnny Marr,  Hans Zimmer,  Stuart Clark  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Glennie-Smith
    CD: $19.99
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  • 2.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 304818 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer,  Kendrick Lamar,  Matthew Houck,  Pharrell Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Zimmer,  Johnny Marr,  Walt Fowler,  Pharrell Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Nick Glennie-Smith
    CD: $13.99
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  • 3.
    Label: Watertower Music   Catalog: 39501 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer,  Katie Tunstall
    Performer:  David [Film Composer] Buckley,  Kt Tunstall
    Conductor:  Nick Glennie-Smith
    CD: $12.99
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  • 4.
    12 Years A Slave [original Soundtrack]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 300857 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Tim Fain
    CD: $13.99
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  • 5.
    Superheroes / John Morris  Russell, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Fanfare Cincinnati   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerry Goldsmith,  Alan Silvestri,  Danny Elfman,  Patrick Doyle  ... 
    Conductor:  John Morris Russell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Film Music Gala / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic   Catalog: 33 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jeremy Sams,  John Barry,  Craig Armstrong,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Rolf Wilson,  Brian Thomson,  Paul Bateman,  Tim Gill  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Austin,  Paul Bateman,  David Arnold,  Debbie Wiseman  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 7.
    Label: Watertower Music   Catalog: 39424 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Josh Freese,  Trevor Lawrence Jr.,  John Jr. Robinson,  Hilda Ovarsdottir  ... 
    Conductor:  Atli Övarsson
    CD: $14.99
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  • 8.
    Man Of Steel [original Score] [limited Deluxe Edition]
    Label: Watertower Music   Catalog: 39426 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Ann Marie Calhoun,  Hilda Ovarsdottir,  Martin Tillman,  Matt Chamberlain  ... 
    Conductor:  Atli Övarsson
    CD: $24.99
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  • 9.
    100 Greatest Film Themes, Take 3
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1398 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Marvin Hatley,  Charles Chaplin,  Frank Churchill,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Ferreira,  David Shannon,  Helen Hobson,  Emma Kershaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Music Works,  The Wire-Haired Terriers Athletic Social Club,  N.Y. Jazz Orchestra
    CD: $59.49
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  • 10.
    Label: Silva   Catalog: 1390 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer / James Newto,  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Marek Elznic,  Evan Jolly,  Rick Clark,  Alex Temple  ... 
    Conductor:  James Fitzpatrick
    CD: $16.99
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  • 11.
    Label: Watertower Music   Catalog: 39313 Release Date: 07/17/2012  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    Label: Interscope Records   Catalog: 001695102 Release Date: 06/05/2012  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    CD: $14.99
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  • 13.
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 381205 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Danny Elfman,  Paul Lavender,  Carlos Gardel,  Hans Zimmer  ... 
    Performer:  Sergej Synelnikov,  Juliane Sigler
    Conductor:  Stefan Fraas
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 14.
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows [original Score]
    Label: New Line   Catalog: 39270 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    Muppet Treasure Island - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 37159 Release Date: 12/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer,  Various
    Performer:  John Berry,  Ziggy Marley
    ArkivCD $16.99
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    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 16.
    Greatest Video Game Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 114 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tommy Tallarico / Michael,  Koji Kondo,  Ari Pulkkinen,  Nobuo Uematsu  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Skeet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    Label: Disney   Catalog: 001377902 Release Date: 09/06/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elton John,  Hans Zimmer,  Tony Phillips,  Randy Petersen  ... 
    Performer:  Lebo M,  Carmen Twillie,  Jason Weaver,  Laura Williams  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 18.
    Film Music Of Hans Zimmer, Vol. 2
    Label: Silva Screen   Catalog: 1362 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Geoff Zanelli,  Hans Zimmer,  James Newton Howard,  Elton John
    Performer:  Steve Mazzaro,  The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Helena Blackman,  Pavel Belousek  ... 
    Conductor:  James Fitzpatrick
    CD: $22.49
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  • 19.
    Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
    Label: Walt Disney Records   Catalog: 000651192 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  DJ Earworm,  DJ Theory,  Photek,  Super Mash Bros & Thieves  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Davidson,  Hila Plitmann,  Dee Lewis Clay,  Martin Tillman
    Conductor:  Nick Glennie-Smith
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Anti   Catalog: 87141 Release Date: 03/15/2011  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Best Film 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31673 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  James Horner  ... 
    Performer:  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Gérard Caussé,  Augustin Dumay  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  Richard Hickox,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 22.
    Label: Reprise   Catalog: 524667 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Edith Piaf,  Perry Montague-Mason,  Johnny Marr,  Dave Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Matt Dunkley
    CD: $13.99
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  • 23.
    Henri 4 / Zimmer, Jackman, Savall, London Session Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7659342 Release Date: 03/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Session Orchestra
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    $19.99
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    On sale!   $23.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 24.
    The Pacific - Music From The HBO Miniseries
    Label: Rhino Records   Catalog: 523699 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Conductor:  Blake Neely
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
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  • 25.
    Sherlock Holmes - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Watertower Music   Catalog: 39175 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
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