After establishing himself as a science fiction hero in Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston went on to do a string of films in this vein. One of the most beloved of these films is The Omega Man, a post-apocalyptic adventure that featured Heston as a scientist battling a vengeful group of mutants as he searched for fellow survivors in the ruins of Los Angeles. One of the most distinctive elements of the film was its score, which was composed by sci-fi vet Ron Grainer (The Prisoner, Dr. Who) and combined traditional orchestral film score elements with strong elements of pop and light jazz. A great example of this style is the film's main theme, "The Omega Man": its first part layers lush strings and gently jazzy horns over a pop-inflected rhythm section and its second part allows a mournful, jazzy trumpet solo to take the fore over a backdrop of acoustic guitar and spacey electronic keyboards. The score also features a preponderance of exciting action cues, like "On the Tumbril" and "Surprise Party," which combine the regal horn arrangements of traditional film music with spacey synths and exciting rock-style drumming. Elsewhere, Grainer shows a gift for crafting easy listening-style melodies on lighter cuts like "Bad Medicine for Richie," which mixes a string-sweetened melody with acoustic guitar and a subtle rhythm section. Listeners who don't appreciate '70s pop or lounge styles may not enjoy the combination of styles The Omega Man presents, but no one can deny that Grainer has created a tight, skillfully arranged score that is packed to the gills with memorable melodies. As a result, The Omega Man is an ideal soundtrack choice for anyone who enjoys both film scores and lounge music.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco