“Ecstasy of Gold” Composer Ennio Morricone Dead at Age 91
Update, 11:30 a.m.: Metallica have now released a statement paying tribute to Morricone:
“R.I.P. Ennio Morricone
“Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983.”
The original story follows below.
Legendary film composer Ennio Morricone has passed away at the age of 91. The cause of death was “complications from a fall last week in which he broke his femur,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Although primarily known to the world for his work on the legendary Spaghetti Westerns of director Sergio Leone, Morricone is famous in the metal community for having composed “The Ecstasy of Gold,” which Metallica have used as their intro track since 1983. The piece originally appeared in Leone’s 1966 film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood.
Leone composed the scores for over 500 films, garnering Oscar nominations for his work on movies such as Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe’s The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena (2000). He won the Academy Award in 2015, for his contributions to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Other classics for which he composed the score include Gillo Pontecorvo The Battle of Algiers (1966), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), and Pedro Almodovar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989).
In 2017, James Hetfield participated in a Q&A alongside a screening of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and detailed the origin of band’s use of “The Ecstasy of Gold,” attributing the idea to use the track to the band’s first manager, Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula. Hetfield said that Zazula heard the band’s original intro music, a “really terrible intro tape that was just this heart beating and it got faster and faster and faster,” and recommended that they use “Ecstasy” instead.
“That was one of the coolest things that our first manager ever did,” Hetfield. “That was pretty much the only thing that we kept from him, advice-wise.”