List of compositions by Danny Elfman
The following list consists of select films for which Danny Elfman composed the score and/or songs.
|Year||Title||Director||Notes / Accolades|
|1982||Forbidden Zone||Richard Elfman||First film score|
Film released in 1982 though Elfman has said he wrote the music in 1980
In addition to composing the score and songs with the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Elfman arranged and performed Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" with new lyrics as the character Satan
|1985||Pee-wee's Big Adventure||Tim Burton||Debut score for a major film studio|
|1986||Back to School||Alan Metter||In addition to composing the score, Elfman appears in the film as the lead singer of Oingo Boingo performing their song "Dead Man's Party"|
|Wisdom||Emilio Estevez||Composed, arranged and performed by Elfman entirely on synthesizer|
|1987||Summer School||Carl Reiner||Only completely unreleased feature film score|
|1988||Beetlejuice||Tim Burton||At the top of the "Main Titles" music as heard in the film, Elfman sings lyrics from "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" in the style of Harry Belafonte, the original version of which is used to comic effect later in the film:63
Nominated- Saturn Award for Best Music
|Midnight Run||Martin Brest|
|Big Top Pee-wee||Randal Kleiser|
|Hot to Trot||Michael Dinner|
|1989||Batman||Tim Burton||Grammy Award Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media|
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition (for "Batman theme")
|Aliens, Clowns & Geeks||Richard Elfman||Post-production|
|TBA||The Woman in the Window||Joe Wright||Post-production|
Replaced Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Additional film work
In addition to his feature scores, Elfman has supplied thematic material and additional music for films scored by others (theme only unless otherwise noted; lead composers in parentheses):
|1984||Bachelor Party||Neal Israel||Robert Folk||"Bachelor Party Theme" with Oingo Boingo|
|1985||Weird Science||John Hughes||Ira Newborn||"Weird Science" title song with Oingo Boingo|
|1991||Pure Luck||Nadia Tass||Jonathan Sheffer||"Main Title" & "We Found Her"|
|1992||Army of Darkness||Sam Raimi||Joseph LoDuca||"March of the Dead"|
|1994||Shrunken Heads||Richard Elfman||Richard Band|
|1997||Scream 2||Wes Craven||Marco Beltrami||"Cassandra Aria" & "Cassandra Aria Reprise"|
|1998||Modern Vampires||Richard Elfman||Michael Wandmacher|
|1999||My Favorite Martian||Donald Petrie||John Debney||"Uncle Martin's Theme"|
|Novocaine||David Atkins||Steve Bartek|
|2007||Spider-Man 3||Sam Raimi||Christopher Young||Includes material from Elfman's Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 scores|
|2010||Kick-Ass||Matthew Vaughn||John Murphy
Marius de Vries
|"Walk to Rasul's"|
|2011||Do Not Disturb||Mali Elfman||Mike Einziger
Elfman composed the music for the Hollywood Pictures logo in 1991, and an excerpt from his main title for Sommersby was subsequently used as the logo music for Regency (the company that made Sommersby) beginning in 1994.
Concert and stage works
The following list consists of select works composed for the stage and concert hall.
|Year||Title||Other Artists||Notes / Accolades|
|2005||Serenada Schizophrana||Commissioned and premiered by the American Composers Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Sloane||First commissioned concert work|
Premiered February 23, 2005 at Carnegie Hall
Recorded in 2006 by conductor John Mauceri and the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra
|2008||Rabbit & Rogue||First ballet score, written for Twyla Tharp's Rabbit and Rogue|
Co-commission by American Ballet Theatre and Orange County Performing Arts Center
Premiered June 3, 2008, at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center
LA Film Festival's Rabbit and Rogue contest provided free usage of Elfman's music to which filmmakers created short films
|2011||Iris||Commissioned by Cirque Du Soleil for director Philippe Decouflé's Cirque du Soleil show based on the history and themes of cinema|
Elfman's score was pre-recorded with an orchestra of 100 musicians (the largest in Cirque du Soleil's history), that was then mixed with the show's eight live, in-house musicians during performance.
|2013||Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton||John Mauceri conductor||Nearly two hours of orchestral suites newly arranged by Elfman from his scores for the films of Tim Burton|
Premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 7, 2013, with John Mauceri conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, and Elfman performing the songs of characters Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas segment.
|2017||Violin Concerto "Eleven Eleven"||Violinist Sandy Cameron, conductor John Mauceri and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra||First violin concerto|
Co-commissioned by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Live at Stanford University, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for violinist Sandy Cameron
Premiered in Prague June 21, 2017, with Cameron, Mauceri and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Recorded in 2019 with Cameron, Mauceri and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra
|2018||Piano Quartet||Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet (Matthew Hunter, Knut Weber, Luis Esnaola, Markus Groh)||First piano quartet|
Co-commissioned by the Lied Center for Performing Arts University of Nebraska in Lincoln and the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet
Premiered February 6, 2018, at the Lied Center in Lincoln, Nebraska
|2019||Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus||Incidental music for the Broadway production written by Taylor Mac, directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Scott Rudin|
|Percussion Quartet||Third Coast Percussion||Commissioned by Third Coast Percussion, who premiered the piece at Philip Glass Center's 2019 Central Coast Days & Nights Festival on October 10, 2019|
|2020||Danny Elfman: Past, Present and Future! From Boingo to Batman and Beyond!||TBA||Announced for the April 11 and 18 concerts at Coachella 2020, but festival postponed to October 9–18 due to the coronavirus pandemic.|
Elfman has written the theme music and occasional episodic scores for several television series, including:
|1985||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Episode: "The Jar", directed by Tim Burton|
|Amazing Stories||Episodes: "Mummy, Daddy" & "The Family Dog" with Steve Bartek|
|1986||Pee-wee's Playhouse||Episodes: "Monster in the Playhouse," "Cowboy and the Cowntess," "Store," & "Pee-Wee Catches A Cold"|
|Sledge Hammer!||Theme music only|
Score composed by Don Davis, Ron Grant, Lance Rubin & Richard Stone
|Fast Times||Theme music only, with Oingo Boingo|
Score composed by Barry Goldberg, Arthur Barrow & Steve Schiff
|1989||Tales from the Crypt||Theme music only|
Score composed by various others including Jay Ferguson, Nicholas Pike, Alan Silvestri, J. Peter Robinson & Michael Kamen
|Beetlejuice: The Animated Series||Theme music only|
Score composed by Tom Szczesniak
|The Simpsons||Theme music only|
Score composed by Richard Gibbs, Alf Clausen & Bleeding Fingers Music
|1990||The Flash||Theme music only|
Score composed by Shirley Walker
|1992||Batman: The Animated Series||"Main Title" & "End Credit"
Score composed by various others including Shirley Walker
|1993||Family Dog||Theme music only|
Score composed by Steve Bartek
|1997||Perversions of Science||Theme music only|
Score composed by J. Peter Robinson & Ernest Troost
|1999||Dilbert||Theme music only, rearrangement of the title song for Forbidden Zone|
Score composed by Adam Cohen & Ian Dye
|2004||Desperate Housewives||Theme music only|
Score composed by Steve Bartek, Stewart Copeland & Steve Jablonsky
|2005||Point Pleasant||Theme music only|
Score composed by Robert Duncan
|2017||When We Rise||Miniseries|
Score composed with Chris Bacon
On October 30, 2015, PBS's "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton, for which Elfman won Outstanding Music Direction at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards.
In 2019 selections from his score to the film Midnight Run were used in the third season of Netflix's Stranger Things, including "Stairway Chase" in episodes 5 and 6, and "Wild Ride" and "Package Deal" in episode 6.
|2004||Fable||Opening title theme|
Score composed by Russell Shaw
|2008||Lego Batman: The Videogame||Excerpts from Batman; DS version also uses excerpts from Batman Returns|
Score arranged by Morgan Peeters
|Fable II||Composed with Russell Shaw|
|2009||Wanted: Weapons of Fate||Themes from Wanted|
Score composed by Ulf Andersson
|2012||Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes||Excerpts from Batman and Batman Returns|
Compliments score composed by Rob Westwood
|2013||Puppet Masterpiece Theater: The Circus||iPad app created by children's entertainment group Organa Kids|
|2014||Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham||Excerpts from Batman|
Compliments score composed by Rob Westwood
- 1987: Music for Sally Cruikshank's Face Like A Frog animated short (suite included on the 1990 Music for a Darkened Theatre, Vol. 1 compilation).
- 1991: Music for Nike's "Barkley Superhero" animated television commercial (included on the 1996 Music for a Darkened Theatre, Vol. 2 compilation).
- 1996: Music for a 1996/97 Nissan television advertising campaign.
- 1998: Music for a 1998/99 Lincoln-Mercury television advertising campaign.
- 1998: Provided part-composed, part-sampled music for Luigi Serafini's solo exhibition il Teatro della Pittura at the Fondazione Mudima di Milano in Milan, Italy.
- 1998: For Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot Psycho remake, Elfman and Steve Bartek adapted the original score composed by Bernard Herrmann.
- 2000: Music for Tim Burton's "Stainboy" animated internet series commissioned by Shockwave.com (selections released on Warner Bros. Records' The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box in 2010).
- 2002: Music for Honda's "Power of Dreams" advertising campaign, the first cinema commercial to be shot in the IMAX format.
- 2006: Elfman's "Overeager Overture" commemorating conductor John Mauceri's tenure with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra premiered September 15, 2006, at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Mauceri.
- 2006: Provided music for Erik Sanko's first feature-length marionette performance The Fortune Teller.
- 2009: Incidental music for the Tim Burton exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009-2010 (selections released on Warner Bros. Records' The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box in 2010).
- 2013: Composed the music and provided the English-language vocals for the Hong Kong Disneyland attraction Mystic Manor.
- 2016: Scored the "Making of an Oscar" animation which opened the 88th Academy Awards.
- 2016: Composed atonal "horror" music for the short Funny or Die video "Trump Stalks Clinton," which used footage from the Second U.S. Presidential debate.
- 2020: Re-recorded and released a "nursery rhyme" version of his 1982 Oingo Boingo song "Running on a Treadmill" while under quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic.
- 2020: Scored the 10-minute video "Joe Biden," which introduced Joe Biden's acceptance of the presidential candidacy nomination at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
- Digiovanna, James (March 31, 2005). "Intestinal Fortitude". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
- Music for a Darkened Theatre: Film & Television Music Volume One (booklet). Danny Elfman. Universal City, CA: MCA Records. 1990. p. 2–9. MCD10065.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Grow, Kory. "Inside Danny Elfman’s Twisted Cult Film ‘Forbidden Zone’", Rolling Stone, November 6, 2015.
- D'Angelo, Mike (January 16, 2014). "Danny Elfman's score tied Pee-wee's Big Adventure together—and launched a career". The Dissolve. Pitchfork. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- Buck, David. "Mystic Knights of the Movie Soundtrack", Tedium, March 14, 2018.
- Bond, Jeff (October 2015). Danse Macabre: 25 years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton. Warner Bros. pp. 12–259. 5251722.
- "Artist: Danny Elfman". Grammy.com. Recording Academy. n.d. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Taylor, Drew (June 19, 2012). "20th Anniversary: 5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Batman Returns'". IndieWire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
In addition to the score, Elfman co-wrote the Siouxsie and the Banshees song that plays during the masquerade ball.
- Ng, David (October 24, 2015). "Danny Elfman can relate to 'Nightmare Before Christmas' hero Jack Skellington". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
- "Soundtrack Information: To Die For". Soundtrack.Net. n.d. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
- Bond, Jeff (2019). Mission: Impossible - Limited Edition (booklet). Danny Elfman. Los Angeles, CA: La-La Land Records, Inc. pp. 5–6. LLLCD1411.
- Glionna, John M. (April 18, 1999). "A Different Beat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
Though he earned two Academy Award nominations in 1997 for “Men in Black” and “Good Will Hunting,” his work has long been scrutinized by industry peers...
- Lowman, Rob (July 18, 2019). "It's music to Oompa Loompa by". Orlando Sentinel.
Things got a little crazy at composer Danny Elfman's home studio when he began creating the singing parts for the Oompa Loompa songs in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... Elfman laid down the vocals in his home. He did every part six times.
- Anderson, Kyle (July 22, 2011). "Danny Elfman on Tim Burton, Gus Van Sant, and why it's so hard to sing in Russian: An EW Q&A". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
- Fisher, Russ (February 17, 2010). "Sample the Rejected Rock Score for The Wolfman". SlashFilm.com. /Film. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
Many changes were wrought to Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman during production... One of the last-stage changes was a switch from Danny Elfman‘s original score to a new one by electronic/rock composer Paul Haslinger.
- Miller, Ross (January 20, 2010). "Danny Elfman's 'Wolfman' Score Brought Back Into Play". Screen Rant. Valnet Inc. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
Universal has apparently decided to switch back to Elfman's original score... Because of commitments to Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Elfman can't work on the film right now, so additional composers are being brought in to finish his work.
- "David Buckley: Credits". DavidBuckleyMusic.com. Firefly Music. n.d. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- Burton, Byron (November 18, 2017). "Danny Elfman Hates When Reboots Scrap Classic Themes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
Elfman and Whedon previously worked together on 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, another situation he describes as another "three-alarm call." He shared scoring credits with Brian Tyler.
- Danny Elfman (November 10, 2017). Justice League: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD liner). Burbank, CA: WaterTower Music. 19075807271. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- Lenker, Maureen Lee (November 9, 2019). "Danny Elfman talks reinventing 'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch' with Tyler the Creator". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
...once Elfman felt his own heart grow two sizes when it came to Christmas, incorporating the original songs become one of the highlights of writing his score for The Grinch. “The ‘Welcome’ song was easy,” he says. “We were playing the song twice in the film, so it was just how to score it and then pick up the melody and have it kind of lift up and explode when his heart does.” When it came to the other hit song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Elfman had a slightly more complex task, collaborating with rapper Tyler the Creator on the iconic tune first recorded by Thurl Ravenscroft.
- Burlingame, Jon (March 28, 2019). "Danny Elfman Broke His Cardinal Rule for 'Dumbo's' Bittersweet Score". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
“This is a cultural icon,” the composer says, “and I was happy to pay homage.” So “Pink Elephants on Parade,” “When I See an Elephant Fly” and the train motif “Casey Junior” all make appearances...
- Kaufman, Gil (June 6, 2019). "Danny Elfman on Composing Score for 'Men in Black: International': 'I Get to Visit a World I Love'". Billboard. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
Working with co-composer Chris Bacon, Elfman says he stuck to his trusty playbook when it comes to return trips to previously explored cinematic universes.
- "Danny Elfman to Score Joe Wright's 'The Woman in the Window'". Film Music Reporter. November 23, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- Buck, David (March 14, 2019). "Mystic Knights of the Movie Soundtrack". Tedium. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
Bachelor Party... has not one, but two (possibly three) Boingo songs. The title track—written and performed by Oingo Boingo specifically for the film—recaps the plot in the band’s inimitable style. “Something Isn’t Right” is an earlier song that only saw a release with this soundtrack album.
- Sean O'Neal (October 27, 2014). "Danny Elfman on Oingo Boingo, film scores, and the Beatles almost ruining Batman". AV Music. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Goldwasser, Dan (March 3, 2001). "Review: Heartbreakers". Soundtrack.net. Autotelics, LLC. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
The resulting film is... backed by a quirky score by John Debney (with a main theme by Danny Elfman), as well as a swath of mood-setting pop songs.
- Valkor (May 3, 2011). "InterView: Mali Elfman Director of "Do Not Disturb"". The-Other-View.com. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
I asked my dad [Danny Elfman] for a theme. He wrote it in about 20 minutes and wouldn't let me hear it until a week later when he had about 3 themes, and 10 variations. I ended up picking the first piece that he wrote for the opening credits and using it as the theme for the film.
- "Composer Logo Music". Soundtrack.net. Autotelics, LLC. n.d. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
I got a call from John Hughes talking about the movie, and wouldn’t it be fun, and I literally wrote it [in my head] while I was talking to him.
- "All World Premiere Concert Features Legendary Rock Guitarist Andy Summers & Orchestral Debut of Hollywood Composer Danny Elfman". AmericanComposers.org. February 23, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
- "Rabbit And Rogue". TwylaTharp.org. n.d. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Warren, Matt (June 21, 2016). "Danny Elfman Has the Music. Do You Have the Movie? Announcing 'Rabbit and Rogue' Challenge". FilmIndependent.org. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
The Rabbit and Rogue Project is a unique challenge aimed at empowering and inspiring independent media creators. Free of charge, filmmakers will be able to use selections from Elfman’s new album, Rabbit and Rogue in their short film projects.
- Goldwasser, Dan (June 11, 2012). "Review: Cirque du Soleil: Iris". Soundtrack.net. Autotelics, LLC. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
the music would be composed by Oscar-nominated film composer Danny Elfman, and feature a soundtrack performed by over 100 musicians... In the balconies on the sides, a small musical ensemble surrounds us, and performs live to accompany the pre-recorded musical material.
- Griffin, Matt. "In pictures: Helena Bonham Carter and Danny Elfman help celebrate classic Danny Elfman scores", RoyalAlbertHall.com, October 8, 2013.
- Locker, Melissa."Danny Elfman onstage: 'It was the most intense fear I've felt in my career'", The Guardian, July 6, 2015.
- Columbia Artists. "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra “Eleven Eleven” composed by Danny Elfman", columbia-artists.com, June 21, 2017.
- Kruse, Kyle (February 22, 2018). "Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet premieres Danny Elfman piece at Lied Center". The Daily Nebraskan. Lincoln, NE. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Portwood, Jerry (March 11, 2019). "Danny Elfman to Score 'Gary' Production on Broadway". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
- Philip Glass Center. "Third Coast Percussion Performs Elfman & Glass: World Premiere", philipglasscenter.org, September 11, 2019 (retrieved).
- Vartan, Kristin (January 3, 2020). "Fans express their shock, excitement over Danny Elfman performing at Coachella 2020". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
- Sisario, Ben (March 10, 2020). "Coachella, Influential Music Festival, Is Postponed Amid Virus Fears". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Composer Danny Elfman Scores First Emmy Award". BMI.com. Broadcast Music, Inc. September 21, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
- "Soundtrack Album for ABC's 'When We Rise' Announced". Film Music Reporter. February 9, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- "Danny Elfman: Awards & Nominations". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. September 18, 2016. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
- Lindquist, David (July 5, 2019). "'Stranger Things 3' music digs up gems from '80s charts and movies". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, IN. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- Adams, David (March 18, 2004). "Danny Elfman Does Fable". IGN.com. Ziff Davis, LLC. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- Fahey, Mike (November 6, 2008). "Fable II Soundtrack Coming This Month". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- "Organa's New Puppet Masterpiece Theater Features Original Music from Grammy Winner Danny Elfman". PRWeb. Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC. October 17, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Music for a Darkened Theatre: Film & Television Music Volume One (booklet). Danny Elfman. Universal City, CA: MCA Records. 1990. p. 2. MCD10065.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Elfman, Danny. "Wacky Tracks", September 17, 2019 (recovered).
- "Review: Psycho (1998) (Bernard Herrmann/Danny Elfman/Steve Bartek)". FilmTracks. November 27, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
So loyal is Elfman (and cohort Steve Bartek) to Herrmann's original intent that he succeeded better than anyone else at re-recording the work.
- Zahed, Ramin (November 2, 2000). "Stainboy". Variety. Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
Also effective is Burton’s frequent music collaborator Danny Elfman, who offers a grandiose, orchestral score to the Stainboy’s adventures.
- "GALLERY 22: Best of the US - Honda". Campaign. London: Haymarket Media Group. November 30, 2002. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- Ng, David (August 30, 2019). "Danny Elfman to bring concert of Tim Burton movie music to L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
[Danny Elfman and John Mauceri] also collaborated on “The Overeager Overture,” which was performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2006.
- Donelson, Sophie (October 22, 2006). "The Costumes Are All Vintage. Very Tiny Vintage". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
It is Mr. Sanko’s first feature-length marionette performance, in addition to being an outlet for the composer Danny Elfman to indulge his dark side in between writing songs for the new movie version of 'Charlotte’s Web.'
- Napolitano, Dean (June 14, 2013). "Danny Elfman on Scoring for a Disney Ride". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
...the film composer Danny Elfman jumped at the chance to try something new: creating the music for Mystic Manor, a new Disneyland ride in Hong Kong...Figures in Chinese art leap off the walls, Roman frescos come alive, musical instruments play themselves, and floating headgear from armored suits sing in three languages: Mandarin, Cantonese and English. (“It’s me singing in English, by the way,” Mr. Elfman says.)
- Thalia. "Elfman at Oscars ceremony", Elfman World, February 29, 2016.
- Stefansky, Emma. "Danny Elfman Wrote a Soundtrack for Trump Stalking Behind Hillary During the Debate", Vanity Fair, October 15, 2016.
- Torres, Eric (April 21, 2020). "Danny Elfman Records Home Video Performing Oingo Boingo's "Running on a Treadmill": Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- Tangcay, Jazz (August 21, 2020). "Joe Biden's DNC Videos Were Shot by An Oscar-Winning Documentarian". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2020.