If you can hum a classic movie theme song, there’s a good chance it was written by John Williams. From “Star Wars” and “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” to “Jaws” and “Harry Potter,” the superstar composer has, over nearly six decades, more or less built the template for what blockbuster Hollywood film scores ought to sound like.
Believe it or not, though, that kind of influence doesn’t always spell chart success. Despite boasting more than 20 Grammys (and twice that in nominations), one of Williams’ most iconic themes -- the original “Jurassic Park Theme” -- has never made it into the top 10. Any top 10.
Until now, that is: On the eve of the release of the franchise’s newest installment, “Jurassic World,” his song hit the No. 9 slot on the Classical Digital Songs chart last week. It then sold a whopping 1,000 downloads to rise to No. 6 this week, Billboard reports. The soundtrack for the original movie managed to hit only No. 36 on the Billboard 200 when it debuted in 1993; it’s sold 185,000 digital copies to date (to say nothing of millennial-baiting vinyl).
Even weirder: “World”’s score was composed by Michael Giacchino, not Williams (though with credits like “Cloverfield,” “Up” and “Ratatouille,” Giacchino is perhaps the closest thing Williams has to an heir in Hollywood). The new “World” soundtrack does contain an updated version of Williams’ original -- much like Giacchino’s previous theme updates with J.J. Abrams two “Star Trek” reboots -- but it’s the original, not the adaptation, that’s finally charted.
In “Jurassic Park'”s defense, until recently soundtracks rarely did the phenomenal pop-worthy numbers they’ve done with sets like those of “Twilight” and “Hunger Games.” Billboard also mentions that the main theme song would have charted way higher when first released, but the Classical Digital Songs chart didn’t launch until 2010, 17 years after the tune’s debut. Sorry about that, strings section.