The Omega Man 2.0—Unlimited

The following producer’s note has been reproduced from the booklet included with the original CD of The Omega Man soundtrack released in the year 2000 (FSMCD Vol. 3, No. 2).

It’s a Family Affair

The Omega Man has been one of the those passionately desired but frustratingly unavailable soundtracks since the film’s release in 1971. Ron Grainer’s music is so memorable and catchy, particularly the melancholy main title theme with its unforgettable mèlange of styles capped by major chords built on a minor scale.

The whole score seeps with melody, despite the seemingly disparate elements of pop, orchestral, jazz and avant-garde effects. It is deeply accessible and solidly tonal, yet sounds nothing like a film score by the titans who otherwise chronicled the Silver Age of sci-fi cinema. The only possible comparison could be to the early jazz-based scores of John Barry, as both Grainer and Barry were recently graduated from British pop arranging, and wrote with melodic cells at the fore of their thinking—but on anything other than a structural level, the musicians were worlds apart.

How was it possible that this music has never been available on an album? The Omega Man was not a mammoth-sized production—one reason why the producers sought out Grainer for one of his few forays in American cinema—and no LP was planned at the time of its release. A 45rpm single was either planned or pressed (featuring the two cues combined as track 2 of this CD) but certainly never distributed. We extend our deep gratitude to Warner Bros. for authorizing this premiere CD release and for keeping their music masters in such pristine condition.

It is always sad to work on an album for which the composer is no longer with us. In the case of Ron Grainer and The Omega Man, we were unable to uncover even a single instance of him discussing the score in print. Danny Gould, a veteran of the Warner Bros. music department, started at the studio shortly before The Omega Man score was recorded and recollects that Grainer was a kind gentleman who made adventurous use of the Yamaha EX-42—a large white organ that sat in the middle of the scoring stage like a prop from a sci-fi film. The star and producer of this film, Charlton Heston and Walter Seltzer, recollect with fondness Grainer’s contribution to their work, and we thank them for their insights.

While producing this album, we did uncover something unexpected yet recognizable. If you journey past the end of the last track you’ll find it—a peek into the world of Ron Grainer and The Omega Man. [Note: This refers to a bonus track, exclusive to the out-of-print first edition, of Grainer conducting a children’s chorus in source music that is heard late in the film.] —