Titanic is 20 years old | Entertainment, News,


There is a story going around about how Celine Dion recorded My Heart Will Go On, the theme from the motion picture Titanic composed by James Horner with lyrics by Will Jennings. Dion was at the time the hot import from Canada and in great demand as singer of movie theme songs. Among these were When I Fall In Love from Sleepless in Seattle and Beauty and the Beast from the Disney animated flick. There was no way she would not have been asked to also sing for the much-awaited Titanic.

It is said that Dion asked for a screening of the film during the recording. Then as her emotions built up towards Titanic’s tragic climax, she put on the headphones, went to the microphone stand and sang. “Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you/ that is how I know you, go on… my heart will go on…” The result helped raise over a billion dollars in box-office receipts, reaped several awards for Horner and Dion, who became an even bigger star and gave birth to a beloved classic which is certainly one of the most beautiful songs ever written. The soundtrack has so far already sold over 30 million copies.

The Titanic soundtrack album was released in November 1997. It contained Horner’s masterful use of synthesizers, an orchestra and a chorale to convey the emotions that ran as the ship sailed to its cold deathbed. He mixed his new original compositions like the uplifting Hymn To The Sea, along with popular music of the early 20th century like Alexander’s Ragtime Band and then tied it up with a sweet Dion ribbon.

I do not know if the producers already had an idea of the massive impact that Titanic would have on culture and the entertainment industry when the album came out. They would have been happy with a box-office hit. What they got instead come Dec. 19, 1997 was a commercial behemoth with a heart. And how nice to know that it keeps on earning its keep even after 20 years.

Director James Cameron (right) on the set with lead stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Titanic is an epic love story between Jack and Rose who come from opposite social classes. It is set on the largest, most luxurious passenger ship of the time, the RMS Titanic which sank into the sea after it collided with an iceberg on April 15, 1912 while on its way to New York from Southampton. Jack and Rose fell in love during the voyage but were separated with Jack’s death in the freezing waters. Years later, a 100-year-old Rose would tell their story.

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Titanic was written and directed by James Cameron, the Canadian filmmaker famous for the Aliens and Terminator series. It was then the most expensive film ever made with a budget of $200M. After he was turned down by several Hollywood big names, he cast two 21-year-olds on the verge of stardom in the lead roles, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose. Young, intense and tremendously attractive, the two exhibited not only natural chemistry but also the ability to make movie-goers love them. That love is still going around to the tune of the $2.18B that Titanic has already earned.

For his music, Cameron turned to Horner, who previously worked in The Land Before Time and Star Trek films. Titanic garnered 14 Academy Award nominations and won 11 of them, including Best Picture and Best Director. Horner also got his for Best Dramatic Score and Best Song. Likewise at the Golden Globes, the Satellite Awards, the Brit Awards, the Blockbuster Awards, etc., etc. and not to forget, the Grammys, which gave My Heart Will Go On the Record of the Year, the Song of the Year and the Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television Awards. Sad to say that Horner died when the plane he was flying crashed on June 22, 2015. He was 61 years old.

 But Horner’s music lives on in his films, most especially in Titanic. Aside from the original soundtrack, there is also the Back To Titanic album that features music from the movie not used in the first album, Horner’s Titanic Suite and The Deep and Timeless Sea with the London Symphony Orchestra, cuts by the Salonisti Quintet which performed in the film and Dion’s first take of My Heart Will Go On that includes dialogue by Jack and Rose from the picture. I remember how much local DJs loved playing this version.

And now for the latest. A 20th anniversary edition of the soundtrack has been released on transparent vinyl with a gatefold cover, booklet, poster and other goodies to delight a collector’s heart. Titanic does go on.

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