I dread to think what the state of society would be without the contributions of legendary composer, director, and actor John Carpenter. An artist in every sense, his constant experimentation has helped to push each three of the aforementioned mediums forward, and today you see his influence ubiquitous.
Notably, his greatest achievements have come in the horror and sci-fi genres. As a director, he’s made some of the most cherished cult flicks of all-time, such as the original Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From New York, Christine, and more.
He fully understands the symbiotic relationship between the audio and the visual, and his works excel in both these departments, often conjuring goosebumps that refuse to go away, leaving an impression on the audience that they never forget. This sense of atmosphere carries all of his films, and in terms of suspense, he ranks among the finest auteurs such as Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini.
Much of Carpenter’s aptitude as an artist can be traced back to the fact that before all else, he is a musician, and a brilliant one at that. As you might have guessed if you’ve seen any of his legendary films, Carpenter is a total anomaly, as he’s both a revered director and soundtrack composer.
Through this, he’s been able to fully explore the themes he wants to, creating an experience like no other. There’s even an argument to be made that the strength of his music has defined his iconic visual style, and it’s hard to disagree with.
Given that he is so well respected as a soundtrack composer and a lifelong consumer of great music, over the years Carpenter has been asked to share his opinion on a wide array of music. At different points, he has mentioned his love of acts such as Tangerine Dream, The Police, Goblin, The Beatles, and Warren Zevon.
It is no secret that Carpenter is a lifelong fan of The Beatles, and he’s just spoken to Stereogum for Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday. Asked to pick his favourite song by McCartney he chose The Beatles’ ‘You Won’t See Me’ from 1965’s Rubber Soul, and gave a lucid account of why.
He explained: “It’s on Rubber Soul, and it hit me at the right time, when I was an adolescent. I just love the song. It’s not as flashy as his other stuff, and it’s not really as memorable as his other stuff. But I love it, I love the way they arranged it, with the harmony in the background. I used to listen to it over and over again.”
Carpenter added: “They were the definitive thing for me. It didn’t start that way. But I got curious — who are these guys, what is this band about? Then I got into it. I started listening to their songs and they were so great. I just fell in love with them. I was a raving maniac all the way to the end.”
“My first love was movies, and that’s the love that is the most powerful for me. But second was rock ‘n’ roll. The Beatles, they were gigantic for me. It was a great time for music back then. It seemed like every week something new and incredible came out. It still amazes me. I listen to them now, watch some of the videos they did. There was a particular time in their music, and it’s before Sgt. Pepper. That’s when I fell in love with the Beatles, and Paul’s ballad-y stuff. There’s nothing like that now. And nothing can replace it. But those days are gone, and here we are.”