How the main theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean" was created

"That's the worst idea I ever heard!"

The story behind "He's a Pirate," the legendary tune from Pirates of the Caribbean

"Pirates of the Caribbean - an extremely successful movie franchise that needs no introduction. Best of all, when the first Heartthrob Pirate movie was released in 2003 Jack Sparrow was released - some did not believe in its success! And when director Gore Verbinski told composer Hans Zimmer about his idea, he just grinned and muttered:

"That's the worst idea I ever heard!"

But as a result, the film, inspired by the park attraction Disneyland, turned out to be a success! It launched an entire series of adventure blockbusters, made the already notorious Johnny Depp an idol of children and adults, and gave us a cool theme "He's a Pirate"which from time to time sounds in my head...

"Worst idea I ever heard!"

Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer has long ago made a name for himself as Hollywood's leading film composer! His arsenal includes the soundtracks to Dune, Gladiator and a number of other films (including cartoons), as well as prestigious awards (Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy, Classical Brit Awards). Also to his credit is the music from "Pirates of the Caribbean.. Nevertheless, it was written completely accidentally and in a hurry, and Zimmer himself initially did not even believe in the success of the adventure blockbuster!

"When Gore Verbinski told me about his idea for a pirate movie that was inspired by a Disneyland attraction, I was less than impressed. "Really? That's the worst idea I've ever heard!" I said. But later, when I read the script and saw the filming process and so on, I was dumbfounded! It was brilliant, and I realized I was wrong."

Klaus Badelt is on the case

Klaus Badelt
Klaus Badelt

With real footage in his head, Zimmer realized that this was a project worth contributing to. But there was one problem: The leading Hollywood composer had absolutely no time - at least not as much as the whole soundtrack demanded. At that moment, Zimmer was already working on another project and, in general, was not even planning to take on anything else. But the pirates literally smote the maestro, and to refuse them was beyond his power. Fortunately, Hans quickly found a way out of the stalemate: the pirates were called in to help. Klaus Badelt - another German musical talent. So, the music for "The Curse of the Black Pearl (the title of the first part) is a credit to two geniuses who, by the way, have worked together before. But the title theme "He's a Pirate"Like many other tracks, it was written by Zimmer himself.

"I started work at 7:30 p.m. and didn't finish everything until 5 a.m. I was literally torn - there was a lot of tension, inspiration, a flood of ideas! I was terribly tired - I worked without a break because I was running out of time. In the morning my fingers refused to move, but I still finished that theme and a few more tunes!"

That's actually how it was born. "He's a Pirate" in particular, and the soundtrack in general. By the way: the title theme of the film instantly appealed to the audience and over the following years gained more than 115 million listens on Spotify! The track became so popular that famous DJs of this world, such as Tiësto and Rebel, were proud to present their remixes! We suggest, by the way, to evaluate them too.



The secret of success with three notes

Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer

Perhaps while watching "The Curse of the Black Pearl" you may have thought that the tracks in the film have certain resemblance... They are very closely united by something, but it's hard to understand what it is! If you've wondered about this, we hasten to tell you: not for nothing. In spite of the complex score, most of the songs in this film begin... three notes!

"It's no joke: all the tunes in the movie start with the same three notes! It was quite comical in the process - sometimes Gore Verbinski would say, 'Well, why don't we use that other tune? All I had to do was ask which tune, to which Gore would sing the first three notes! It was hard to know what tune we were talking about!"

Frame from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, pictured Johnny Depp
Frame from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, pictured Johnny Depp

After the success of "The Black Pearl," Zimmer composed the music for the following three partsincluding "Dead Man's Chest" and "At the End of the World. The composer later explained why he still used the same three notes.

"I completely deconstruct them. I found a way to completely deconstruct them. It's funny to see that you can do so much with just three notes!"


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