Fame was a film directed by Alan Parker, a serious auteur (some would say overly serious, especially in light of the work that came later) who designed the film for posterity, and the same attitude carried over the music. Yes, the production techniques often do sound dated – the over-reliance on state-of-the-art synthesizer ironically now sounds helplessly tied to the year of its creation – but the music by Michael Gore is dynamic, varied, and alive, sung with real passion and vigor, and it still retains its essential spark 23 years after it was a pop culture phenomenon. Sure, it's glitzy and glossy, sounding like show tunes, but that's the tradition of this music, and it was done better than most Broadway tunes and movie soundtracks of the '80s. Years later, this still has the spark and vitality of kids trying to make their big break, no matter the kind of music they're singing, and that's one of the main reasons (along with Gore's fine compositions) Fame retains its power and entertainment value years later.
Whenever he was asked to name his own personal favorite within his long and distinguished oeuvre, Jerry Goldsmith inevitably cited his work on 1977's obscure Ernest Hemingway adaptation Islands in the Stream. A lush, often melancholy score evoking both the serenity and the treachery of the sea, it is undoubtedly Goldsmith's most intimate effort, eschewing the larger-than-life drama and suspense of his best-known soundtracks. Islands in the Stream is above all a showcase for the composer's consummate ability to vividly communicate both the physical and emotional landscape in such simple yet precise strokes – employing little but a lone French horn, Goldsmith's main theme captures the immense loneliness and solitude of George C. Scott's protagonist, while gentle woodwinds suggest the ocean waves lapping the shore of his island home.