Bill Conti
Conti in 2008
Conti in 2008
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Conti
Born (1942-04-13) April 13, 1942 (age 82)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
GenresFilm score, disco
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor
Years active1969–present

William Conti (born April 13, 1942) is an American composer and conductor,[1] best known for his film scores, including Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), The Karate Kid I (1984), The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), The Next Karate Kid (1994), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Dynasty (and its sequel The Colbys), and The Right Stuff (1983), which earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only. He was the musical director at the Academy Awards a record nineteen times.[2]

Conti is known for his collaborations with director John G. Avildsen, having scored fourteen films for Avildsen, beginning with Rocky (1976) and ending with Inferno (1999). Their collaboration included such pictures as the first three films in The Karate Kid franchise (1984–1989), Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978), The Formula (1980), and Neighbors (1981).[3]


Early life

Conti, an Italian American, was born in Providence, Rhode Island,[1] the son of Lucetta and William Conti.[4] He graduated from North Miami High School in 1959.[5] He is a past winner of the Silver Knight Award presented by the Miami Herald.[6] He is a graduate of Louisiana State University School of Music,[1] where he met his wife Shelby Cox, and earned a master's degree with honors from the Juilliard School of Music.[1]

Rocky series

As early as 1971, Bill was orchestrating pop recordings by Italian artists, such as the album Sì... incoerenza ("Yes to Incoherence") by Italian singer Patty Pravo.[7] He was also a ghostwriter of the scores for Spaghetti Westerns.[4] Conti's big break into celebrity came in 1976, when United Artists hired him to compose the music for a small film called Rocky.[1] The film became a phenomenon and won three Oscars at the 49th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The same ceremony was also the first time Conti served as musical director for the telecast, a role he reprised 19 times, more than any other person. His training montage tune, "Gonna Fly Now", topped the Billboard singles chart in 1977, and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.[1]

Conti also composed music for the sequels Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky V (1990)[1] and Rocky Balboa (2006).

Other film and television credits

Conti also worked for some other films and, eventually, for television series. In 1981, he wrote the music for the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only,[1] when John Barry was unwilling to return to the United Kingdom for tax reasons,[8] and provided the score for playwright Jason Miller's film version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play That Championship Season the following year.

In 1983, Conti composed the score for HBO's first film, The Terry Fox Story.[9] He then did Bad Boys, Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story, Mass Appeal.[10] In 1984, he won an Academy Award for composing the score to 1983's The Right Stuff,[11] after which he wrote the music for the TV series North and South in 1985.[12] He also scored the Masters of the Universe live action film. Another score was the 1987 film Happy New Year.[13]

In 1991, Conti composed for Necessary Roughness, a college football film.[14] In 1993, he wrote the music for The Adventures of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood and directed by Stephen Sommers. In 1999, he composed the score for The Thomas Crown Affair remake, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. That year, he scored Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.[15]

Conti composed the themes to television's Dynasty,[16] The Colbys, Falcon Crest and Cagney & Lacey.[17] He wrote the theme song to the original version of American Gladiators, worked with CBS on its 1980s film jingle, composed one of the early themes of Inside Edition,[18] and wrote the Primetime Live theme for ABC News.[19] He composed the score to the studio-altered American version of Luc Besson's The Big Blue.[20]

Two of Conti's previously composed works were reused for the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. These were the love theme "Come with Me Now", from the soundtrack for Five Days from Home (used for the show's main theme), and "Runaway", from For Your Eyes Only (used for in-show content).

Awards and nominations

Conti has been nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one in the Best Original Score category for The Right Stuff.[21] He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only.[22]

He had three Golden Globe nominations; two for Best Original Score for Rocky and An Unmarried Woman, and one for Best Original Song for the title song of For Your Eyes Only.[23]

Conti also received thirteen Emmy nominations, all but one for his role as musical director at the Academy Awards (the exception, his first nomination, was for his music for the 1985 series North and South). He won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction for the 64th, 70th and 75th Academy Award ceremonies.[24]

On April 22, 2008, at the LSU Union Theatre at Louisiana State University, Conti was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.[25]

Selected discography


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 297/8. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ "The Music Behind the Screen: Cue Bill Conti". Music Behind the Screen. February 24, 2014. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Inferno - Bill Conti - soundtrack (CD)".
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, Laurence E. (2013). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-8108-9058-9.
  5. ^ "North Miami High School Alumni Events » Famous Pioneers". Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  6. ^ Dahlberg, Nancy (October 30, 2017). "Silver Knight Scholarship Endowment Fund launches with more than $3 million in grants". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Cusimano, Clarissa (July 23, 2020). "Patty Pravo, vita, figli e amori: tutto sulla cantante nota come La Ragazza del Piper". (in Italian). Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  8. ^ Simpson, Paul (2015). Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces of 007. New York: Race Point Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-63106-000-7.
  9. ^ Newman, Peter C. (May 30, 1983). "The Terry Fox project in black". Maclean's. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 17, 1984). "JACK LEMMON IN 'MASS APPEAL'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  11. ^ MacDonald, Laurence E. (2013). The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-8108-9058-9.
  12. ^ Brode, Douglas; Brode, Shea T.; Miller, Cynthia J. (2017). The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-4985-6688-9.
  13. ^ Powell, Larry; Garrett, Tom (2013). The Films of John G. Avildsen: Rocky, The Karate Kid and Other Underdogs. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7864-6692-4.
  14. ^ Johnson, Malcolm L. (September 28, 1991). "UNNECESSARY 'ROUGHNESS' IS PREDICTABLE, COLLEGE-GRIDIRON PICTURE". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  15. ^ Powell & Garrett 2013, p. 217.
  16. ^ Gripsrud, Jostein (2003). The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 0-415-08598-5.
  17. ^ Torres, Agnes (July 6, 1986). "COMPOSER BILL CONTI IS A MASTER OF MOVIE MUSIC". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (May 21, 1991). "Killer Music Signs Big Names to Do Product Jingles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  19. ^ Carter, Bill (August 8, 1989). "A Ripple of Interest for 'PrimeTime Live'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  20. ^ Lanzoni, Rémi Fournier (2015). French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 346. ISBN 978-1-5013-0307-4.
  21. ^ "The 56th Academy Awards (1984) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  22. ^ "COMPOSER CONTI WILL CONDUCT AT 62ND ACADEMY AWARDS". Deseret News. January 24, 1990. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  23. ^ "Bill Conti". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  24. ^ "Awards Search". Emmys. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  25. ^ "BILL CONTI - 2008". Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  26. ^ "Bill Conti: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 8, 2019.