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Awesome Men Throughout History: Giorgio Moroder

I think most of us like at least some electronic music. Your interest in it might be limited to wanting a 4/4 dance beat when you’re on the elliptical, or maybe you’re one of those hipster guys in colored jeans who still thinks Daft Punk’s Homework is the greatest album of all time, but it’s there either way. No need to be ashamed of it; electronic music and its bajillions of subgenres—techno, house, synthpop, trip-hop, dubstep, etc.—have become so ubiquitous over the years that it’s impossible not to like some of it.

Which is where this week’s Awesome Man Throughout History comes in; record producer, songwriter, and composer Giorgio Moroder had a significant influence on electronic music thanks to his work with synthesizers in the late 1970s and 1980s. In fact, the garish, neon-lit pulse of the 1980s was a direct result of Moroder’s work, since he also scored a lot of film soundtracks that forever anchored synthesizer music to that decade.

He also, as you can see from his photo, had one of the best mustaches in the history of the music industry. It’s downright majestic. I want to hang out with that mustache.

As a producer, Moroder worked with Donna Summer on songs like “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You Baby,” which (unfortunately) means that you can blame him for some of disco’s popularity as well. Luckily, Moroder also founded Munich’s Musicland Studios, where bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen and Elton John recorded, and he did produce songs for David Bowie and Blondie.

As a composer/arranger, Moroder’s best and most enduring song is probably “The Chase,” which he put together for the 1978 film Midnight Express. It’s a great, if simple, piece of music, and you can almost see the highway lane stripes whizzing by faster and faster as the song progresses.

Moroder won an Oscar for his work on Midnight Express, and won two more for contributing songs to Flashdance (“Flashdance”) and Top Gun (“Take My Breath Away”). Moroder produced music for a lot of movies, including The Never Ending Story, American Gigolo, Scarface, and Beverly Hills Cop II. The Scarface soundtrack was reintroduced to a new audience through video games, namely Grand Theft Auto III’s use of “Push It to the Limit,” and the two video games directly based on the film.

See what I mean, though? A lot of movies that defined the 1980s (and its subsequent revival) wouldn’t have had that same impact without Moroder supplying the backbeat, so to speak. And even if you hate a lot of the European house music crap that Ke$ha and Lady Gaga put in their music, you can’t deny its popularity, nor can you deny the debt those producers owe to Giorgio Moroder.

Before we go, let’s take another look at that amazing mustache. Man. So awesome.

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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.

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