The Sound of Film Music




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Film Music Books

Many of Sammy Cahn's popular movie songs are included in this collection

New Sammy Cahn Songbook



Also available is a multimedia DVD with the book about film music , plus audio clips from Oscar music tributes on radio and also announcements of the Sammy Awards between 1989 and 1995. These audio clips are included at no extra charge as part of this DVD titled,






The Sound of Film Music


Stoughton man alive with the sound of film music


Hall again awards Sammys for best movie music


Roger Hall holds one of the Sammy Awards certificates.
On the bookshelf behind Hall is his book, "A Guide to Film Music - Songs and Scores," and his CD "Film Music and the Sammy Awards."


Stoughton Journal
Mar 19, 2010

Established 22 years ago by Stoughton resident Roger Hall, the Sammys are the Oscars for film music.

As the elite of Hollywood recently handed out revered gold statuettes, Hall sat back and enjoyed the show because his Sammys already were selected, announced and distributed to about a dozen music professionals. 

The New Jersey native created the Sammys following years of frustration over the lack of attention paid to the songs and scores of movies. 

“A lot of people become engrossed in the storyline of the movie and forget there is music underneath - and a lot of times it is the music that reinforces the story or brings out the emotions of viewers,” Hall said.

The Sammys are certificates awarded annually by Hall recognize the professionals who create worthwhile and often exceptional music. 

Hall, a singer, songwriter and composer, named the awards for movie lyricist Sammy Cahn, an Oscar-winning songwriter whose credits include “Three Coins in the Fountain”, “All the Way”, “High Hopes” and “Call Me Irresponsible.”  Frank Sinatra recorded all four songs. Cahn, who died in 1993, contacted Hall and expressed his honor in having the awards named after him. 

When Hall, 67, first created the awards, he focused on just a couple of categories. Over time, he added categories based on the music released that year. For example, a number of times when he felt a song or score wasn’t good or didn’t quite fit a movie, he issued a Sammy for the “Worst Music of the Year.” 

In the early days of the Sammys, Hall announced the winners on WGBH’s “Music America Radio Show” the Sunday two weeks before the Academy Awards. 

“It reached more people that way,” he said.

Unfortunately, the show moved to a different radio station, so Hall instead sends out press releases and lists the awards on his Web site,  The site, a vast resource for music professionals, offers the history of the Sammys as well as a complete list of winners from every year.

As the years have passed, Hall has noticed a decrease in the quality of original songs in movies. In fact, he has not selected a “Best New Film Song” in a couple years because the songs have been “mostly forgettable,” with only a few notable exceptions, including 1996’s “Our Town” from Disney/ Pixar’s animated film, “Cars,” he said. That year, the Sammy was given to singer/songwriter/composer Randy Newman, who did both the music and lyrics for the song.

Although Hall has been impressed with many of Newman’s past works, this year he was not. Newman did not receive a Sammy despite being nominated for two Oscars for his musical work on the Disney movie, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.

Newman also received a Sammy for his original score in the 1993 movie, “Seabiscuit.”

Most years, usually after much phone and e-mail correspondence, Hall mails the Sammys to the recipients. But with Newman’s award for SEABISCUIT, Hall was fortunate enough to meet the celebrity in person.  Newman was in town visiting Harvard and Hall scheduled to meet him to present the award.

“He is a very talented guy – he was very friendly,” Hall said.

A consultant, educator and lecturer, Hall has more than 35 years experience in the music field.   He has his PhD in musicology and is considered one of the foremost authorities on vintage American music. 

Now retired, Hall spent 12 years teaching music in the Brookline Adult and Community Education Program. Over the years, he has authored more than 25 publications including the book, A Guide to Film MusicA long time member of the Old Stoughton Musical Society, he is the editor of the online magazine Film Music Review and is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association.

Each January, Hall goes through all of the English language music releases from the previous year and makes his selections. 

 “I don’t just pick what is popular – I spend a lot of time listening and deciding,” Hall said.

Sometimes his choices are also Oscar nominees and sometimes they are not. For Best Original Score this year, UP, by Michael Giacchino , won the Sammy. It also was nominated for an Oscar and has won a Golden Globe.

“It is the best score that I have heard this year – I’m glad to hear that it is winning those awards,” Hall said.

He is, however, surprised by all of the attention AVATAR is receiving for James Horner’s original score.  Hall didn’t think it was that good and awarded it the Sammy for “Most Overrated New Film Score.”

In addition to recognizing new work, Hall has expanded his awards to encompass several categories including recently re-recorded and released classics.

A music preservationist, a term he coined for himself, Hall is passionate about all music, but especially enjoys the works from films in the Gold (1930s-1950s) and Silver (1960s -1970s) ages. He recommends tuning into the Turner Classic Movies television station where this month all of the old Oscar nominees are being rerun. He hopes that while watching the older films, people will take a step back from the story line to listen to the music. 

Preserving music is very important to him and he believes many composers are not properly recognized. 

“Even though they are writing for big movies or winning awards, it doesn’t mean they become well known,” Hall said.

The Sammys, which are the longest-running awards chosen exclusively for film music recordings, have made Hall feel a bit more satisfied knowing that great music and some of the most deserving songwriters and composers are being recognized.

“I’m just trying to get more respect for the music that deserves to be remembered,” Hall said.

Copyright 2010 Stoughton Journal. Some rights reserved


The 22nd Annual Sammy Movie Music Awards for 2009

Best New Film Score: UP
Music by Michael Giacchino ( Disney Pixar)

Best Overlooked New Film Score: CAPTAIN ABU RAED
Music by Austin Wintory (BSX Records CD)

Most Overrated New Film Score: AVATAR  
Music by James Horner (Fox Music/ Atlantic CD)

Best Golden Age Film Score (1930s-1950s):
Music by Max Steiner (Tribute Film Classics CD)

Best Silver Age Film Score (1960s-1970s):  TIME AFTER TIME (1979)
Music by Miklos Rozsa (Film Score Monthly CD)

Best Bronze Age Film Score CD (1980s-1990s): TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983) Music by Jerry Goldsmith (Film Score Monthly CD)

Best Vintage Compilation: A JOHNNY MANDEL TRIO
Music by Johnny Mandel (Film Score Monthly 3 CD Box Set)

Best Newly Recorded Vintage Film Score: EXODUS (1960)
Music by Ernest Gold (Tadlow CD)

Preservation Award – Best Album Producers:
Anna Bonn, John Morgan, William Stromberg (Tribute Film Classics)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Aaron Copland (1900-1990) – 1 Oscar (1949)

Sammy Awards for 2009




2013 marks the 25th anniversary of these awards:

The Sammy Film Music Awards (Home page)




From: Soundtrack Net - The Art of Film and Television Music


20th Annual Sammy Awards Announced

Release Date: February 16th, 2008


The awards are named after movie lyricist Sammy Cahn (1913-1993), who received 4 Oscars for his songs, and was nominated more than any other songwriter, 26 times in all.  Cahn said he was "flattered and honored" to have these movie music awards named after him. His Oscar-winning songs are: "Three Coins in the Fountain"; "All the Way"; "High Hopes"; "Call Me Irresponsible."  All four songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, who was a big fan of Sammy's lyrics. 

The Sammys are announced in only one category -- film music.   Each of the recipients receive a special certificate. These awards are chosen each year by Roger Hall, a film music historian and author of the book, A Guide to Film Music – Songs and Scores.  He is also the editor of the long-running online magazine,  Film Music Review.

Now here are the...

  20th Annual Sammy Awards for Film Music

Best New Film Score:  ATONEMENT – music by Dario Marianelli (Decca CD)

Best New Film Song: "Lies" from ONCE – music & lyrics by Glen Hansard (Sony CD)

Best Vintage Film Score: RAINTREE COUNTY – music by Johnny Green (Film Score Monthly - 2 CDs)

Best Vintage Compilation: Miklos Rozsa: A Centenary Celebration (Varese Sarabande – 3 CD box set)

Best Restored Film Score: FAHRENHEIT 451 – music by Bernard Herrmann (Tribute Film Classics CD)

Best Restored Compilation: AMAZING STORIES – Anthology Three (Intrada, 2 CDs)

Best Album Producer:  Douglas Fake at Intrada

Lifetime Achievement Award:  Jerry Goldsmith, 1929-2004  

More information about these awards is available at this web page:

From: Soundtrack Net - The Art of Film and Television Music


19th Annual Sammy Awards Announced

Release Date: February 15th, 2007


Each year, The Sammy's recognize the best in film music.

Film music historian and Film Music Review editor  Roger Hall has announced his choices in these six categories:

Best Original Film Score
Best Original Song
Best Compilation
Best Vintage Score
Special Preservation Award
Lifetime Achievement for Movie Songwriters:  Jay Livingston and Ray Evans 

This year for the first time, Hall has named a Special Preservation Award for the monumental 12 CD box set, ELMER BERNSTEIN’S FILM MUSIC COLLECTION with film scores by Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann, Miklos Rozsa, Alfred Newman, Alex North and Dimitri Tiomkin, plus an illustrated 135 page book.

 The Sammy Awards were named for the legendary Sammy Cahn, the most Oscar-nominated songwriter of all time—26 in total, between 1942 and 1973. The first Sammy Awards were chosen for Best Score and Song of 1988 n honor of Cahn's 75th birthday.

For a complete list of Sammy Award categories and winners (as well as the history of The Sammy), please visit the Film Music Review site at this link:


Read the reviews of CDs, DVDs and Books at

Film Music Review (Home page)




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