From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928; sometimes also credited as Dan Savio or Leo Nichols) is an Italian composer especially noted for his film scores. He has composed and arranged scores for more than 400 film and television productions, more than any other composer living or deceased. He is best known for the characteristic sparse and memorable soundtracks of Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), immediately recognizable due to Alessandro Alessandroni's whistling.
Early pop arrangements
In 1956, married with three children, Morricone started to support his family by playing in a jazz band and arranging pop songs for Radiotelevisione Italiana. He was hired by RAI in 1958, but quit his job on his first day at work when he was told that broadcasting of music composed by employees was forbidden by a company rule. Subsequently, Morricone became a top studio arranger at RCA, working with Renato Rascel, Rita Pavone and Mario Lanza. A particular success was one of his own songs, "Se telefonando". Performed by Mina, it was the standout track of Studio Uno 66, the 5th biggest selling album of the year 1966 in Italy. Morricone's arrangement of "Se telefonando" featured melodic trumpet lines, Hal Blaine-style drumming, a string set, a sixties Europop female choir and intensive subsonic-sounding trombones. The Italian Hitparade #7 song had eight transitions of tonality building tension throughout the chorus.