Listen to the Original Score for Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’

David Shire's synth-heavy score offers a new way of seeing (and hearing) Coppola's classic.

If you’re a film soundtrack nerd, you probably love composer David Shire, who created the scores for greats like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Conversation, and parts of Saturday Night Fever. You may also know him as the guy who got fired by Francis Ford Coppola.

Shire was originally hired to compose the soundtrack for the director’s 1979 war film Apocalypse Now, but a disagreement with the famous filmmaker left Shire’s creation to languish in obscurity. Basically, Shire took another gig while Coppola was filming overseas, and the director didn’t approve. NPR has some other juicy details on that, but we digress . . . . Now, the original synth score is being released for your listening pleasure.

Shire’s firing shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows the history of Apocalypse Now, which was plagued with delays, money woes, real-life health scares, nervous breakdowns, and general chaos. Shire’s soundtrack should be a favorite for anyone who loves their scores on the experimental side and appreciates the works of other synth-heavy soundtrack artists like Tangerine Dream.

Listen to a clip from the unused Apocalypse Now soundtrack, below.