Stanley Myers (6 October 1930 — 9 November 1993), was a prolific British film composer who scored over sixty films. Born in Birmingham, as a teenager Myers went to King Edward’s School in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham. He is also known for composers music for cult films House of Whipcord, Frightmare and House of Mortal Sin for cult filmmaker Peter Walker.
He is best known for Cavatina (1970), an evocative guitar piece that served as the signature theme for Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deer Hunter, and for which Myers won the Ivor Novello Award. A somewhat different version of this work, performed by John Williams, had appeared in The Walking Stick. And yet another version had lyrics added. Cleo Laine and Iris Williams, in separate recordings as He Was Beautiful, helped to make Cavatina become even more popular.
The song received new life in 2007 when Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts included it in his debut album, One Chance.
Myers also wrote incidental music for a 1964 serial in the television series Doctor Who, and the theme for the BBC’s Question Time.
During the 1980s, Myers worked frequently with director Stephen Frears. His score for Up Your Ears (1987) won him a “Best Artistic Contribution” award at the Cannes Film Festival. He also scored several low budget features (“Time Traveler”, “Blind Date”, “The Wind”, “Zero Boys”) for director Nico Mastorakis, collaborating with Hans Zimmer.
Myers died of cancer aged 63 in Kensington and Chelsea, London.
“Cavatina” is a classical guitar piece by Stanley Myers and is most famous as the theme from The Deer Hunter.
The piece had been recorded by classical guitarist John Williams, long before the film that made it famous. It had originally been written for piano but at Williams’ invitation, Myers re-wrote it for guitar and expanded it. After this transformation, it was first used for the film, The Walking Stick (1970). In 1973, Cleo Laine wrote lyrics and recorded the song as “He Was Beautiful” accompanied by John Williams.
Following the release of The Deer Hunter in 1978, Williams’ instrumental version of “Cavatina” became a UK Top 20 hit. Two other versions also made the Top 20 the same year – another instrumental recording by The Shadows, with an electric guitar played by Hank Marvin (#9 in the UK singles charts); and a vocal version (using Cleo Laine’s lyrics) by Iris Williams.
The song was also recorded by Paul Potts on his debut album, One Chance. There is a gospel version set to Cavatina called “Beautiful” the author is Billy Evmur and it appears in the “Dove On A Distant Oak Tree” collection. Another vocal version with different lyrics was recorded by Vince Hill (released on the compilation The Ember Records Story Vol. 2 – 1960-1979).
Duration : 0:3:11