A former member of the 60s rock/classical crossover band the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, this prolific composer, conductor, and arranger worked predominantly in the world of film.
After studying the oboe at the Juilliard School of Music, Kamen contributed some music to the off-beat rock Western movie Zachariah in 1971. Later in the 70s, he wrote the complete scores for The Next Man, Between The Lines, and Stunts. During the 80s he scored and co-composed the music for several movies with some of contemporary pop music's most illustrious names, such as Eric Clapton (Lethal Weapon, Homeboy, and Lethal Weapon II), George Harrison (Shanghai Surprise), David A. Stewart (Rooftops), and Herbie Hancock (Action Jackson). Subsequently, Kamen scored some of the period's most entertaining and diverting UK and US movies, which included Venom, The Wall, Angleo, My Love, The Dead Zone, Brazil (supposedly his favourite score), Mona Lisa, Riot, Sue And Bob, Too, Someone To Watch Over Me, Suspect, Die Hard and Die Hard II, Raggedy Rawney, Crusoe, For Queen And Country, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, Dead-Bang (with Gary Chang), Road House, Renegades, and Licence To Kill, Timothy Dalton's second attempt to replace Connery and Moore as James Bond.
In the early 90s Kamen composed the music for The Krays and Let Him Have It, two movies that reflected infamous criminal incidents in the UK. His subsequent soundtrack work included Nothing But Trouble, Hudson Hawk, The Last Boy Scout, Company Business, Blue Ice, Lethal Weapon 3, Shining Through, Blue Ice, Splitting Heirs, Last Action Hero, The Three Muskateers, Circle Of Friends, Don Juan De Marco, and X-Men. In several instances, besides scoring the films, Kamen served as musical director, music editor, and played keyboards and other instruments. In 1991, he provided the music for the smash hit Kevin Costner movie, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, and, with lyricists Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange, composed the closing number, '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You'. Adams' recording of the song enjoyed phenomenal success, staying at the top of the UK chart for an unprecedented 16 weeks. It was nominated for an Academy Award, and Kamen received two Grammys and a special Ivor Novello Award. Three years later the trio of songwriters repeated their success with 'All For Love', which was recorded by Adams, together with Sting and Rod Stewart, and turned up at the end of The Three Musketeers and at the top of the UK chart.
Kamen composed music for television films such as Liza's Pioneer Diary, S*H*E, Shoot For The Sun, and television mini-series such as The Duty Men (theme: 'Watching You' (with Sashazoe)), Band Of Brothers, and Edge Of Darkness. The theme from the latter, written with Eric Clapton, gained another Ivor Novello Award (1985). He also wrote a guitar concerto for Clapton, a saxophone concerto for David Sanborn, and composed several scores for the Joffrey Ballet and the La Scala Opera Company. In the world of rock he worked with Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, and Metallica. He was the musical director for Queen Elizabeth II's golden jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace in summer 2002.
Kamen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, but did not go public about the disease until 2003. Tragically, he then succumbed to a heart attack in November after collapsing at his London home.
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