The haunting orchestral score to director Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic “Taxi Driver” (just released by Arista on the complete “Taxi Driver” soundtrack) was the last music created by Academy Award-winning composer Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann, who also wrote the scores for “Citizen Kane” and “Psycho,” died on December 24, 1975 – one day after he finished recording the last note of music for “Taxi Driver,” the film about a disturbed Vietnam vet turned Manhattan cabbie named Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro).
“Travis Bickle was the kind of person who didn’t listen to anything besides the voices in his own head, and I was convinced that the only person who could capture this state of mind was Bernard Herrmann,” says Scorsese, 55, on the album’s liner notes.
But when Scorsese first asked Herrmann to collaborate, the 63-year-old composer replied, “I don’t do things about cab drivers.” The director persisted. He sent Herrmann a copy of the script and arranged a meeting in London. Herrmann finally relented. Explains Scorsese: “He said, ‘I liked when he [Bickle] poured peach brandy on the cornflakes. I’ll do it.’”