47 Facts About Danny Elfman


Daniel Robert Elfman was born on May 29,1953 and is an American film composer, singer and songwriter.


Danny Elfman came to prominence as the singer-songwriter for the new wave band Oingo Boingo in the early 1980s.


Since scoring his first studio film in 1985, Danny Elfman has garnered international recognition for composing over 100 feature film scores, as well as compositions for television, stage productions, and the concert hall.


Danny Elfman wrote music for all of the Men in Black and Fifty Shades of Grey franchise films, the songs and score for Henry Selick's animated musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the themes for the popular television series Desperate Housewives and The Simpsons.


Danny Elfman was born on May 29,1953 in Los Angeles, California, to a Jewish family of Polish-Jewish and Russian-Jewish descent.


Danny Elfman is a son of Blossom Elfman, a writer and teacher, and Milton Elfman, a teacher, and the brother of actor, musician, and journalist Richard Elfman.


Danny Elfman was raised in a racially mixed affluent community in Baldwin Hills, California, where he spent much of his time at the local cinema discovering classic sci-fi, fantasy and horror films and first noticed the music of such film composers as Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman.


Danny Elfman has admitted to fabricating stories about his past out of boredom, including a false birthplace of Amarillo, Texas, and parents in the United States Air Force.


Danny Elfman then embarked on a ten-month, self-guided tour through Africa, busking and collecting a range of West African percussion instruments until a series of illnesses forced him to return home.


Danny Elfman was tasked with adapting and arranging 1920s and 1930s jazz and big band music by artists such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt and Josephine Baker for the ensemble, which consisted of up to 15 performers playing upwards of 30 instruments.


Danny Elfman composed original pieces and helped build instruments unique for the group, including an aluminum gamelan, the 'Schlitz celeste' made from tuned beer cans, and a "junkyard orchestra" built from car parts and trash cans.


Danny Elfman pared the group down to eight players to record and tour as a ska-influenced new wave band under the name to Oingo Boingo.


The band appeared performing their single "Dead Man's Party" in the 1986 movie Back to School, for which Danny Elfman composed the score.


Danny Elfman shifted the band to a more guitar-oriented rock sound in the late 1980s, which continued through their last album Boingo in 1994.


On October 31,2015, Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek performed the song "Dead Man's Party" with an orchestra as an encore to a live-to-film concert of The Nightmare Before Christmas score at the Hollywood Bowl.


Danny Elfman told the audience the performance was "20 years to the day" of Oingo Boingo's retirement.


Danny Elfman was initially apprehensive because of his lack of formal training and having never scored a studio feature, but after Burton accepted his initial demo of the title music, and with orchestration assistance from Oingo Boingo guitarist and arranger Steve Bartek, Danny Elfman completed the score to great effect, paying homage to influential film composers Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann.


Danny Elfman described the first time he heard his music played by a full orchestra as one of the most thrilling experiences of his life.


In 1993, Danny Elfman wrote the score and ten songs for the Burton-produced stop motion animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, directed by Henry Selick, and provided the singing voice for main character Jack Skellington, as well as the voices for secondary characters Barrel, the Clown with the Tear-Away Face and others.


Danny Elfman scored Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002 and Spider-Man 2 in 2004, themes and selections from which were used for Raimi's Spider-Man 3, scored by Christopher Young.


Danny Elfman entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe by providing additional music an 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, receiving composer credit with Brian Tyler.


Danny Elfman scored MCU's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022, utilizing Giacchino's theme to the original Doctor Strange film, as well as themes from WandaVision and X-Men: The Animated Series, and music from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Bach's Toccata and Fugue.


For several high-profile sequel and reboot projects in the 2010s, Danny Elfman incorporated established musical themes with his own original thematic material, including the DC Extended Universe's Justice League, The Grinch, Dumbo and Men in Black International.


Danny Elfman was featured in the 2016 documentary Score, in which he appeared among over 50 film composers to discuss the craft of movie music and influential figures in the business.


In 2008, Danny Elfman accepted his first commission for the stage, composing the music for Twyla Tharp's Rabbit and Rogue ballet, co-commissioned by American Ballet Theatre and Orange County Performing Arts Center and premiering on June 3,2008, at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center.


Since 2015, Danny Elfman has appeared regularly in a Hollywood Bowl Halloween concert featuring full orchestra performing the Nightmare Before Christmas score live to the film projection.


Danny Elfman adapted his original themes for the animated versions of Batman and Beetlejuice.


Danny Elfman has composed music for animated shorts, including Sally Cruikshank's Face Like A Frog and Tim Burton's "Stainboy" internet series.


Danny Elfman provided background music for Luigi Serafini's solo exhibition il Teatro della Pittura at the Fondazione Mudima di Milano in Milan, Italy in 1998 and for the Tim Burton exhibition at MoMA in 2009.


Danny Elfman scored the 10-minute video "Joe Biden," which introduced Joe Biden's acceptance of the presidential candidacy nomination at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.


In October 2020, Danny Elfman released the single, "Happy," on Anti- Records and Epitaph Records.


Danny Elfman has said his major influences are composers from Hollywood's Golden Age, such as Bernard Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin, Max Steiner, David Tamkin, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Carl Stalling; 20th century classical composers Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Carl Orff; and jazz, experimental and minimalist composers Kurt Weill, Duke Ellington, Harry Partch, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich.


Danny Elfman counts Herrmann as his biggest influence, and has said hearing Herrmann's score to The Day the Earth Stood Still when he was a child was the first time he recognized film music as a cinematic art form and realized the powerful contribution a composer makes to the movies.


Danny Elfman then spends a few weeks of free composition and experimentation to begin working out thematic material and to develop sounds and the harmonic pallette.


When he has received approval on initial material from the filmmakers, Danny Elfman begins to compose anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes of music cue-by-cue.


Danny Elfman says two of the most important things to capture at this point are the tone of each scene and editorial rhythm.


Danny Elfman oversees the recording from the control booth so that he can troubleshoot with the film's director and recording engineers.


Danny Elfman adds his own vocals into compositions in much the same way he mixes his percussion and guitar performances into orchestral arrangements.


Danny Elfman provided the singing voice for characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride in addition to composing the scores and songs, and can be heard singing the "Day-O" call in the style of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" in the first bars of the Beetlejuice main title.


Danny Elfman typically writes the lyrics to songs he has composed for movies.


Danny Elfman employs song structures from Tin Pan Alley and early musical theatre composers, and pop and rock of the 1950s and 1960s.


Danny Elfman wrote the lyrics and music for ten songs featured in the stop-motion musical The Nightmare Before Christmas.


Danny Elfman has two daughters, Lola and Mali, from his marriage to Geri Eisenmenger.


Danny Elfman is the uncle of actor Bodhi Elfman, who is married to actress Jenna Elfman.


Danny Elfman has been an atheist since the age of 11 or 12.


In October 2016, Danny Elfman produced a video clip for Funny or Die with original "horror" music composed to footage of Donald Trump pacing around Hillary Clinton at the second United States presidential election debates, 2016.


Christina Aguilera revealed that Danny Elfman's music inspired her Las Vegas concert residency The Xperience.