Jerry Fielding papers

Jerry Fielding papers

Dates: 1950-1982

Jerry Fielding papers is comprised of scores, sometimes complete and sometimes sketches, from nearly a hundred different productions. The music manuscripts contained herein are for various television shows and made-for-television movies from the late 1950s through the late 1970s. Fielding did work for three major U.S. television networks. Contains preliminary sketches, rough scores and finished orchestrations. Also includes spotting sheets and cue sheets, both essential to the recording of background music; motion picture music manuscripts; recording session audio tapes; correspondence; contracts; and other papers.

  • Extent: 177 boxes (88.5 linear ft.). -- 1 folder (0.1 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Fielding, Jerry, 1922-1980
  • Call Number: MSS 2116
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; BYU Film Music Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Unprocessed collection. Access granted by curator of Film Music Archives.
Languages and Scripts
Arranged in five series: 1. Jerry Fielding music scores, undated; 2. Jerry Fielding audio tapes, undated; 3. Jerry Fielding correspondence and papers, circa 1953-1982; 4. Jerry Fielding instrumental parts, audio tapes, and other materials, undated; and 5. Jerry Fielding phonograph disks and audio recordings, undated.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Jerry Fielding papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial Citation: MSS 2116; Jerry Fielding papers; Film Music Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following Citations: MSS 2116, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Manuscripts maintained by the author until his death; thereafter maintained by his widow, who donated them to BYU. The collection was donated in three installments: A95-092, A97-060, and A98-181. A separate inventory has been prepared for each accession number.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Mrs. Jerry Fielding.
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory available online.
Subject Terms
Fielding, Jerry, 1922-1980--Archives; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Motion picture music; Music; Television music
Genre / Form
Contracts; Letters; Scores
Processing Information
Processed; James V. D'Arc; 1995-2001.
Appraisal Information
Original motion picture music manuscripts and recordings that document the history of music composed and recorded for motion pictures. Film Music Archives.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Fielding (Jerry) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by James V. D'Arc
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T13:14-0600
Finding Aid Language
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Although best remembered for the bold, evocative film scores he composed for tough-guy filmmakers Sam Peckinpah and Clint Eastwood, Jerry Fielding was also a premier arranger of the swing era, later headlining a series of space age pop LPs as well. Born Joshua Feldman in Pittsburgh on June 17, 1922, Fielding was a child prodigy who claimed among his earliest influences Bernard Herrmann's pioneering scores for the radio dramas of Orson Welles. A pupil of theatrical conductor Max Atkins, he was regularly writing arrangements for theatrical pit bands while still in high school, and at 18 was hired by guitar great Alvino Rey. When Rey relocated his musical enterprise from New York City to Los Angeles, he brought Fielding with him and by the mid-'40s he was an in-demand freelance arranger, writing charts for swing icons including Tommy Dorsey, Kay Kyser, and Charlie Barnet. Fielding also wrote extensively for radio, including programs hosted by Hoagy Carmichael, Kate Smith, and the Andrews Sisters, and was eventually named musical director of The Jack Paar Show. By 1952 Fielding helmed his own jazz orchestra, which was the house band on Groucho Marx's popular television game show You Bet Your Life, but as a self-confessed loudmouthed crusader who received death threats for hiring African-American musicians, it was inevitable that he would run afoul of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist witch hunts. Called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Fielding took the Fifth Amendment, and his Hollywood career crumbled. Fielding sought refuge in Las Vegas, where he served as musical director for acts including Abbott amp; Costello and Debbie Reynolds. He also signed a record contract with Decca, cutting a series of jazz-inspired discs including Sweet with a Beat, Swingin' in Hi-Fi, and Fielding's Formula. The emergence of stereo technology galvanized Fielding's efforts, and later LPs including Magnificence in Brass and Near East Brass remain favorites of exotica collectors. With McCarthy's reign of terror finally at an end, Fielding returned to Hollywood in 1962, and at the recommendation of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo he was hired to write his first feature score for Otto Preminger's political thriller Advise and Consent. A score rich in atmosphere and melancholy-two emerging signatures of Fielding's work-it was followed by a series of lighthearted television efforts including themes for the series Hogan's Heroes and Run Buddy Run. In 1966, he teamed with two-fisted filmmaker Sam Peckinpah for the telefilm Noon Wine, inaugurating an often contentious creative partnership that won Fielding Academy Award nominations for 1969's The Wild Bunch and 1971's Straw Dogs. Fielding also scored several films for Clint Eastwood, earning a third Oscar nomination for his work on 1976's The Outlaw Josey Wales. While in Canada scoring the feature Below the Belt, Fielding suffered a fatal heart attack on February 17, 1980. He was just 57 years old.

Ankeny, Jason. Jerry Fielding: Biography.

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Ben Harry
Curator - BYU Film Music Archives