Goblin were the greatest rock soundtrack band that ever existed. Forget Pink Floyd's tossed-off efforts for Barbet Schroeder. Goblin were the Bernard Herrmann of European thrillers and horror throughout the 70s and 80s, the Nino Rota of eye gouges, beheadings and sex slashings. They also did the very memorable international score for George A. Romero's Dawn of The Dead (known in Europe as Zombi.)
Led by keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, Goblin wrote pulsating rock scores for over 2-dozen films and television programs, mostly, but not exclusively, in Italy. Their soundtracks incorporated symphonic prog rock, electronic minimalism, eerie soundscapes, disco, exotic ethnic instrumentation, strange whisperings - whatever worked best while Stefania Casini was falling into a room full of barbed-wire coils in Suspiria, or a young Jennifer Connolly communicated telepathically with insect swarms in Phenomena (aka Creepers.)
Of course, Goblin are best known for their work with director Dario Argento (for you kids, that's Asia's Dad; Asia's Mom is writer/actress/philologist Daria Nicolodi), and it's undeniable that they did their best work for the suspense/gore auteur. The soundtrack for Suspiria (1977) is probably their finest work, and taken as a complete musical vision it blows most of their catalog away. Deep Red (1975), as the premier Giallo film soundtrack, was genre-defining. Thrillers in general for the next 15 years would carry trappings of the Goblin sound (or Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, lest we forget) in their scores. Many composers tried to copy the Goblin vibe, like one Fabio Frizzi, who scored several of Lucio Fulci's 70s–80s gorefests (most notably The Beyond and Zombie2.)
Other great Goblin records include their soundtrack for Joe D'Amato's Buio Omega (aka Beyond the Darkness); who else could have provided a viable sonic backdrop for one of the sickest films ever made, including cannibalism, human taxidermy, bizarre cross-generational sex and graphic bathtub dismemberments? Hey, work is work, right? Also essential are the aforementioned Zombi and Phenomena scores, as well as Goblin's two non-soundtrack albums, Roller (1976) and Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark (1978).
"Essential" is all in the ear of the beholder, I suppose, but I couldn't live without this music; I need to be transported immediately back to the gloom of 1977 fairly often, and I'm not always in the mood for Bowie's Low album. To demonstrate the strength of my commitment, I recently had a variation on the Goblin logo committed to the flesh of my right arm by Lester of Zebra Tattoo in Berkeley, California (see above.)
Here's a link to the official Goblin web home: http://www.goblin.org/
Claudio Simonetti official site: http://www.simonetti.org/