Mark Knopfler is perhaps my favourite guitarist and the guy who inspired me to try some soundtrack work. His mixing of Blues, Country, Rock & Celtic styles in soundtracks like "Local Hero", "Wag the Dog" and "Last Exit to Brooklyn" is unsurpassed.
John Barry gave us the "James Bond Theme", "Dances With Wolves" score and "Midnight Cowboy Theme" (plus magnificent soundtracks to over 100 other films). All this from a guy who got his arranging degree through correspondence courses while doing National Service.
Miles Davis is one of those people whose music I can't get through the day without listening to. Without wanting to sound trite, his music is the soundtrack to a lot of people's lives. Cool, vulnerable, dark and totally original. 'Nuff said.
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross are two guys I wasn't very familiar with before hearing their work on the Ken Burns "Vietnam" series. My loss. Incredible work. The use of "Ghosts IV - 34" in the Buddhist self-immolation scene is almost too intense for words.
The thing I love about Hans Zimmer is his willingness to try anything and mix instruments that wouldn't normally be associated with one another. Hard to choose one soundtrack but "Pirates of the Caribbean" knocks me over every time I hear it. A genius.
John Williams made his name with the classic scores to "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" but for my money his greatest work was on the "Lost in Space" series. Desolate, moving and very beautiful. No television music has ever worked better. Brilliant Will Robinson!
Ry Cooder is a musician whose vision is so far reaching and soulful that he makes you realize that labels are ultimately useless. An incredibly tasteful and original guitarist, arranger, interpreter and composer.
Like John Barry, Ennio Morricone did much to add the electric guitar to the vocabulary of film soundtracks and for that alone he'd be remembered. Add the fact that he's arguably the greatest soundtrack composer of the 20th century and you have a legend. The Maestro.
Lalo Schifrin gave us the "Mission Impossible Theme", "The Bullitt Soundtrack Suite" and the soundtrack to "Dirty Harry" among other things. Have soundtracks ever made a person feel so badass simply by listening to them? Underrated and the Daddy-O of soundtrack cool.