After 27 years of scoring the hit animated show “The Simpsons, it has been reported that two-time Emmy winner Alf Clausen has been fired. The news comes just prior to the Season 29 premiere on Oct. 1. As of yet there is no word on who will be his replacement and there are no reported plans to remove from the show the iconic theme composed by Danny Elfman.
According to Rolling Stone, Clausen has indicated he heard the news after a call from show producer Richard Sakai. Sakai explained that the show was seeking “a different kind of music” and that Clausen was no longer needed.
Clausen had scored over 560 episodes of the show beginning in 1990. As well as being nominated for 21 Simpsons-related Emmys and winning two, the composer has also won five Annie Awards for his efforts.
Rolling Stone reports that Clausen used a 35-piece live orchestra to score each Simpsons episode at the insistence of creator Matt Groening. As well as responsible for scoring all incidental music and cues, Clausen wrote music for some of the show’s most beloved songs and gags. Here are just three of Alf Clausen’s finest moments from the show and why he’ll be missed:
Homer visits the Land of Chocolate (from “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk”, S3E11)
Most people remember the songs from the show but attention should also be given to the incidental music that was often where many of the gags came from. In this completely surreal and silly daydream sequence, Clausen’s breezy carefree music was the perfect accompaniment to Homer’s complete lack of attention as he talks to the new German power plant owners.
We Put the Spring in Springfield (from “Bart After Dark”, S8E5)
One of the greatest show-stopping numbers of “The Simpsons” that won Clausen a well-deserved Emmy, also features an ensemble cast of Springfield residents. It’s hilarious, comes out of nowhere, yet remains a ragtime song straight down the line. These truly original songs are rightly remembered as contributing to the period of what is known now as “classic Simpsons.”
Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off! (from “A Fish Called Selma”, S7E19)
The crowning achievement of musical parody in any animated show is this inspired musical version of “Planet of the Apes.” The lyrics are hilarious of course, but are taken up to eleven by Clausen’s pitch-perfect, over-the-top Broadway style as sung by Troy McClure (the late Phil Hartman). It’s three minutes of hilarity and it’s a gag that “Family Guy” has been trying to emulate ever since.