Danny Elfman is a multiple award-winning composer, singer, actor, record producer and instrumentalist.
He emerged as the leader of new wave band Oingo Boingo in 1979 and has since become one of
Hollywood’s most prolific composers for stage, screen, concert hall and television, composing more than
one hundred feature film scores since the 1990s. He is noted for his work with directors Tim Burton,
Gus Van Sant and Sam Raimi as well as stop-motion film director Henry Selick. Elfman’s television
compositions include the themes from the Fox series The Simpsons in 1989 and the ABC series
Desperate Housewives in 2004. His brother is noted musician, actor and journalist Richard Elfman.
He was born Daniel Robert Elfman on May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California to teacher Milton Elfman
and novelist Blossom Elfman. He was raised in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles where he
demonstrated an aptitude for science. A change of high school saw Elfman fall in with a musical crowd
who introduced him to jazz and modernist music, especially that of Igor Stravinsky. Completing high
school early, Elfman travelled to France with his brother Richard and became a violinist with avant-garde
musical theater group, Le Grand Magic Circus. Upon their return to the US, Richard founded the theater
group The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and chose Danny to be musical director. By 1979, Elfman
had taken over the troupe, reducing it to only eight players and renaming it Oingo Boingo. Elfman
retired Oingo Boingo in 1985, citing hearing loss.
His first film score was that of the 1985 comedy, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. He went on to score other
comedies until 1989 when he composed the dark and brooding soundtrack of Tim Burton’s film,
Batman. The score earned a Grammy for Elfman who went on to compose the scores for other Burton
films including the score and ten additional songs for the 1993 Tim Burton stop-motion film, The
Nightmare Before Christmas. Elfman served as the singing voice of the film’s main character, Jack
Skellington as well as two other character voices. He did so again in 2005 with another Burton stop-
motion film, Corpse Bride. That same year, Elfman premiered his first concert hall work, Serenada
Schizophrana at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Danny Elfman continues to record, tour and perform despite his painful hearing loss. He found
performing with live orchestras “more tolerable” and often performs the music of Jack Skellington while
on tour. He has won a total of thirty-five awards and seventy-five nominations. He has also produced
more than 100 albums.
Elfman is slated to perform at the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Friday April 16 th and
Friday April 23 rd. KWXY Music Radio supports musicians and artists performing in the Coachella Valley, as well as independent music labels, and emerging talent all over the country.
Listen to the music of Danny Elfman on KWXY Presents tonight at 7pm on KWXY
Music Radio 92.3 FM ● 1340 AM ● streaming at kwxy.com and ivoxradio.com