It is one of the most iconic movie title songs - and some suggest one of the best ever written. "The Windmills of Your Mind" introduced the original 'The Thomas Crown Affair' starring Steve McQueen (surely his best movie role) and Faye Dunaway (vastly better than the lame remake with Pierce Brosnan and a very weak Rene Russo). The song won the Best Original Song Oscar in 1969 along with a number of other awards. Its composer Michel Legrand was to win two other Oscars - for 'The Summer of '42' and 'Yentl'. His many other movies included 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg'.
As the score for 'The Thomas Crown Affair' was being recorded, Legrand still did not have a title song. It was quickly composed over a baroque-type note sequence. Andy Williams turned down the offer to record it. Instead it went to the British singer, the late Noel Harrison. Harrison was invited to sing it at the Academy Awards telecast but was filming in the UK and could not be released. Jose Feliciano sang it in his place, later recording it and making it almost his own. This was unfair on Harrison who I still think sings the best version.
Legrand died last night aged 86.
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