Michael Arnold Kamen was born in New York City (USA) on 15 April 1948. While attending The High School of Music & Art in New York City, he became friends with Martin Fulterman (later known as Mark Snow, who composed the theme music for The X-Files among other projects). After graduating from high school, Kamen attended The Juilliard School, in Manhattan, New York City.
Kamen became a highly sought-after arranger in the realms of pop and rock music. His contemporaries in this field included Academy Award winner Anne Dudley, Richard Niles, and Nick Ingman. His successes include his work with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and Roger Waters as well as Queen, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Eurythmics, Queensrÿche, Rush, Metallica and Kate Bush. For Bush, Kamen delivered an orchestral backing for her tracks This Woman’s Work, Heads We’re Dancing, The Fog and Moments of Pleasure, substantially building upon a simple piano theme Bush had composed. In this instance, and many others, he conducted the orchestra personally for the recording.
In 1990, Kamen joined many other guests for Roger Waters’ performance of The Wall in Berlin, and led the National Philharmonic Orchestra during the 24 Nights sessions with Eric Clapton the following year.
Kamen had a successful partnership with Bryan Adams and R.J. Lange composing scores and songs. The ballad ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It for You’ for the 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ was the number one song of that year worldwide. Other songs were ‘All For Love’ for the movie ‘The Three Musketeers’ (1993) and ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?’ the song from the film ‘Don Juan DeMarco’ (1995).
Kamen wrote eleven ballets, a saxophone concerto and an electric guitar concerto. Additionally, he wrote a commissioned work, ‘Quintet’, for the Canadian Brass. He also provided scores for many other films.
Kamen was nominated for two Academy Awards and won three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Ivor Novello Awards, an Annie Award and an Emmy.
His last recorded work appeared on Bryan Adams’s album ‘Room Service’ where he played the oboe and wrote the orchestration to ‘I Was Only Dreamin”. Kamen had also completed the charts for accompaniment to two songs on Kate Bush’s album Aerial – Prologue and The Painter’s Link – which was released in April 2005.
Kamen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997. He died in London, England from a heart attack on November 18, 2003, at the age of 55.