The score was nominated for an Academy Award; however, the Academy withdrew the nomination after determining that the “Love Theme” was a rewritten version of Nino Rota’s music from the 1958 film Fortunella.
The Godfather is the soundtrack from the film of the same name, released in 1972 by Paramount Records, and in 1991 on compact disc by MCA. Unless noted, the cues were composed by Nino Rota and conducted by Carlo Savina (who was credited on the LP, but not the CD). The song “I Have but One Heart” is sung by Al Martino, who performed it in the film as character Johnny Fontane.
Coppola hired Italian composer Nino Rota to create the underscore for the film, including the main theme, “Speak Softly, Love“. In October 1971, Coppola flew to Rome with a copy of the film to give Rota to view and create the score accordingly. For the score, Rota was to relate to the situations and characters in the film.Scott Cain of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reacted to Rota’s work with the movie’s score by saying that regardless of how the movie turned out, “it will be worthwhile just for Rota’s contributions.” Rota synthesized new music for the film and took some parts from his Fortunella score, in order to create an Italian feel and evoke the tragic film’s themes.
Paramount executive Evans found the score to be too “highbrow” and did not want to use it; however, it was used after Coppola managed to get Evans to agree. Coppola believed that Rota’s musical piece gave the film even more of an Italian feel. Coppola’s father, Carmine, created some additional music for the film, particularly the music played by the band during the opening wedding scene.
There are a total of nine instances within the film where incidental music can be heard, including C’è la luna mezzo mare and Cherubino’s aria, Non so più cosa son from Le Nozze di Figaro. There was a soundtrack released for the film in 1972 in vinyl form by Paramount Records, on CD in 1991 by Geffen Records, and digitally by Geffen on August 18, 2005.The album contains over 31 minutes of music coming from the film, with most being composed by Rota, along with a song from Coppola and one by Johnny Farrow and Marty Symes. There were 29 recordings of Nino Rota’s music on the market by April 1972, specifically the songs recorded were “The Godfather Waltz”, “Speak Softly Love,” and “Love Theme from The Godfather.” It was expected more recordings would be hitting the market as the year went on.