It’s a long established given that music in movies is immensely important. Since The Jazz Singer, movie makers have used sound to enhance every frame of their films. It can be used to set tone, pace and either guide or trick the audience.
For the most part, it is the films musical scores that get all the recognition, quite rightly. Composers like John Williams, Danny Elfman, Maurice Jarre & John Barry have all written music that was so utterly in tune with the images it accompanied that it arguably enabled that success.
Would Jaws have been as successful without the Dur dum? Can you imagine Bond without the theme tune? and just play the first few bars of the Star Wars in a crowd and watch multiple generations spin round like meercats.
What is often overlooked, especially by those scholarly types, is the musical compilations that are put together for the film, the collections of previously recorded songs that form the ‘other’ soundtracks, the ones we buy and that rarely get any sort of awards or acknowledgement.
It’s not just a case of putting together a collection of songs from a certain era or with a central theme. Each track has to work with what is going on in each scene of the movie. It then has to allow you to relive the scenes all over again, from the comfort of your own living room. It’s creating a perfect playlist that follows the movies narrative. In the very best examples, the compilations of songs are so perfect the movie isn’t even required.
So I thought I would share my Top 5 Movie Sound Tracks (not movie scores)
In reverse order…because I can. I would love to read throough your movie Top 5's, soundtracks or otherwise.
5: The Blues Brothers (1980)
This is a little bit of a cheat as the movie is technically a musical & I have deliberately avoided including musicals. However, unlike others, such as Little Shop of Horrors, the Producers or Rocky Horror, all of the songs in The Blues Brothers are (I think) existing songs, redone by some of the greatest musical artists of all time. I can’t think of many albums that will have talent like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown as bit-part players.
Highlight: Track 4: Shake A Tailfeather (Ray Charles)
Comment: I challenge you to keep perfectly still while this is track is playing!
4: Sucker Punch (2011)
This is not about the quality of the movie (although I really enjoyed it) but the quality of the music that was put together for it. As eclectic as the film’s many fabulous set pieces; it’s a fantastic collection of covers & mash-ups
Highlight: Track 3: White Rabbit
Comment: Comes damn close to improving on the original
3: American Graffiti (1973)
“Where were you in 62’? Well I wasn’t born. Nor did I exist in 73’ when the movie came out. That didn’t stop me becoming utterly obsessed by all things American Graffiti from my early teens to the present day. Its a near perfect movie with an utterly inseparable soundtrack. Oh, and the decision to include all of Wolfman Jacks intros was borderline genius. Proof that George Walton Lucas Jnr is not a one trick pony.
Highlight: Track 20 (last track) All Summer Long (The Beach Boys)
Comment: The end of the movie, the end of an era.
2: Pulp Fiction (1994)
Few directors have embraced the idea of using songs (often forgotten & rarely fashionable) to help tell the story more in recent cinema history. I could pick pretty much any Tarantino soundtrack and drop it anywhere in this list. The dude just gets it.
Highlight: Track 10: Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon (Urge Overkill)
Comment: great scene, great song, great cover, great reel-to-reel (Teac X-2000r) absolutely love Vincent in the bathroom, having a word with himself.
1: Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
They (you know, them) say that all art is a direct reflection of the society it is created in…or something like that. Few ‘artists’ encompass this more than Hunter S Thompson who is perfectly portrayed by close friend Jonny Depp in the near word for word movie adaptation of Thompson’s most famous work. The soundtrack is every bit as bizarre and brilliant as the book. Perry Como, Tom Jones and Debbie Reynolds are used in equal measure along side Jefferson Airplane, Rolling Stones & The Dead Kennedys. This mishmash of genres and artists are magnificently sewn together (as is often the case with my favourite soundtracks) with the best soundbytes and monologues from the movie.
Highlight: Track 7: Get Together (The Youngbloods)
Message was edited by: StartTheCar
Message was edited by: StartTheCar