What would the film experience be without a memorable soundtrack that sets the mood, pumps up the action and evokes nostalgic memories?
The idea of musical accompaniment has been around since silent films but with the advent of sound in the 1920’s, filmmakers were able to have direct control over the soundtrack as a device to manipulate the audience’s emotions.
The first film to use a completely original score was written by composer Max Steiner for the classic ‘King Kong’ (1933).
Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” without those driving Bernard Herrmann violins and strings during the shower scene and the ominous “dun-dun-dun” that alerted the audience to the arrival of “Jaws” thus evoking all kinds of fear. With the Soundtrack Album, audiences have the freedom to listen to and relive the memories of their favorite films at anytime.
In developing his film projects Director, Quentin Tarantino approaches the movie process in this way:
“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song.” (Tracks and Fields)
“Purple Rain” (1984), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), and “Almost Famous” (2000) are 3 of my favorite films that demonstrate the impactful relationship between the storyline and the music.
The music from “Purple Rain” has kept me groovin’ since it premiered. While rockin’ the theater, “I Would Die 4 You” also connected the events necessary to resolve the plot and “The Kid’s” conflicts, utilizing the flashback technique leading to the climactic ending scene. The album rocketed Prince to superstardom!
The soundtrack for the film was released on June 25, 1984, by Warner Bros. Records and to date, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.
“I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m a Star” and “Purple Rain” were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release. The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince’s band, The Revolution.
Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan’s cover of “I Feel for You”. Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the 2014 film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Directed by James Gunn, the movie features the songs present on character Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mixtape in the film.
The album was released by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2014, and reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first soundtrack album in history consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the chart.
“Come and Get Your Love” by (Redbone) set the tone and mood of the film for me and is also a classic rock song from the 70’s. The film incorporated songs from the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, which, according to the film’s director, James Gunn, acts as a way for Quill to stay connected to the Earth, home, and family he lost.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sweetness of “I am Groot” and subsequently, jammin’ “Baby Groot”.
Other hits from the soundtrack and my childhood include: “I Want You Back”, Jackson 5, “Oooh Child”, The 5 Stairsteps, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell which make for one kickin’ playlist!
Almost Famous was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and starred Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s while covering the fictitious rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. (Wikipedia)
The film received four Oscar nominations, one of which led to an award to Crowe for his screenplay. It was also awarded the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Roger Ebert hailed it the best film of the year, and also the 9th best film of the 2000s. It also won two Golden Globes, for Best Picture and Kate Hudson won Best Supporting Actress.
This scene between William and his sister Anita takes me back to the days of vinyl and a time and way of appreciating music you cannot get from a cd. Music can change your life and for child prodigy William Miller (Patrick Fugit) it does.
Frances McDormand, as the mother, strictly controls and protects him and his older sister Anita by forbidding rock music and in her opinion, other unwelcome influences which drive Anita to leave home and become a flight attendant.
I’ve always loved the song “America”. It’s just as poignant today as it was when it was first performed in 1968 by Simon and Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon and concerns young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of “America”, in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a 1964 road trip that Simon took with his girlfriend Kathy Chitty.
Director Cameron Crowe took a copy of the film to London for a special screening with Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. After the screening, Led Zeppelin granted Crowe the right to use one of their songs on the soundtrack — the first time they had ever consented to this since allowing Crowe to use “Kashmir” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Wikipedia)
Zeppelin also gave Crowe rights to four of their other songs in the movie itself, although they did not grant him the rights to “Stairway to Heaven” for an intended scene (on the special “Bootleg” edition DVD, the scene is included as an extra, sans the song, where the viewer is instructed by a watermark to begin playing it). (Wikipedia)
This classic soundtrack takes me back to some of the best memories of my high school days. Every time I watch this film I’m inundated with emotions and remember where I was when these songs were playing on the radio.
Music has the power to cross time and space. I believe it’s our common bond. Even if you don’t speak the same language you can speak the same music.