Everyone loves a great movie soundtrack, so here are our ten favourites…
Schlesinger’s gritty celluloid offering not only showcased the raw talents of the young Dustin Hoffman and John Voight, but also provided a masterpiece of a soundtrack courtesy of musical supervisor John ‘James Bond’ Barry. Mixing contemporary tracks with original compositions, the iconic Midnight Cowboy Theme still resonates today, and not forgetting Harry Nilssons’s now ubiquitous ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’. One hell of a soundtrack. One hell of a film.
Men want to be him, women want to be with him: Ryan Gosling is something of a phenomenon at present with a latent ability to embody the essence of cool by simply EXISTING, but it was last year’s Drive that sealed the deal. His monosyllabic ‘driver’ broods his way through this bloodied, romantic, car chase of a movie accompanied by a suitable collection of eighties electro synths and darkly atmospheric vocals from composer and ex RHCP drummer Cliff Martinez, plus tracks from Kavinsky, College and Chromatics. Soundtracks don’t come cooler that this. *Gregg Wallace Face*
With three soundtracks to their name, it’s hard to pick a winner from the Fab Four, but whilst Hard Days Night might be the populist choice and Magical Mystery Tour one for the more tricksy fans, both have been pushed aside in order to sing the praises of Help!. Not only does it have cover art pleasing to you semaphore fans, it also contains some of the most enduring Beatles tracks of the 60’s. Title track aside, Ticket To Ride and Yesterday sit happily alongside the tender beauty of ‘You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’ and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’. A treat from start to finish.
Danny Boyle’s iconic Trainspotting and accompanying soundtrack is as 90’s zeitgeist as it gets, yet there is still a lot of merit in this album. Launching the careers of Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlisle, amongst others, this hard hitting drug and shit soaked rollercoaster of a movie burst onto cinema screens in 1996, transforming UK cinema from then on in. Equally raucous is the soundtrack, showcasing the Best of British from New Order and Pulp to Leftfield and Underworld, and who can ever listen to Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life without envisioning Renton legging it through the streets of Edinburgh? Altogether now: LAGER LAGER LAGER LAGER….
Music and film are so inextricably linked where Tarantino is concerned, with one unthinkable without the other. Impeccably picked and perfectly placed, every track on this soundtrack evokes a specific scene in the film, from Zed’s Chopper to Travolta and Thurman’s barefoot twist, lost classics fast became stalwarts on everyone’s playlists in the late 90s, and remain there to this day. Iconic doesn’t even come close.
O’ BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?
No one could have predicted the success of The Coen Brothers’ Appalacian take on Homer’s Odyssey in 2000, and even less the success of it’s Bluegrass soaked soundtrack, but we couldn’t get enough of this slice of Americana. Produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett, this fantastical record gave Emmy Lou Harris and Alison Krauss a decent career kick and saw George Clooney mime his heart out as one third of the Soggy Bottom Boys. Beautiful stuff.
THE HARDER THEY COME
A classic record in it’s own right, Jimmy Cliff’s movie soundtrack appeared at the very beginnings of the reggae explosion led by a certain Mr Robert Marley, but listening to the album 40 years on, it’s hard to imagine the sun soaked sounds of Toots & The Maytals, Desmond Dekker and Cliff as anything other than a global movement. With such classics as ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ and ‘Pressure Drop’, this is one soundtrack guaranteed to make your day brighter, whether you’ve seen the film or not.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Look, it may not be cool but by GOD did this album have an impact on music at the time. Still one of the best selling soundtracks of all time, even the hardest rock and roll cynics have to appreciate the extraordinary pop talents of Brothers Gibb and chums on show on this album. Catapulting John Travolta into the limelight, for better or for worse, and wrapping up hardcore issues such as rape, suicide and drug use in a nylon clad, platform shoed package, Saturday Night Fever was in fact a hard hitting commentary on the struggle of working class New Yorkers where the flashing dance floors and freedom of disco was their only chance to let go. However, with the likes of The Trammps, Yvonne Ellman and Tavares singing them along their way, it is one of the most life affirming albums of all time.
DO THE RIGHT THING
Spike Lee’s sizzling story of racism and prejudice on the streets of Brooklyn not only got him an Oscar nomination, but also provided us with one of the best and most powerful movie soundtracks of the eighties, not least due to the inclusion of Public Enemy’s protest song ‘Fight The Power. Introducing hip hop to the mainstream, both the film and soundtrack made people sit up and listen, not only to a genre but also to a political issue that had remained underground for far too long.
Hopper and Fonda’s 60s counterculture escapade captures the essence of the tail end what was a complicated decade, both politically and culturally, and the soundtrack revs along side it as comfortably as a cat on a cushion. Steppenwolf’s anthemic ‘Born To Be Wild’ encapsulates the need for freedom so perfectly captured on-screen, plus appearances from Hendrix, The Band and The Electric Prunes sees fit to cement this album as not only a classic of the day, but also a statement of what rock and roll really stands for.
And now it’s your turn. What would make your top ten list?