I was very glad when Hanspostcard decided to extend out this very cool exercise by a few weeks and add in some soundtracks (as well as compilations and movies to come.) But just as narrowing down albums in general to just 10 to pick is a huge challenge, getting just one soundtrack is tough too with so many good ones out there.
Narrowing down the field, first it seemed obvious to me that the object here was the music, not the film. The “rules” suggest we have a stereo on the desert island (hey, if The Millionaire had golf clubs and diamonds on Gilligan’s Island, why not?) but not a TV or video player. So the best movie is of no use if the soundtrack to it is lame…we’re not going to see it or follow the story. That considered, it brought down the reasonable selections to me to about five or six.
Max already took the Beatles Help , a fine album from the Fab Four, so that got us down to four or five. I also said, “so long, farewell” to the uber-hit soundtrack of the ’60s, The Sound of Music . A little hokey perhaps, but hey, who doesn’t like classics like “Edelweiss” or “The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music.” But without the film, it wouldn’t be quite the same. And then there were perhaps three. I am not ashamed to say I like some disco, and it gets no better than Saturday Night Fever . A good album, but it fell just a wee bit short for me.
That left me with a toss-up between two. One had existing songs brilliantly picked to go with the movie, and a lot of them. The other had mostly new songs created for the movie. One was largely music from just a tad before “my time”, the other had music from my great teen or college years – or at least now my memory serves them up as “great.” Surprisingly though, that one came a close second to me. Ultimately, it came down to quantity, and the soundtrack to the newer movie with the older sounds just delivered more good songs I would like to listen to a lot. Sorry, Molly Ringwald, Pretty in Pink was great, but the soundtrack I’d be hauling with me is…
Forrest Gump . The 2001 re-release of the soundtrack on CD, specifically. That version added in two more songs from the movie that weren’t on the original 1990s edition, bringing it to 34 songs over two discs, about an hour and a half of mostly familiar, largely great music from the ’60s and ’70s.
Now, I’m sure on that island, I would listen to the soundtrack quite a bit, but also am sure I’d be frustrated at not having the movie to accompany it. I love Forrest Gump . A buddy and I went to see it days after it came out because the commercials looked interesting. It blew me away, from the camera following the blowing feather to begin, through the brilliant superimposing of Gump (Tom Hanks) in all sorts of historical settings which was ahead of its time for digital technology. It made me laugh, made me nearly jump out of my seat when the rains stopped in “Vee-et-nam” (“it’s this whole other country”). I liked it so much I took my mom to see it a few days later; she too was blown away. I believe i went to see it on the big screen one more time and still try to catch it pretty regularly when it shows up on TV, or when I dust off the DVD. To me, no wonder it took the Best Picture Oscar and five others. That however, is the movie. The music was equally solid and well-thought out. Over 40 songs (in total, a few such as “Hello, I Love You” and especially “Free Bird” are used but don’t make it onto the CD) picked carefully to fit the ever-changing moods of the film. Young Forrest running away from the town bullies to Duane Eddy’s twangy “Rebel Rouser.” His love Jenny following her dream of being a folk singer, playing Joan Baez in a strip club. CCR’s pointedly political and critical “Fortunate Son” welcoming Forrest and his buddy Bubba to Vietnam after being drafted. The Supremes “Stoned Love” as he and “Loo-tenant Dan” celebrate a cheerless new year’s in a squalid apartment with smoky hookers. And of course, “Running on Empty” (one of my favorite songs of the ’70s, I might add) as Forrest tried to make sense of it all running the miles across the country. So many vivid scenes, so many songs. The observant listener might notice all the acts included are American; director Rober Zemeckis wanted it that way. He figured Forrest was so proudly American, he’d want to hear American music. The only exception was John Lennon, who appears and talks about “Imagine” but doesn’t sing it in the film.
The listing of the songs:
“ Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley “ Rebel Rouser” – Duane Eddy “ But I Do” – Frogman Henry “ Walk Right In” – Rooftop Singers “ Land of 1000 Dances” – Wilson Pickett “” Blowin’ in the Wind” – Joan Baez “ Fortunate Son” – Creedence Clearwater Revival “ I Can’t Help Myself” – four Tops “ Respect” – Aretha Franklin “ Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” – Bob Dylan “ Sloop John B” – Beach Boys “ California Dreamin’” – Mamas & the Papas “ For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield “ What The World Needs Now” – Jackie DeShannon “ Break On Through” – The Doors “ Mrs. Robinson “ – Simon & Garfunkel “ Volunteers” – Jefferson Airplane “ Get Together” – Youngbloods “ San Francisco” – Scott McKenzie “ Turn, Turn, turn” – The Byrds “ Aquarius-Let The Sun Shine In” – 5th Dimension “ Everybody’s Talkin’” – Nilsson “ Joy To The World” – Three Dog Night “ Stoned Love” – Supremes “ Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” – BJ Thomas “ Mr. President” – Randy Newman “ Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd “ Running On Empty” – Jackson Browne “ It Keeps You Runnin’” – Doobie Bros. “ My Imagination” – Gladys Knight & the Pips “ Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac “ On The Road Again” – Willie Nelson “ Against the wind” – Bob Seger “ The Forrest Gump Suite” – Alan Silvestri ((the only original, and instrumental piece on the soundtrack))
Quite a lineup.No wonder it went to #1 in Canada and sold over 10 million copies around the world! I wouldn’t say I adore each and every one of the tunes, but it’s got a pretty great batting average, especially in delivering some of the best of the ’60s, not my overall favorite decade for music… “Get Together”, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “For What It’s Worth”..
Well, I might be pining for my own “Jennie” so to speak on that island, but with this double disc on top of the ten regular albums i previously selected, I’d at least not be lacking for great sounds for when the island birds and wildcats got quiet!