Top Ten Must Own Movie Soundtracks

Movies are for entertainment. Music is for entertainment. Even with today’s portable technology, you will get the most out of a movie, by sitting down and watching it. By that same standard, today’s technology allows us to take our music with us everywhere we go. Movie soundtracks, allow us to listen to great playlists created by movie directors that we can take with us and listen to. They represent the original mixed tapes.

What follows are, in my opinion, the top ten must own soundtracks. The span musical eras from the 1950’s to today. Mainly based in rock, there is also, blues, jazz, funk, grunge, metal and more.

The list below is in no particular order.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp FictionQuentin Tarantino has a talent for mixing his movies with tunes from another time. This mix makes for great films, but also amazing soundtracks. One thing that sets this soundtrack apart from others is the inclusion of some dialogue from the movie, but it really only adds and doesn’t subtract from the album. I will caution you that the dialogue included has a few expletives, it is afterall, a Tarantino movie. As such, the music may be for all ages, but the dialogue tracks are not.

Track List:

  1. Misirlou – Dick Dale & His Del-Tones
  2. Royale With Cheese – John Travolta
  3. Jungle Boogie – Kool & The Gang
  4. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  5. Bustin’ Surfboards – The Tornadoes
  6. Lonesome Town – Ricky Nelson
  7. Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
  8. Bullwinkle Part II – The Centurians
  9. You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
  10. Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon – Urge Overkill
  11. If Love Is A Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags) – Maria McKee
  12. Comanche – The Revels
  13. Flowers On The Wall – The Statler Brothers
  14. Personality Goes A Long Way – John Travolta
  15. Surf Rider – The Lively Ones
  16. Ezekiel 25:17 – Samuel L. Jackson


elizabethtown soundtrackA two-volume soundtrack with some of the best road trip songs you could think of. The movie itself, is about a road trip so it makes sense, but not all road trip movie soundtracks are created equal and this one rises above the rest. There should be no surprise about this soundtrack being great, the film’s director is Cameron Crowe and I’ve seen one review that reads, “a potent blend of rock ‘n’ roll and classic romantic comedy.”

Track List for Volume 1:

  1. 60B (Etown Theme) – Nancy Wilson
  2. It’ll All Work Out – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  3. My Father’s Gun – Elton John
  4. io (This Time Around) – Helen Stellar
  5. Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
  6. Where to Begin – My Morning Jacket
  7. Long Ride Home – Patty Griffin
  8. Sugar Blue – Jeff Finlin
  9. Don’t I Hold You – Wheat
  10. Shut Us Down – Lindsey Buckingham
  11. Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) – The Hombres
  12. Hard Times – eastmountainsouth
  13. Jesus Was a Crossmaker – The Hollies
  14. Square One – Tom Petty
  15. Same in Any Language – I Nine

Track List for Volume 2:

  1. Learning To Fly – Tom Petty
  2. English Girls Approximately – Ryan Adams
  3. Jesus Was A Crossmaker – Racheal Yamagata
  4. Funky Nassau Pt. 1 – The Beginning Of The End
  5. Loro – Pinback
  6. Moon River – Patty Griffin
  7. Summer Long – Kathleen Edwards
  8. …Passing By – Ulrich Schnauss
  9. You Can’t Hurry Love – The Concretes
  10. River Road – Nancy Wilson
  11. Same In Any Language – Ruckus
  12. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today – Washington Phillips
  13. Words – Ryan Adams
  14. Big Love – Lindsey Buckingham
  15. I Can’t Get Next To You – The Temptations

The Big Chill

the-big-chill-soundtrack---10963916The soundtrack to this movie is just classic. There isn’t much else to say about it. The Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack offers even more classics. The one song missing from both the regular and deluxe editions is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones, which plays a huge in the psyches of most who watch the film. So, once you own the album, add that song to the playlist you create on whatever device you have.

Track List:

  1. I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  2. My Girl – The Temptations
  3. Good Lovin’ – The Rascals
  4. The Tracks of My Tears – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  5. Joy To the World – Three Dog Night
  6. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – The Temptations
  7. (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
  8. I Second That Emotion – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  9. A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
  10. Tell Him – The Exciters


pcu-soundtrackWhat a mix! I am not going to assume that everyone is familiar with this classic 1994 tale of college shenanigans. Let’s just say that almost ten years before Old School and 16 years after Animal House, PCU filled in the gap in between. Jermey Piven and Jon Favreau steal the show and we also learned the cardinal rule for concerts, “you’re going to wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see? Don’t be that guy.”

Track List:

  1. Pump It Up – Mudhoney
  2. Rilly Groovy – Beautiful People
  3. Stomp – George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic
  4. What’s Wrong With Me – Redd Cross
  5. Slackjawed – The Connells
  6. Erotic City – George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic
  7. Catherine – The Rosemarys
  8. Year Of The Girl – Swervedriver
  9. Wonderful Lie – Mexico 70
  10. Now We Run – Steve Vai
  11. Drinking And Driving – Stick
  12. Tribe – Gruntruck

American Graffiti

1308597083_41-original-hits-from-the-soundtrack-of-american-graffitiFour years before George Lucas released Star Wars to the world, he wrote and directed American Graffiti. The movie is simple, one night of cruising with your high school pals, before you go your separate ways. The soundtrack that was put together for this film is, arguably a collection of, the quintessential music from the late ’50s and early ’60s. There is no argument on the soundtracks success, it’s been certified triple platinum.

Track List Disc 1:

  1. (We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley And The Comets
  2. Sixteen Candles – The Crests
  3. Runaway – Del Shannon
  4. Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
  5. That’ll Be The Day – Buddy Holly
  6. Fanny Mae – Buster Brown
  7. At The Hop – Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids
  8. She’s So Fine – Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids
  9. The Stroll – The Diamonds
  10. See You In September – The Tempos
  11. Surfin’ Safari – The Beach Boys
  12. He’s The Great Imposter – The Fleetwoods
  13. Almost Grown – Chuck Berry
  14. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Platters
  15. Little Darlin’ – The Diamonds
  16. Peperment Twist – Joey Dee & The Starlighters
  17. Barbara Anne – The Regents
  18. Book Of Love – The Monotones
  19. Maybe Baby – Buddy Holly
  20. Ya Ya – Lee Dorsey
  21. The Great Pretender – The Platters

Track List Disc 2:

  1. Ain’t That A Shame – Fats Domino
  2. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
  3. I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos
  4. Get A Job – The Silhouettes
  5. To The Aisle – The Five Satins
  6. Do You Wanna Dance – Bobby Freeman
  7. Party Doll – Buddy Knox
  8. Come Go With Me – The Del-Vikings
  9. You’re Sixteen-You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine) – Johnny Burnette
  10. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
  11. Since I Don’t Have You – The Skyliners
  12. Chantilly Lace – The Big Bopper
  13. Teen Angel – Mark Dinning
  14. Crying In The Chapel – Sonny Till & The Orioles
  15. A Thousand Miles Away – The Heartbeats
  16. Heart And Soul – The Cleftones
  17. Green Onions – Booker T. & The M.G’s
  18. Only You (And You Alone) – The Platters
  19. Goodnight, Well It’s Time To Go – The Spaniels
  20. All Summer Long – The Beach Boys

Reservoir Dogs

reservoirdogsThe second Quentin Tarantino film soundtrack to make the list, Reservoir Dogs, sounds like a radio station, thanks to the dulcet tones of “K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the Seventies,” with a DJ voiced by Steven Wright. This soundtrack has the shortest total playtime of the others on this list, but don’t mistake that for lack of quality. Just like with The Big Chill, this soundtrack lacks a song, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson, but it’s still a great mix, and that includes, Steven Wright’s dialogue as the DJ and the expletive fueled “Madanno Speech, by Tarantino himself.

Track List:

  1. And Now Little Green Bag… – Dialogue By Steven Wright
  2. Little Green Bag – George Baker
  3. Rock Flock Of Five – Dialogue By Steven Wright
  4. Hooked On A Feeling – Blue Suede
  5. Bohemiath – Dialogue By Steven Wright
  6. I Gotcha – Joe Tex
  7. Magic Carpet Ride – Bedlam
  8. Madonna Speech – Dialogue By Quentin Tarantino
  9. Fool For Love – Sandy Rogers
  10. Super Sounds – Dialogue By Steven Wright
  11. Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel


clerks-soundtrackIf Kevin Smith’s podcasting universe of SModCo had a radio station, I believe it would sound like this. Alternative music intertwined with quips and diatribes. If you’ve no idea of SModCo, I wrote a post about it but still, this is a great mix of alternative rock, with a sprinkle of metal and punk. Listening to it gives you two choices; one, this is good music and I’m glad I’m a grown up or two, I feel the teen angst growing inside me (but in a good way.)

Track List:

  1. Dante’s Lament
  2. Clerks – Love Among Freaks
  3. Kill The Sex Player – Girls Against Boys
  4. “No Time For Love, Dr. Jones”
  5. Got Me Wrong – Alice In Chains
  6. Randal & Dante On Sex
  7. Making Me Sick – Bash & Pop
  8. “A Bunch Of Muppets”
  9. Chewbacca – Supernova Chile
  10. Panic In Cicero – The Jesus Lizard
  11. Shooting Star – Golden Smog
  12. Leaders And Followers – Bad Religion
  13. “I Like To Expand My Horizons”
  14. Violent Mood Swings (Thread Mix) – Stabbing Westward
  15. Berserker – Love Among Freaks
  16. Big Problems – Corrosian Of Conformity
  17. Go Your Own Way – Seaweed
  18. “Social Event Of The Season”
  19. Can’t Even Tell – Soul Asylum
  20. Jay’s Chant

Real Genius

Real Genius Soundtrack (1985) by Di SantIt’s unfortunate that no official soundtrack was released for Real Genius. That being said, the collection of songs that make it up is a great mix. If you like the track list you’ll have to put it together yourself from the internet, but I assure you, it’s worth it. I put it together, and although it wasn’t easy I’m happy I did, and if you take the time I’m sure you’ll be happy with it as well.

Track List:

  1. You Took Advantage of Me – Carmen McRae
  2. The Tuff Do What? – Tonio K
  3. Summertime Girls – Y&T
  4. The Pleasure Seekers – The System
  5. The Walls Came Down – The Call
  6. I’m Falling – The Comsat Angels
  7. One Night Love Affair – Bryan Adams
  8. All She Wants to Do Is Dance – Don Henley
  9. Number One – Chaz Jankel
  10. You’re the Only Love – Paul Hyde and the Payolas
  11. Standing in Line – The Textones
  12. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

Wonder Boys

Wonder_boys_4984462A fairly melodramatic movie with a soundtrack to match. The mix of songs on this soundtrack takes mellow to another level. Grab a friend and a bottle of booze or some tea, sit in high backed chairs, put the album on, and talk about philosophy or history, in front of a roaring fireplace. That’s where this soundtrack takes you and it’s the best way I can describe it.

Track List:

  1. Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
  2. A Child’s Claim to Fame – Buffalo Springfield
  3. No Regrets – Tom Rush
  4. Old Man – Neil Young
  5. Shooting Star – Bob Dylan
  6. Reason to Believe – Tim Hardin
  7. Need Your Love So Bad – Little Willie John
  8. Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
  9. Slip Away – Clarence Carter
  10. Waiting for the Miracle – Leonard Cohen
  11. Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan
  12. Watching the Wheels – John Lennon
  13. Philosophers Stone – Van Morrison


armageddon soundtrackThe cream in Aerosmith’s comeback coffee, the Armageddon soundtrack featured 4 tracks from the band and one from front man Steven Tyler. But this album is more than an Aerosmith album, it has a sound that can only be described as the rock that wasn’t destroyed by grunge and alternative will live on. I know that as far as the movie is concerned, people either love it or hate it, but the soundtrack is much more well received. Take a listen and you’ll see why.

Track List:

  1. I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aerosmith
  2. Remember Me – Journey Featuring Lead Vocals by Steve Augeri
  3. What Kind Of Love Are You On – Aerosmith
  4. La Grange – ZZ Top
  5. Roll Me Away – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  6. When The Rainbow Comes – Shawn Colvin
  7. Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
  8. Mister Big Time – Jon Bon Jovi
  9. Come Together – Aerosmith
  10. Wish I Were You – Patty Smyth
  11. Starseed – Our Lady Peace
  12. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Chantal Kreviazuk
  13. Theme From Armageddon – Trevor Rabin
  14. Animal Crackers – Steven Tyler

Bonus: Transformers The Movie (1986)

transformers the movie - soundtrackAs a bonus I’ve included a personal favorite of mine, Transformers The Movie soundtrack from the original 1986 full length animated film. For children of the 80’s, this is pure cheese. Intermixed with Vince DiCola’s score for the film, are songs from Stan Bush, Spectre General and even “Weird Al” Yankovic. If you’re unfamiliar with the Transformers pre-Michael Bay, watch the movie. This is where it all started.

Track List:

  1. The Touch – Stan Bush
  2. Instruments Of Destruction – N.R.G.
  3. Death Of Optimus Prime – Vince DiCola
  4. Dare – Stan Bush
  5. Nothin’s Gonna Stand In Our Way – Spectre General
  6. The Transformers Theme – Lion
  7. Escape – Vince DiCola
  8. Hunger – Spectre General
  9. Autobot/Decepticon Battle – Vince DiCola
  10. Dare To Be Stupid – “Weird Al” Yankovic
  11. Unicron Medley – Vince DiCola
  12. Moon Base 2 – Shuttle Launch – Vince DiCola
  13. Megatron Must Be Stopped (Parts 1 & 2) – Vince DiCola
  14. The Transformers Theme (Alternate Version) – Vince DiCola

That’s it, that’s the list. These are all within my collection and if they weren’t I’d probably run out and get them. Do I listen to them all at once, on occasion I do, but they are so varied in music eras, genres and styles that I tend to listen to them one at a time, but again, I feel that they are all worth owning.