My Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Posted: May 16, 2010 in Best of file 23, The Roper Files
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I’ve always loved films that had a good soundtrack whether it was John Waters using his 45 rpm collection for PINK FLAMINGOS or Ennio Morricone’s grand soundtracks for those wonderful 1960s “spaghetti westerns”.

Instrumental music has always been a love of mine and over the years several soundtracks have piled up in my collection. I enjoy listening to them when I write; someone singing just throws my train of thought for a loop ( another reason I listen to jazz when I write as well)

Dug out a few favorites to share with you; most of these are hopelessly out of print…


AMERICAN SPLENDOR – Great low-budget adaptation of the Harvey Pekar comic series although Pekars work is truly worthy of the moniker “graphic novel”; Pekar serves up slices of life as non-judgmentally as a butcher at a deli disguised as a low-brow comic book.

The movie soundtrack is comprised of jazz rarities from Pekars vinyl collection as well as a couple of tracks by Pekar pal R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders. The CD cover also has a eight-page mini-comic which serves as the Pekar-written liner notes. Worth getting just for the Joe Maneri, Jay McShann tracks and Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things” which I never get tired of hearing. ‘


BLUE VELVET- Dark, wicked, depraved David Lynch movie that still makes me want a shower immediately after watching it even after all these years; I feel like I’ve just gone through a two-hour stroll through a sewer.

The soundtrack begins with sweet strings and an oboe and yet contains the same foreboding mood of the film; I can listen to this and get the feeling something is fixing to go horribly wrong. This music makes me want to look over my shoulder and watch my back.

Worth getting for Roy Orbisons “In Dreams” and also Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk”


CLOCKWORK ORANGE – Long out of print soundtrack to the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece and an entertaining CD as well, although the William Tell Overture almost never fails to make me jump out of my chair when it starts about halfway through. Bet the whole business of trying to decide whether to write the royalty checks to either Wendy or Walter Carlos still drives their accounting division crazy at Warner Brothers, which could be one reason this is out of print.


CRUMB – Not just a merchandising tie-in with the excellent Terry Zwigoff 1995 documentary but a very lovely collection of tunes ( some authentic, some recreated in the studio) from Crumbs extensive 78 rpm collection.


FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS – Great collection of 60s tunes mixed with choice audio snippets from the film.


HATED – From the 1993 documentary about GG Allin, the sickest most depraved punk rocker of all time. All the classics are here: “Die When You Die” “Bite It You Scum” “F*** Authority” “Gypsy Motherf***er” and my personal favorite “I Wanna Kill You” Perfect for office, christmas and childrens birthday parties.


NAKED LUNCH – from the 1992 David Cronenberg movie; a nice mix of Ornette Coleman, Howard Shore and the London Phiharmonic Orchestra. Sweet.


PULP FICTION – The best-selling soundtrack since American Graffiti and also to thank or blame for making surf music popular for 15 minutes or so in the late 90s.

REPO MAN – One of the most quotable movies ever made and a fun soundtrack to boot. Worth getting just to have the great Iggy Pop theme song, Black Flags “TV Party” and Fear’s “Lets Have a War” all on one disc, also the great “Reel Ten” end music too.


TAXI DRIVER – Still one of my favorite Scorcese movies and a great moody soundtrack. This is less than thirty minutes long however; Bernard Herrman died while this film was in production and this would be his last soundtrack after decades of writing great scores for Alfred Hitchcock and many other great directors.

 I know I know; I forgot (fill in the blank) This was not intended to be a definitive list; just a list of titles from my collection. Now I got to be going; I’ve got movies to watch….


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