“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Soundtrack
In a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, its tough imagine anything other than the stars of the movie being the stars of the movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s celluloid love letter to 1969, proves that the duo can be upstaged. There’s little doubt it will resonate with every fan over 65 and prove to be a time-period-seduction for movie-going Gen X / Y and Millennials. Tarantino appropriately predicted the enthusiasm of both by creating a multi-media experience with a website that takes you on a virtual tour of the era’s key locales and a virtual magazine which includes features on the movie’s fictional characters and fictional products. The crown gem is the monstrous 31-track Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack on vinyl and CD.
A limited edition opening weekend vinyl 2-LP set featured a reproduction handwritten title and autograph on the cover. The double album was only available at Amoeba Records and Tarantino’s own movie theater, the New Beverly Cinema, and sold out at the former by 1:30 PM on release day.
The scenery and wardrobe are likely Oscar-worthy, but the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack has an undeniable leading role in the film. Paul Revere & the Raiders – with Mark Lindsay‘s soulful pipes front and center – top the leader board with three cuts on the soundtrack plus an appearance on a TV set in the movie. “For FOUR Raider songs to be included in the movie, at pivotal points, is a great honor, and frankly, I’m completely blown away,” Lindsay gushed on Facebook. “Going again soon because the attention to detail is so intense that it will take more than one viewing to take it all in. SEE IT! And then see it again….”
The details to which Lindsay refers have been lauded in the press by every outlet from Architectural Digest to Rolling Stone. Tarantino’s 2 hour and 45 minute thrill ride is immersive time-travel at its cinematic finest.
The inside references are innumerable and would likely take an experienced guide pausing the flick every minute or two. One such was teased by a trailer for the movie which featured “Straight Shooter” by the Mamas and the Papas. The sheet music for the song was found on a music stand at the scene of the Sharon Tate murders at 10050 Cielo Drive. Leonardo’s character in the movie lives next door to Tate and Roman Polanski. The home was previously occupied by Raiders’ lead singer Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. (Music trivia fans already know Melcher was the son of Doris Day and one-half of Bruce & Terry.) Lindsay reports that he and Melcher had bought the “Straight Shooter” sheet and left it behind in the home’s piano bench.
Fret not if you’re less-than-intrigued by the subtext and tongue-in-cheek tidbits. Chances are you’ll be just as content with the broad-brush fantasy at play and sheer joy of scenes including the Box Tops‘ “Choo Choo Train”, Neil Diamond‘s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” and “Jenny Take a Ride” by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Another Box Tops’ classic is included, but you won’t find the Memphis combo singing it. Instead, Tarantino opted for the Joe Cocker version of ‘The Letter”, as he plucked Jose Feliciano‘s “California Dreamin'” in favor of the Mamas and the Papas’ track. Roy Head, the Association, Vanilla Fudge and Chad & Jeremy.
Tarantino’s music supervisor, Mary Ramos, revealed in a recent interview that the process begins with the fanatical director going into his “record room.” Tarantino also wanted to stick with period music and refused offers of new music from current artists. With all of the foresight, one of the more whimsical moments in the movie – DiCaprio singing Jim Lowe‘s “Green Door” on Hullabaloo – was “a last minute decision,” according to Ramos.
The Association, Feliciano, Head, the Fudge, the Box Tops, Jeremy Clyde, Ryder and Lindsay, all still performing, stand to benefit from the updraft. The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack went to #1 on Amazon’s CD & Vinyl list almost instantly and stayed there through opening weekend.