Blockbuster Tunes with Cut Worms, a Playlist
By Max Clarke
I love film and television. Throughout my life, it has often been through these mediums that I've been introduced to a lot of the music I love. In high school I used to rent movies from Blockbuster all the time and watch them in my basement and sometimes play guitar and write at the same time. I got really into David Bowie after I saw Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic for the first time. I delved into girl groups and early Rolling Stones records after watching Scorsese's Mean Streets. Lately I've been really interested in how music is a huge source of power in film and TV. The music often makes the film or show and, in my opinion, doesn't usually get the lion's share of credit.
Theme from “Happy Days”
Music Factory (from album All Time TV Themes - The Best Selection)
This may have been the first tune of this type of 50’s early rock and roll music that I heard when I was a little kid in the early 90’s and it definitely sunk the hook in. Of course it's sort of a parody of the music of that era and was recorded in the mid 70’s, but what a melody, geez.
"Love My Way", Psychedelic Furs
I just recently saw Call Me By Your Name and the use of this song in that film is really excellent. That plunky xylophone / woodblocky whatever-it-is hook really gets you going.
"Galveston", Glen Campbell from HBO documentary The Jynx
I’m sort of embarrassed to say that I somehow went through 27 years of my life without hearing this song (or at least not noticing it) before watching this true crime doc. When it comes on at the end of one of the episodes it really hits home. Glenn Campbell was a master.
"Pure Imagination", Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
This one touches on a very dark dreamlike feeling, which is a big part of what I liked about the original Willy Wonka movie. Gene Wilder, what a talent…
"I’ve Got a Name", Jim Croce from Invincible
I saw this movie in theaters with my dad in 2006 when I was 15 and even though its sort of a cheesy movie, when this song came on, it was euphoric for me. It was my introduction to Jim Croce’s music. What a great song, still one of my favorites of his.
"Vangelis", Theme from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
This song perfectly captures the vast divine mystery of endless space that Carl Sagan’s Cosmos explores. I often go to sleep listening to the intro to Cosmos. I also like Carl talking over the music.
X Files Theme, Mark Snow
This song is one that scared the hell out of me from an early age before I even ever saw the TV show. It’s arguably scarier than the actual show in my opinion. Such a catchy hook.
"Blue Velvet", Bobby Vinton from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet
This song David Lynch said he never even really liked but it worked perfectly in the opening scene to his film Blue Velvet. I kind of feel the same way. The song on its own is alright — it's masterfully performed and recorded, but there’s something about that white picket fence and the blue sky and the firetruck slowly going by — those visuals interacting with this song that really takes it to that sublime level.
"The Man in Me", Bob Dylan from The Big Lebowski
When I first saw this movie, I was pretty young and hadn’t really gotten much into Bob Dylan. I definitely wouldn’t have heard this one because it was sort of an obscure Dylan track. But this song is great and the use of it in the film is also really striking and it fits perfectly. I think it’s the scene when Jeff Bridges gets punched in the face and knocked out. It really takes you there.
The Throne Room/End Title, John Williams & London Symphony Orchestra from Star Wars
This music is woven into the fabric of American life as far as I’m concerned. John Williams is an undisputed genius and this shows why. I especially like the part that’s like the “Jedi Theme,” — at least I call it that — it usually comes on when Luke is preparing for some big change or dramatic movement. Always gives me chills, and for an ending theme, it doesn’t get much better.