K-Chuck Radio: How to enjoy a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack

The previews for the new Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time In Hollywood are enticing.  I definitely want to see how one of the most inspiring directors of our time can use the backdrop of 1960’s-era Hollywood to create something vibrant and special.

And if you’re a Tarantino fan, you know that one of his consistent strengths is the ability to find all sorts of classic rock and soul music to intersperse in his films.  It’s almost like the tracks you completely forgot about now have new life in them.

I give you examples now.  These songs were all featured in Tarantino films, or were associated with them in one way or another.

And I start with…

Stuck in the Middle with You
(Reservoir Dogs)

I’ve had friends of mine say that Sheryl Crow owes Gerry Rafferty a ton of money in that her song “All I Wanna Do” is almost a note-for-note transcription of “Stuck in the Middle With You.”  I can hear it.  But I can also hear how this track fits in with the crime caper film gone bad of Reservoir Dogs.

Little Green Bag
(Reservoir Dogs)

Another Reservoir Dogs track, this song completely exonerates the George Baker Selection for that piece of 1976 treacle “Paloma Blanca” that godawful singalong track with the flute and the chisel-braining lyrics.

(Pulp Fiction)

How could I not include this track?  Think about this … Dick Dale’s surf guitar classic got new life with its inclusion in Pulp Fiction, and it kept Dale financially solvent for the remainder of his life.  Plus, it’s a waycool track.

You Never Can Tell
(Pulp Fiction)

This was the track from the “Batusi” dance scene between Uma Thurman and John Travolta – and as I’ve written in a previous blog post, songs like Joe Walsh’s “A Life of Illusion” and Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” have plenty of connections to this Chuck Berry stomper – especially the piano bridge solo in this song.

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
(Kill Bill)

I always thought this song was too cool for disco, and it was much better than the original Animals track.  Plus, it makes a nice soundtrack to a ninja battle.  I want to take this track and sync it up to the best wuxia fight scenes from the Shaw Brothers catalog.

Hold Tight
(Death Proof / Grindhouse)

In the Death Proof movie, the characters have a full-length discussion over whether this group’s obscure hit would be different had Pete Townsend accepted an invitation to join the band.  That, and the band’s name would have been even MORE unwieldy.

Chick Magnet
(Death Proof / Grindhouse)

I’m adding this one here because it’s a hard rocking reinterpretation of the 1960’s France Gall ye-ye French pop classic, and it was part of the closing scene in Death Proof – the one where the girls get their revenge on Stunt Man Mike.  Who I think may or may not be in a cameo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but I’m not completely sure – there’s a theory that all the Tarantino films are intertwined in some way, I just don’t have that much time to figure that theory out.

Bring a Little Lovin’
(Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Gotta hand it to Tarantino, he went with a more obscure Los Bravos hit, not the cloying “Black is Black” track.  Plus, I didn’t realize until I did some research for this blog post that this song was actually a cover of an Easybeats song, so this song has the same Vanda / Young pedigree as tracks like “Friday On My Mind” and “It’s A Long Way To the Top.”  Wow.

Straight Shooter
(Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

I could take the John Phillips guitar intro to this track and turn it into one waycool cell phone ring tone.  In fact … I might just do that.

But yeah, you could stockpile a radio station with songs that have appeared in Tarantino movies.  I’ve listed just a few.  But it’s a great way to get your groove revved up this morning.

Right here on K-Chuck Radio!