With social distancing restrictions being eased and more vaccinations administered, it is now time for live music to plot its major return to the fore. While the debate surrounding vaccination passports will rage on, music lovers are finally able to plan their route back into the sticky floors and sweaty crowds of the live music scene. To ramp up the excitement, we’re dipping back into the Far Out vault to deliver a selection of albums curated by Quentin Tarantino to remind us just how great music can be.
Tarantino has long been celebrated for his use of music in his films, and his repeated combination of songs from the 1960s and 1970s have dominated soundtracks on most of his projects. For Tarantino, however, the music choice begins at home when formulating his next film, deciding on the tracks used to open and close credits before anything else.
“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song’,” Tarantino explained in a booklet that came alongside The Tarantino Connection, a collection of soundtrack songs from his films.
Tarantino adds: “To me the opening credits are very important because that’s the only mood time that most movies give themselves. A cool credit sequence and the music that plays in front of it, or note played, or any music ‘whatever you decide to do’ that sets the tone for the movie that’s important for you. So I’m always trying to find what the right opening or closing credit should be early on when I’m just even thinking about the story. Once I find it that really kind of triggers me in to what the personality of the piece should be what the rhythm of this piece should be.”
When asked to select a number of his favourite records of all time during an interview with Melody Maker, which has been republished via Uncut, Tarantino can’t hold back his love for Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Phil Ochs and more.
“This is my favourite album ever,” the filmmaker says by opening up his list by talking about Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. “I spent the end of my teenage years and my early twenties listening to old music–rockabilly music, stuff like that. Then I discovered folk music when I was 25, and that led me to Dylan. He totally blew me away with this. It’s like the great album from the second period, y’know? It’s his masterpiece.”
With the likes of Freda Payne, Elvis Presley, Phil Ochs and more, you can view the full list below and get an unusual insight into the working mind of Quentin Tarantino. When speaking about Elvis, it should come as little surprise that Tarantino details The King as a heavy influence, especially given his early stint as an impersonator on national TV. “This has been a hugely important album to me. I was always a big rockability fan and a big Elvis fan, and to me this album is the purest expression of Elvis there was. Sure, there are better individual songs—but no one collection ever touched the album.”
He added: “When I was young, I used to think Elvis was the voice of truth. I don’t know what that means, but his voice…shit man, it sounded so fucking pure. If you grew up loving Elvis, this is it. Forget the Vegas period: if you really love Elvis, you’re ashamed of that man in Vegas. You feel like he let you down. The hillbilly cat never let you down.”
Given some restrictions on Spotify, we’ve done our best to piece together a playlist on Tarantino’s recommendations. You can stream it below.
Quentin Tarantino’s 10 favourite albums:
- Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks
- Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blues
- Freda Payne – Band Of Gold
- Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions
- Phil Ochs – I Ain’t Marching Anymore
- Phil Ochs – The Highwayman
- Elmer Bernstein – The Great Escape
- Bernard Herrmann – Sisters
- Jerry Goldsmith – Under Fire
- Jack Nitzsche – Revenge