From Johnny Cash to the White Stripes: Quentin Tarantino’s favourite songs used in his films
With live music venues and cinemas still forced to remain closed amid strict social distancing measures, we’re dipping back into the Far Out archive to keep us entertained and finding one of the finest playlists around. Last year, to coincide with the release of his latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino created a mammoth playlist combining the favourite songs he has used throughout his films. It’s a playlist that stretches across his long and distinguished career and highlights how vital music has become for Tarantino’s vision.
Tarantino, who has long been celebrated for his use of music in his projects, has repeated his combination of tracks taken from the 1960s and 1970s among other deep cuts, to dominate soundtracks on most of his cinematic efforts. It means his favourite songs from his career in film make for one of the more well-appointed playlists we’ve ever come across.
“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie,” the acclaimed director once said, “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 once explained.
When looking through Tarantino’s long-ranging career it’s hard to avoid the impact music has had on the films in his canon and how, with their unique style and pace, those songs have been equally as vital in establishing the director’s iconography: “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.”
Such is the vital role of music in his films, Tarantino’s new playlist—which spans nearly four hours and combines around 70 songs—features favourites such as Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ which famously appeared on Kill Bill:Volume 1, The White Stripes hit ‘Apple Blossom’ which he used on The Hateful Eight and, of course, the undeniable triumph of Chuck Berry song ‘You Never Can Tell’ from Pulp Fiction.
While introducing his playlist as part of the Spotify series ‘Film and TV Favourites’, Tarantino said: “We’ll play for you some of my favourite songs off of my soundtrack collection, so sit back, relax, and move into the soundscape of a Quentin Tarantino movie. You may never want to leave.”
It’s a truly fantastic playlist that deserves a spin at any occasion, featuring some of the widespread stars of the music scene as well as some hidden gems.
Quentin Tarantino’s favourite songs from his films: