If there’s one director who values the impact of music on his films then it is Quentin Tarantino. The king of Indiewood, Tarantino quickly made a name for himself with his unadulterated films, championing the audience’s entitlement to entertainment and producing films that provided more gasps, laughs and recoils per minute than any other. While his main medium was, of course, the visual aspect of filmmaking, Tarantino knew that using classic songs would only help his pursuit for viewer satisfaction.
As such, noting some of Tarantino’s favourite songs of all time feels like a natural thing to do. Below, we’ve collated some of his most beloved songs (usually found within his films), as well as delving into the full-length albums he cherishes most. Like any good muso, we’d expect a list of Tarantino’s favourite songs to be constantly changing, meaning this playlist is an amalgamation of his most treasured tracks. One thing is for sure, across 153 songs, we get a taste for Tarantino’s record collection.
“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, and the ten films he’s delivered thus far, it’s hard to avoid the impact music has had on his impressive 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.”
It’s a unique standpoint for a director. To be as open about the importance of music in his films and note their huge contributing factor to said films success. Likewise, in an interview with Uncut, when noting his ten favourite albums of all time, the director produced some unique choices, picking out two albums from Phil Ochs as well as paying tribute to some of the 1960s more obscure acts, all of which can be found in our playlist below.
There is, however, one album that ranks as his absolute favourite of all time — Bob Dylan’s seminal LP Blood on the Tracks. About which, Tarantino once said: “This is my favourite album ever. 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.”
Collected together alongside a similar playlist of Tarantino’s favourite songs form his movies, and we have one of the most definitive Quentin Tarantino playlists of all time.
Check out the 153-track playlist below.