Where have the great soundtracks gone?

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Raymond Fiore notes that the poor sales of soundtrack CDs for The Dukes of Hazzard and Stealth show how far we’ve come from the soundtrack album’s glory days; the last such CD that was truly popular in its own right was 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? In fact, he’s complied a chart of the top-selling soundtracks of all time:

The Bodyguard (1992): 17 million sold
Saturday Night Fever
(1977): 15 million
Purple Rain
(1984): 13 million
(1997): 11 million
Dirty Dancing
(1987): 11 million
The Lion King
(1994): 10 million
Top Gun
(1986): 9 million
(1984): 9 million
(1978): 8 million
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(2000): 7 million

Fiore offers several reasons for the slump, but I think the best one is that few movies actually use good songs that fit the film. Fortunately, the success of the Garden State CD has convinced some industry folk that this is the right approach.

Which films have soundtracks so good you have to own them?

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • Professor74

    Hustle & Flow – although it doesn’t include the funk and blues songs like Buddy Guy’s “Baby, Please Don’t Leave Me” or Al Green’s “Jesus is Waiting”
    Juice(Tupac/Omar Epps) – and a lot of “ghetto” movies of the 90s

  • Ali

    Boogie Nights! Both versions 1 and 2 were fabulous and fit the movie perfectly.

  • Mariane

    “Popeye.” Yet it’s not out on CD yet. I had to buy an LP on eBay and I can’t play that in my car.

  • Gus

    Glitter. Duh.

  • Adam Keleman

    Magnolia but of course.

  • lulu

    The Commitments. both volumes :)

  • lulu

    also, I forgot to mention the soundtrack to “Ray”

  • kjones

    if you know the ledge…

  • jamoann

    braveheart cause i couldnt stop standing up out of my sunroof and screaming “FREEEEDOMMMMM!!!!”

  • Jennifer

    The “Go” Soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time. Lots of fun songs, perfect for driving ground with the top down on a sunny day.

  • Sharon Cox

    Basically any movie that Robert Redford directed or was associated with. They don’t make soundtracks like this any more! A River Runs Through It, The Natural, Legend of Baggar Vance… A good movie sound track should “transport” you to the movie “scene” with the hearing of just a clip of the music.

  • Bill

    Grosse Point Blank

  • Lili

    Shrek (the first one) is a great soundtrack! And Remember the Titans (you know, the Denzel Washington football movie) is a great soundtrack too!

  • Tonya

    Breaking the Waves
    Billy Elliot
    Boogie Nights
    Backbeat (jazz)

  • EP Sato

    Guy Ritchie makes amazing soundtracks. They are good enough that I will forgive him for “Swept Away”.
    “Snatch” has a spectacular soundtrack that was almost entirely ripped off for use in GTA: San Andreas (I guess it’s the highest form of flattery when someone uses your heist movie soundtrack for a “heist” style video game).
    “Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrells” was cool for it’s use of a lot of music that had never made it stateside.
    Of course, credit is due to Quentin Tarrantino, who’s Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction soundtracks are true classics.

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