Some of the best rock ‘n’ roll moments in movies.
Robert de Niro and Harvey Keitel in “Mean Streets” (1973) | Warner Bros.
This could have easily transformed into an hours-long Martin Scorsese film songs playlist, and I am sure we’ll get there at some point. Still, I couldn’t resist including as many as three songs from his movies. Because Scorsese revolutionised movie soundtrack, being one of the pioneers (before Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson, who both get two entries along with Jim Jarmusch) in using preexisting music, approaching soundtrack construction with a record collector’s curiosity and passion. The music in his films is so good. People listen to the music in Scorsese’s films. And I couldn’t begin with anything else than The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” that opens Mean Streets, showing us Charlie (Harvey Keitel) in happier times, before everything comes apart.
You know that moment when you are watching a film and a song starts flooding the soundtrack and you feel that there is nothing in the world right then that you’d rather do? That that is what you are supposed to be doing? Because the right song can not only jolt a film to something wild and emblematic, but it can transform your own existence, too. And you may already know the song, but in that moment, in that movie, it reaches new heights, new power, new life.
Before hitting the play button, just one more thing: This will be the second year in a row in more than twenty years when I won’t be watching the Oscars, but the news that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will perform “Shallow” at the ceremony almost got me reconsider. Almost.
But enough talking. Let’s hear some music. Play them loud, and the movies, too.
1. Be My Baby, The Ronettes (Mean Streets, 1973) / 2. Lust for Life, Iggy Pop (Trainspotting, 1996) / 3. Jockey Full of Bourbon, Tom Waits (Down By Law, 1986) / 4. You Never Can Tell, Chuck Berry (Pulp Fiction, 1994) / 5. Play with Fire, The Rolling Stones (The Darjeeling Limited, 2007) / 6. Just Like Honey, The Jesus and Mary Chain (Lost in Translation, 2003) / 7. Dreams Never End, New Order (Carlos, 2010) / 8. I’m Shipping Up to Boston, Dropkick Murphys (The Departed, 2006) / 9. Heroes, David Bowie (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 2012) / 10. The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel (The Graduate, 1967) / 11. The End, The Doors (Apocalypse Now, 1979) / 12. Tell Me Now So That I Know, Holly Golightly (Broken Flowers, 2005) / 13. Hurdy Gurdy Man, Donovan (Zodiac, 2006) / 14. Needle in the Hay, Elliott Smith (The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001) / 15. Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf (Easy Rider, 1969) / 16. The Power of Love, Huey Lewis & The News (Back to the Future, 1985) / 17. Layla, Derek and the Dominoes (Goodfellas, 1990) / 18. Stuck in the Middle with You, Stealers Wheel (Reservoir Dogs, 1992) / 19. Lookin’ Out My Back Door, Creedance Clearwater Revival (The Big Lebowski, 1998) / 20. Shallow, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born, 2018)