The 10 Best Bands Or Artists To Provide An Entire Film Soundtrack
Music is a very important aspect of life, and that goes doubly for motion picture soundtracks. Without music, certain scenes, moments, and especially montages would risk falling completely flat. The following list of the greatest bands and/or artists to provide the entirety of a movie soundtrack not only nail the tone of their content, but we’d be hard pressed to think of another who would have done it any better…eny bedder…eddie vedder…
Best Film Soundtracks By One Musician Or Band
Eddie Vedder, Into the Wild (2007)
Is there an echo in here? Did someone say Eddie Vedder? OK, if you insist. Yes, the Pearl Jam frontman did put together the music for the 2007 Sean Penn directed Into the Wild. The reason Vedder fit the film so well is simple: previous collaboration and having the material handed to him. Vedder had done songs for Penn’s previous films Dead Man Walking and I Am Sam, so the two were already comfortable working together. Furthermore, Penn showed him a rough cut of his movie prior to Vedder writing anything, and when you can visualize the subject matter for the music you are writing, half the battle is already won before it begins.
Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy (2010)
The Tron: Legacy soundtrack is a rare case of a film getting overshadowed by its score. But when you hire Daft Punk to do music for you, you almost have to expect that. Regardless of what you thought of the film, or if you saw it at all for that matter, it’s hard to deny that the visuals are a perfect pairing with the French electric music duo’s style. On top of that, the amount of detail that went into each song is a feat within itself. You can tell that the band worked very closely with director Joseph Kosinski and music supervisor Jason Bentley, and that’s why it really stands out in the end. That, and the soundtrack going gold in three countries, of course.
Jack Johnson, Curious George (2006)
Speaking of chart-topping soundtracks, let’s switch gears to more family friendly fair for a second. Could there have been a better fit than coupling the most unoffensive soft rocker of our time with the most unoffensive children’s book turned feature film? You don’t even need to answer that, because the album did it for you. Not only was it the first soundtrack to top the charts in three years, but it was the first animated soundtrack to do so in 11 years. If that’s not a match made in heaven, then we clearly have no idea what that phrase means.
Phil Collins, Tarzan (1999)
While we’re on the subject of perfect men for the job, let’s talk about Phil Collins composing a Disney film for a second. The ex-Genesis singer turned solo artist can rock, sure, but his true talent is schmaltz, and that’s exactly what makes a great Disney song. Sure enough, he wound up knocking it out of the park with his main track “You’ll Be In My Heart” (as if there was any doubt he wouldn’t), taking home a Grammy and even an Academy Award for his work. He totally deserved it, too. That song will make your eyes well up without even watching the movie.
AC/DC, Iron Man 2 (2010) and Maximum Overdrive (1986)
We weren’t really sure if this counted as providing an entire soundtrack for a movie since no new AC/DC songs were actually recorded for Iron Man 2, so we threw in Maximum Overdrive (which they at least recorded three new tunes for) to be safe. Not since the Rocky theme have a hero and a song gone as good together as Iron Man and “Shoot to Thrill.” Yes, you’re probably thinking “What about ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath?” Well, did “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath play Iron Man into his first fight scene in The Avengers? No, it did not. “Shoot to Thrill” did. What we’re trying to say here is that while perhaps comprising an entire soundtrack of old music may not be especially creative, already established classic tunes will fit the bill much better under the right circumstance. Let’s face it, Iron Man charging into battle to new AC/DC songs would have come off tacky, or at the very least disorienting and confusing.
Isaac Hayes, Shaft (1971)
On the flip side of Iron Man 2, Shaft was a brand new movie hero in need of a funky fresh sound. Who better to provide it than soul man Isaac Hayes? Of course, there is a better reason than that why the score for Shaft is as good as it is. Originally, before Hayes knew Richard Roundtree had already been cast in the title role, he planned to use his score as a means to campaign for the role himself. Therefore, he probably worked on it a little harder than he would have if he knew he’d just be composing the theme for someone else. In any case, “Theme from Shaft” still wound up winning him an Academy Award and the soundtrack topped the charts, so clearly everything came together the way it was supposed to.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network (2010)
No one composes to the atmosphere quite like Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. While the two have gone on to do tremendous work on their collaborations for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl, it was their first attempt with The Social Network that served as the true test of whether they could hack it for a full film (Note: Reznor had actually attempted to score One Hour Photo before this, but the music didn’t end up working right for the film). Sure enough, the intense yet reserved style they chose for Fincher’s Facebook biography payed off, making it one of the best aspects of the movie (along with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance, of course).
Queen, Flash Gordon (1980)
To be as blunt as possible, Queen could score a turd sitting on a window sill and it would sound amazing. So regardless of what you think of Flash Gordon, everything Queen produced to score it was too good for it. Having said that, we should also mention that the band recorded several songs for the film Highlander six years later, only to have an official soundtrack for the film never be released. However, most of the songs from that film wound up on their album “A Kind of Magic” anyways, so no harm done. In the end, Queen was still a great fit for both films because it’s Queen. Anything they touch is gonna pop, no matter how bad the source material would be without it.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, She’s the One (1996)
This one’s a bit trickier than most “soundtracks,” as it was not only the score for Ed Burns’ 1996 romantic comedy She’s the One, but simultaneously served as the ninth studio album for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well. As far as the legendary rocker’s music is concerned, the album itself is “Petty as she goes” (we can’t pass up a good pun) and serves as perfect mood setter for the film. Ultimately, however, considering the band went ahead and just considered it one of their albums along with being a soundtrack is more baffling than anything else. Thank God the dude can jam.
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)
We figured we’d throw a curveball in right at the end because, well, frankly it’s just fun to do that. And hey, all we said was that this was a list of bands that provided all the songs to a movie, and technically all the artists who sang on this album were covering The Beatles’ tunes. We doubt we need to point out why their own music would be the perfect fit for their own movie, but if you didn’t like our cheap trick, be sure to let us know in the comments, and tell us any of the other soundtracks done by one band or artist that you felt should have made the cut. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and maybe even learned something new today. Seriously, we’ll take anything.