hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Pulp Fiction
With some great in-store offers on films and on film soundtracks as part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 1994 and we're recommending the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction...
Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino’s stylish crime epic.
So what’s the film about?
The final focuses around three interconnected crime tales, all taking place in the space of about 24 hours. In the first, hitman Vincent Vega (John Travolta), has to take Mia (Uma Thurman), wife of crime boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), out on the town whilst he is away – a simple task made a lot more difficult when she OD’s on heroin.
In the second, journeyman boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) refuses to throw a fight for Wallace and instead plans to skip town. Before he leave though he needs to pick up a family heirloom, which leads him into the path of a very angry Wallace and some perverse pawnshop proprietors.
Finally, the last story sees Vincent and his partner in crime Jules (Samuel L Jackson) desperately trying to get rid of a body with the help of expert cleaner Wiston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel).
Is this a score or a soundtrack?
It’s a soundtrack of vintage 50s and 60s songs used in the film.
So who’s on it? Anyone I might know?
Instead of having any music written for the film, Quentin Tarantino likes to use a selection of songs from his record collection. For Pulp Fiction, he compiled a playlist of surf rock, rock and roll and soul, including the likes of Kool & The Gang, Dusty Springfield, Chuck Berry and Al Green.
So which songs are on it? Did any of them become hits?
A lot of the songs were already pretty well known, but since Pulp Fiction’s success many of them have been given a new lease of life. Even if you haven’t seen the film you’ll definitely recognise some of them, especially the two songs on the opening titles, Kool & The Gang’s ‘Jungle Boogie’ and Dick Dale’s ‘Misirlou’ (which was also sampled by the Black Eyed Peas), but also Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’, Urge Overkill’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ and ‘Strawberry Letter #23’ by The Brothers Johnson.
What’s the best moment?
It has to be the iconic dance contest in the 50s themed diner, where John Travolta and Uma Thurman get down to Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’.
Has it stood the test of time?
Tarantino manages to give his film a strange feeling out of time – in theory it’s set in the 90s, but it also feels like the 50s, but also kind of the 70s. The music is a massive part of this, and just listening to the soundtrack album completely recreates this feeling.