Tag Archives: American Graffiti

Classic Soundtrack Review: American Graffiti

Full Title: American Graffiti
Year: 1973

Side One
1) (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & the Comets (1954)- 9
2) Sixteen Candles by The Crests (1958)- 9
3) Runaway by Del Shannon (1961)- 10
4) Why Do Fools Fall in Love? by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (1956)- 10
5) That’ll Be the Day by Buddy Holly (1957)- 9
6) Fanny Mae by Buster Brown (1959)- 7/8
7) At the Hop by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids (1973)- 9
8) She’s So Fine by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids (1973)- 8
9) The Stroll by The Diamonds (1957)- 7
10) See You In September by The Tempos (1959)- 10

Side Two:
1) Surfin’ Safari by The Beach Boys (1962)- 9
2) He’s The Great Imposter by The Fleetwoods (1961)- 10
3) Almost Grown by Chuck Berry (1959)- 7
4) Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters (1959)- 10
5) Little Darlin’ by The Diamonds (1957)- 7/8
6) Peppermint Twist by Joey Dee and the Starlighters (1961)- 7
7) Barbara Anne by The Regents (1961)- 8
8) Book of Love by The Monotones (1958)- 9
9) Maybe Baby by Buddy Holly (1958)- 8
10) Ya Ya by Lee Dorsey (1961)- 6
11) The Great Pretender by The Platters (1955)- 8

Side Three :
1) Ain’t That a Shame by Fats Domino (1955)- 8
2) Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry (1958)- 9
3) I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos (1959)- 8
4) Get a Job by The Silhouettes (1958)- 7
5) To The Aisle by The Five Satins (1957)- 9
6) Do You Wanna Dance by Bobby Freeman (1958)- 5
7) Party Doll by Buddy Knox (1957)- 8
8) Come Go with Me by The Del-Vikings (1956)- 7
9) You’re Sixteen – You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine) by Johnny Burnette (1960)- 7
10) Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers (1959)- 7

Side Four :
1) Since I Don’t Have You by The Skyliners (1958)- 8
2) Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper (1958)- 7
3) Teen Angel by Mark Dinning (1960)- 9
4) Crying in the Chapel by Sonny Till & the Orioles (1953)- 7/8
5) A Thousand Miles Away by The Heartbeats (1957)- 8
6) Heart and Soul by The Cleftones (1961)- 8
7) Green Onions by Booker T. & the M.G.’s (1962)- 8
8) Only You (and You Alone) by The Platters (1954)- 8
9) Goodnight, Well it’s Time to Go by The Spaniels (1953)- 7/8
10) All Summer Long by The Beach Boys (1964)- 9

Comments: This is pure, good old, fun Rock and Roll from one of the best eras of music! Since, the film American Graffiti is set in 1962 all of the music is from 1950s and early 1960s. We hear a wide variety of hits, but overall the soundtrack has a cohesive, consistent sound. Mostly hoppin and boppin rockers (“Rock Around the Clock,” “Barabara Anne,” etc.), teen oriented love and dance numbers (“Sixteen Candles,” “At the Hop,” etc.), some slow ballads (“He’s the Great Imposter,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” etc.), and best of all the advent of surf rock in the form of the legendary Beach Boys (“Surfin’ Safari,” and “All Summer Long,”), a genre new at the time of the story’s setting. For my money, this is one of the greatest soundtracks of all times and the music is perfectly placed in each scene, literally. It should be noted that the film’s use of music is significant in the history of cinema for it was the first or at least one of the first movies to strictly use populars songs as its sole soundtrack instead of a more conventional score. Nowadays, this is more common, but at the time it was unheard of. On the other hand, looking at this in terms of a record, the second half is not nearly as contagious as the first and not all the songs on here are as strong as some of the others, but I suppose that’s custom. The top tracks for me are “Runaway,” (the structure of this song is incredible, there’s at least four or five stand out, pop hooks) by Del Shannon, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, “See You in September” by The Tempos, “He’s the Great Imposter” by The Fleetwoods, and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” by The Platters. All in all, this is simply a great record to just kick back, relax, and rock out to!

Grade: 8/10- I highly recommend you pick this up if you’re a huge fan of early Rock and Roll and/or the movie.

Random Thought Of the Day…

As we waltz our fat asses into another decade, I’m struck by the thought of how memorable or unmemorable not only this decade, but the previous decade has been. It’s a sad commentary when the first things that come to my mind are all classic mass hysteria: Columbine, 9/11, the Swine Flu Epidemic, etc. When we look back on the 90s and 00s I hope we are not simply remembering tragedies, facebook, and Kanye’s interruption at the Mtv awards. Fortunately, the underground (and to an extent the overground in the 90s) have given us some of the best Rock and Roll ever. But, still our generation seems to lack the cultural significance that previous generations championed. Just the other day, I was watching the Wedding Singer, which was released in 1997, but was set in 1985. I thought to myself, why hasn’t there been a movie released in this decade that takes place in the 90s? It’s really peculiar when you look at how quickly other decades got their due: American Graffiti was released in 1973 and set in 1962 (only 11 year difference) and Dazed and Confused was released in 1993 and takes place in 1976 (17 years). So, what does that say about our culture in the past 20 years or so? Is it so monotonous that it is not worthy of an era capturing film? Oh well, perhaps the next decade will be radical and/or there will be a feature film set in the 90s/00s as worthy as its nostalgic predecessors.