BEST MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS FROM THE 70s

On the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, we've put together our list of favourite film soundtracks from that era.

There were certain albums, it seems, that every household was issued with, in the 70’s. Iconic albums that no matter which friends house you went to, you would see it in their collection. Stuff like Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive, Neil Diamond - Hot August Night, Pink Floyd - The Wall, ABBA – Arrival and the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. It was weird that everyone at least had those in common, but also comforting. The latter, Saturday Night Fever, sold over 15 million copies just in the United States. Soundtracks were MASSIVE in the 70’s, and I think we kind of took them for granted at the time.

So on the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, I wanted to cobble together some of my favourite ones for you.

Pink Floyd – The Wall

My brother (12yrs my senior) had a record collection in which I found a lot of my musical taste, and I have vivid memories of him listening to albums in his room when I was very young, one of which, was Pink Floyd – The Wall. I had no idea of what a ‘concept album’ was, I just remember in between hearing amazing songs like "Comfortably Numb", "Run Like Hell", and "Another Brick in The Wall (pt 2)", I would hear people talking, funny voices, narratives, and I was drawn to it. I’d sit there with him listening to it, gazing at the gatefold cover with these bizarre illustrations and characters. When I finally saw the movie, it made more sense, although I was too young to fully understand, and it scared me a little. But to this day, it’s absolutely one of my favourites.

Grease

This is another album I should have added to the ‘household issue’ list. EVERYONE I knew had this, and with good reason. A monster movie starring our very own ONJ and a soundtrack that sold over 28 million copies worldwide. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the movie, but as kids, there weren’t many of us that didn’t know nearly the entire soundtrack word for word. It wasn’t even the music we were really into, but it was so iconic, it was lame NOT to know it. Plus there was a cool car race, and "Greased Lightnin" that featured as the guys built their car was totally awesome.

Full disclosure: At my grade 6 graduation, which all parents and family attended, our class performed a routine to "You’re the One That I Want". I shudder when I think about it now, 80’s school teachers were harsh, but that was the impact of that movie, and soundtrack. Let’s also not forget the impact it had when it was re-released on CD in ’91, you couldn’t escape the "Grease Megamix", played at every 18th I went to back then.

The Godfather

I remember when I was working in a radio station in Mandurah, Western Australia, our production guy (the guy who made all the ads, sweepers, etc) was a muso. One day he brought his mandolin into his studio and I, of course, asked him to play "Love Theme" from The Godfather, which he did, perfectly, and I was in awe. There’s no disputing that The Godfather was an incredibly huge movie (part 2 is better), and there’s no disputing that when you mention the movie, that everyone knows "Love Theme". That’s why I have included it in this list. Its cultural significance cannot be ignored.

Saturday Night Fever

When you think of this soundtrack, you think of one band, the Bee Gees. No surprise there, they provided 8 of the 17 songs used, and they provided the biggest tunes in the movie, and at the time, the biggest songs in the world. "Stayin’ Alive", "Jive Talkin’", "How Deep Is Your Love", "Night Fever", "More Than A Woman", "You Should Be Dancing", and "If I Can’t Have You". This movie launched John Travolta, and only bolstered the Bee Gees place in musical history. 40 million plus copies of this soundtrack have been sold worldwide, and even if you haven’t seen the movie, you know the songs. You know who sang them, and you know some of the moves. When something becomes that ingrained into culture, it would be remiss to not include it. Plus, Disco rules, ok?

Ok, I’m going to be a little naughty here and go on a technicality to include…

The Blues Brothers 

The soundtrack to this monster movie wasn’t released until mid 1980, however, the movie was filmed in 1979 so I’m including it. Besides, all the songs are way older than that. This movie remains one of my favorites of all time, and the soundtrack absolutely makes it. Big band, rhythm and blues, rock n roll, funk, gospel, this movie melded all these influences together and introduced an audience to songs they may never have considered listening to. I know that’s what it did for me. In fact hearing John Lee Hooker doing "Boom Boom" in this movie introduced me to him in the 80’s. I still love John Lee Hooker’s music. I didn’t know anything about Aretha Franklin until I saw this movie, same can be said for Cab Calloway. This soundtrack was a gateway for me to discover a whole new world of musical influences and gems.

In writing this, I hope it inspires you to revisit your collection, dig out your favourite soundtracks, get a bit nostalgic and rediscover some artists you may have forgotten about, but truly appreciated at the time. You bought it for a reason, don’t let it wither away on a shelf, ya jive turkey, get down with it.

- Higgo 

 

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