The Soundtracks of Scorsese

27 Dec


As previously reported, Martin Scorsese received one of the Kennedy Honors earlier in December. While Scorsese captures and conveys stark and raw glimpses of real life in his films and delves into lesser examined areas of society, he is also an accomplished music aficionado.  He not only paints a vivid picture through film, but has incorporated meaningful music in his soundtracks that help to finish the portrait.

In addition to great movie soundtracks, Scorsese directed the infamous concert documentary, The Last Waltz, in1976 that captured The Band’s last concert on Thanksgiving night at the Winterland Ballroom in San Fransisco. The concert included a who’s who of special guests including: Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Ringo Starr, Ron Wood and others. If you have not had the opportunity to view The Last Waltz, put it on your New Year’s movie list.

The all-star finale, I Shall Be Released:

Of note: The Band‘s guitarist, Robbie Robertson worked on several Scorsese soundtracks over the years.

Then, there was the 7-part The Blues documentary that Scorsese directed and produced in 2003 that serves as the paramount anthology on the blues genre and highlighted performances like this:

John Lee Hooker

Scorsese is well known and respected as a Director, but his use of music as the message should also be acknowledged. He is partial to the doo-wop of his youth and Italian opera. He mixes in the rock of his prime years with the blues that he adores. Hats off to Marty. Personally, I love a guy who loves DeNiro, Keitel and DiCaprio AND has a definite appreciation for music and the way music can tell the story…you know, throw you back into a certain time, a certain memory. The soundtracks to his movies are an extension of the storytelling and some of his choices are brilliant.

The following includes some of my favorites from Scorsese movies. Click on the links to take you to YouTube.

Mean Streets


Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

I Love You So – The Chantells

Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes

Rubber Biscuit – The Chips

Steppin’ Out – John Mayhall’s Bluesbusters

I Looked Away – Eric Clapton (Derek & The Dominos)

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore


All the Way from Memphis, Ian Hunter

Roll Away the Stone, Leon Russell

Daniel, Elton John

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank Williams

Raging Bull


Prisoner of Love, Russ Columbo

Mona Lisa, Nat King Cole

Bye Bye Baby, Marilyn Monroe

Till Then, The Mills Brothers

King of Comedy


Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders

Ain’t Nobody’s Business, B. B. King

Swamp, Talking Heads

Come Rain or Come Shine, Ray Charles

Wonderful Remark, Van Morrison

Color of Money


Werewolves of London (movie)

It’s in the Way That You Use It – Eric Clapton



Rags to Riches, Tony Bennett

Sincerely, The Moonglows

Hearts of Stone, Otis Williams & The Charms

Stardust, Billy Ward and His Dominos

It’s Not For Me to Say, Johnny Mathis

Playboy, The Marvelettes

I Will Follow Him, Peggy March

Roses are Red, Bobby Vinton

Ain’t Love a Kick in the Head, Dean Martin (from the “Oceans Eleven” Soundtrack)

Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand), The Shangri Las

Leader of the Pack, The Shangri Las

Monkey Man, The Rolling Stones

Baby I Love You, Aretha Franklin

Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin

Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones

Jump Into the Fire, Harry Nilsson (scene)

Magic Bus, The Who

What is Life, George Harrison

Mannish Boy, Muddy Waters

My Way, Sid Vicious



Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters

Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues

Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence “Frogman” Henry

Without You – Harry Nilsson

I’m Sorry – Brenda Lee

Walk on the Wild Side – Jimmy Smith

Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) – Otis Redding

The Glory of Love – The Velvetones

Satisfaction – Devo

What a Difference a Day Makes – Dinah Washington

Working in a Coalmine – Lee Dorsey

House of the Rising Sun – Eric Burdon

Who Can I Turn To – Tony Bennett (performed here by Anthony Newly)

Marty Scorsese gets people and he gets music. He understands that music kun-NECKs people to events and certain times and uses music to make you truly feel the visual. He appreciates all music and all genres and exposes his electic musical tastes to help tell his stories. He truly is deserving of his Kennedy honor. He uses multiple facets of the performing arts to grab the viewer/listener and gives us all a glimpse of life that we might never have known of, but for his adept storytelling.

Besides, I really dig his American Express commercials…..

directed by MS

Booyah, Mr. Scorsese.


Posted by on December 27, 2007 in Movie Soundtracks, soundtracks


10 responses to “The Soundtracks of Scorsese

  1. shrewspeaks

    December 28, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Scorsese’s use of contemporary classics to place the viewer into his character’s shoes was revolutionary, particularly in Goodfellas. In The Departed Scorsese takes this notion a step further by using a lesser known version of “Comfortably Numb” taken from The Wall concert at the Berlin Wall with Van Morrison and The Band. This choice takes Scorsese personally full circle from his Last Waltz documentary to his first Academy Award winning moment. However, this choice to use this version of the song was not based in personal connections…to comment on the characters in the Boston based departed what better than use a Van Morrison vocal? Better still a version recorded on the exact WALL that separated two very different worlds. A true stroke of directorial genius.

    Scorsese’s use of the bright anthem, Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning was the perfect foil in the dark comedy After Hours.

    But my most favorite moment of Scorsese film and music is his use of the Layla piano coda which is a such a beautiful sweet melodic release juxtaposed perfectly with the ultimate violence of GoodFellas. As we say in Jersey…NOICE.

  2. music maven

    December 28, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Yeah. What she said. ^^^^^^^^^^^^

  3. shrewspeaks

    December 28, 2007 at 11:31 am

    What can I say…Marty is my film ReeRee.

  4. Marios

    November 23, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Nice posts! For a full soundtrack of Scorsese’s “Mean Streets (1973)” (all 27 tracks including CD packaging) all the mooks interested can download it here:

    “Me Neither, I Don’t Run Numbers!”

  5. Serge

    June 18, 2010 at 1:54 am

    i love Martin, his music soundtracks too awesome

  6. Round Mirror

    November 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    i love bob dylan, he is one of the best singer songwriter ,~-


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