10 Best Licorice Pizza Songs
In his recent historical epics, Paul Thomas Anderson has relied on original scores composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. But of boogie nights at Magnolia, his early films were famous for their needle-drop soundtrack. The latest opus from the writer-director, Licorice Pizzareturned to this tradition.
Anderson beautifully evokes the 1973 setting with both timeless pop classics and undiscovered gems from that era. From Paul McCartney to Nina Simone to David Bowie, Anderson has licensed music from some of the most iconic artists of all time for Licorice Pizzathe soundtrack of.
ten “Licorice Pizza” by Jonny Greenwood
Essentially, Anderson broke with his collaboration with Greenwood in the music of Licorice Pizzaby choosing licensed hits rather than original compositions.
But Greenwood contributed a track to Licorice PizzaThe soundtrack to – the title track – and it’s used beautifully at two points in the movie: when Alana comes home from her first date with Gary and at the end of the movie when Gary and Alana are running towards each other.
9 “The July Tree” by Nina Simone
Nina Simone’s ‘July Tree’ kicks off Licorice Pizza opening scene soundtrack. Simone’s dark melodies provide a nice, slow introduction to Anderson’s 70s playlist before the heavier rock ‘n’ roll tunes that are yet to come.
This opening scene sets up the central premise perfectly, as Gary approaches Alana on picture day and asks her out on a date. It establishes the characters perfectly, and the hopeful sound of “July Tree” immediately suggests that maybe this unconventional romance could work after all.
8 “I Saw the Light” by Todd Rundgren
Gary has a healthy relationship with his mother, but they’re business partners, so it’s not exactly conventional family life. Instead of having a home-cooked meal for dinner, they eat take-out burgers in the car on their way home from the office.
The soulful piano riffs of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” are used to perfectly underscore Gary’s devastation as he sees Alana on a date with fellow child actor Lance at the same burger joint.
seven Barabajagal by Donovan
Donovan Phillips Leitch, better known simply as Donovan, is responsible for a slew of iconic musical moments in movies. “Atlantis” plays on the murder of Billy Batts in Freedmen and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” plays over the end credits of Zodiac.
In Licorice PizzaAnderson performs “Barabajagal” – one of Donovan’s grooviest tracks – at the opening of Gary’s pinball room, Fat Bernie’s.
6 “Stumblin’ In” by Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro
Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro’s “Stumblin’ In” plays as Gary and Alana, acting as his chaperone, fly to New York for the Lucy Doolittle show. Certain lyrics in the song – like “Our love is alive” and “Our love is a flame that burns within” – capture Gary and Alana’s unspoken feelings for each other.
The loose, flowing feel of “Stumblin’ In” perfectly matches the tone of the film, which tells its story with a similar looseness, following the characters from episode to episode outside of the traditional three-act plot setting.
5 “Peace frog” by the doors
Jim Morrison died and left his groundbreaking acid rock band The Doors without a leader (or creative vision) two years prior. Licorice Pizza takes place.
But the band’s renowned music was always in the zeitgeist – and still is today – thanks to enduring hits like “Light My Fire,” “Riders on the Storm” and, indeed, “Peace Frog”. Anderson uses the groovy, psychedelic “Peace Frog” for the soundtrack to the montage of Gary’s waterbed business taking off in Licorice Pizza.
4 “Tomorrow may not be your day” by Taj Mahal
Anderson closes the soundtrack of Licorice Pizza — and, by extension, his ’70s playlist — with Taj Mahal’s “Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day.” Appearing in the end credits, it’s the perfect song to play the movie.
Taj Mahal is traditionally a blues artist, and the lyrics to “Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day” are pessimistic and cynical, but the tone is surprisingly uplifting.
3 “But You’re Mine” by Sonny & Cher
Anderson uses running as an engaging and deeply cinematic recurring motif throughout. Licorice Pizza. After Gary is wrongfully arrested for murder and eventually released when the cops realize their mistake, he and Alana run together through the streets of Los Angeles.
The writer-director marks this now iconic moment with “But You’re Mine,” a romantic hit from fellow Hollywood lovebirds Sonny & Cher.
2 “Let Me Roll” by Paul McCartney & Wings
After the Beatles broke up, musical genius Paul McCartney found a home in the Wings. Although the Wings aren’t as popular as the Beatles (and neither are any bands), they’ve had plenty of hits over the years: “Jet”, “Band on the Run”, “Live and Let Die”, ” Silly Love Songs”, etc. .
But Anderson didn’t choose one of Wings’ greatest hits for the soundtrack of Licorice Pizza. Instead, he chose “Let Me Roll It” for the scene after the motorcycle accident in which Gary rushes alongside Alana and they drive off together. The song’s rambling but haunting sound was perfect for Gary and Alana’s heartfelt reunion.
1 “Life on Mars?” By David Bowie
Featured in both trailers for Licorice Pizza and the movie itself, “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie? is one of the most iconic songs ever recorded and one of the cornerstones of Bowie’s legendary oeuvre.
Anderson understands the weight of using such a revered classic and uses the song wisely, to usher in the otherworldly feel of LA plagued by a gas shortage.
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