By Brian Ives
They could have called it “NOW That’s What My Parents Called Music,” but the accurately titled Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) has struck a chord with its plethora of hits from the ’60s and ’70s, as the album debuts on the Billboard charts at number one this week.
An unlikely sales success, the album is actually based on a mixed tape (that’d be a cassette) that the main character — Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill (also known, with tongue in cheek, as Star-Lord) — plays in his Walkman. The tape, which appears in the film’s trailers, includes ’70s hits like Blue Suede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” the Rasberries’ “Go All The Way” and Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell In Love,” as well as a few ’60s gems like the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Awesome Mix Vol. 1 marks a departure from the norm for most Marvel Studios soundtracks: most of the songs on the soundtrack appear in the film, and all are previously released; most of them were hits when they were originally released. That’s a stark (no pun intended) contrast to, say, The Avengers soundtrack, which, to be fair, was called Avengers Assemble: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture, and featured current rock artists like Shinedown, Rise Against and Black Veil Brides, but only one song on the album was actually used in the film. Or the Iron Man 2 soundtrack, comprised of AC/DC songs, most of which weren’t used in that film.
The Guardians soundtrack does continue Marvel’s trend of referencing songs and including them on the soundtrack, and of using Marvin Gaye’s songs. Captain America: The Winter Soldier referenced Gaye’s “Trouble Man” and included it on the soundtrack, which was mostly comprised of instrumental score music. In that film, Steve Rodgers has a list of pop culture milestones that he missed during the decades that he was frozen in ice, which included “Trouble Man” as well as Nirvana, “Star Trek/Wars” and disco. Perhaps Gaye’s music will make it to Marvel’s next film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, due in theaters in May of next year.