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A soundtrack is much more than just a collection of songs. The great ones are woven into the DNA of the film itself, heightening the cinema experience; and when the movie is over, they stand out as an album you want to add to your collection. Gary Tipp selects 50 of the best…

From the epic sweep of an original score by a legendary composer to a batch of iconic songs carefully curated and afforded the bigscreen treatment, music has always been an intrinsic part of the movie-going experience.

It’s a facet of cinema that has always translated well onto vinyl, via the soundtrack album. Over the past few years, as vinyl sales have continued to increase around the globe, the number of soundtrack albums now on the racks has snowballed – with many becoming top-selling LPs.

Our Top 50 list features both original scores and song collections, and throughout the selection process, we’ve veered towards vinyl soundtracks that possess a close cultural connection with rock, pop, jazz and soul, foregoing those with a more classical approach from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It was US filmmaker Mike Nichols in Th Graduate who broke new ground back in 1967 by mixing popular music with cinema. His use of Simon & Garfunkel’s folk-pop tunes created one of film’s first ‘needle drop’ moments – needle drop being a cinematic term for the moment when a filmmaker takes an already existing song and uses it to light up a scene.

Think Robert De Niro in Mean Streets entering a dingy NYC bar with two girls on his arm to the backing of Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Or Michael Madsen getting creative with a straight razor in Reservoir Dogs to the accompaniment of Stealers Wheel and Stuck In Th Middle With You. Thse are just two of cinema’s needle-drop moments, where movies and music combine to create great magic and art.


The Record Album is the UK’s leading destination for soundtracks on vinyl

With OST kings Nick Cave and Warren Ellis listed among his regular customers (both live nearby), it’s no wonder proprietor George Ginn’s The Record Album possesses such an enviable reputation as the UK’s destination of choice for movie soundtracks on vinyl. Other musicians to have visited include Amon Tobin, The Avalanches, Damon Albarn and members of Radiohead.

Located a stone’s throw from Brighton’s main railway station, Ginn, after leaving the Royal Air Force, has been specialising in film soundtracks since 1948 (George is nudging 90) – which comfortably earns him the honour of being Brighton’s longest established dealer.

As you would imagine upon entering the hallowed premises – the third shop to bear the name of the business over the years – you feel as though you’ve been transported to another world, place and time.

Once over the threshold at The Record Album, you are treated to a treasure trove of collectible vinyl, all lovingly selected by the great man. His favourite film composers include Golden Age greats such as Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, Psycho) and Franz Waxman (Rebecca, A Place In The Sun).



Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

Lakeshore Records (2017) £20

Nick Cave and off-duty Bad Seed Ellis have a proven track record as the go-to twosome for hard-edged contemporary film scores. The maverick couple’s melodic work on Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River is as poignant as it is inventive and interconnects with the moody chill of the film. The Proposition and The Assassination Of Jesse James… have yet to make it to vinyl. Why?


Various Artists

MCA (1984) £35

The good and the great of LA’s mid-80s hardcore punk scene add the required amount of piss and vinegar to the OST of director Alex Cox’s everyday tale of aliens and car repossession. Iggy Pop is on duty for the title track, while Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks and Latino miscreants The Plugz are on hand to deliver their own particular brand of menace.



Various Artists

30th Century Records (2017) £20

With its getaway-driver hero permanently plugged into his iPod, Brit director Edgar Wright’s car-chase action thriller is pretty much an exercise in syncing an entire movie to music. The result is a willfully eclectic soundtrack with the snarly garage funk of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Bellbottoms memorably taking pride of place.

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