Album: Wovoka (Epic)
If you’re a child of the ’70s like me, and you go all nostalgic every time you hear one of those memories, you may have noticed something about the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy.
Did you watch it? Despite it’s insults to comic book fans who count the errors in the movie, it’s fun and the soundtrack is AWESOME. The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack songs come from Peter Quill’s mixtape, an old cassette tape he’s apparently been carrying around since he was kidnapped from Earth as a child. He also has an ancient Walkman to play the tape on. The cassette is appropriately labeled Awesome Mix Vol. 1.
OK, so we all know there is no way in the galaxy that an old cassette tape would have held up all those years, but, still…
If you think I’m just making up the awesomeness of the soundtrack, well, let me tell you that lots of other people seem to agree. The soundtrack album reached No. 1 on the charts, and, according to Wikipedia, it is the first soundtrack album consisting entirely of previously recorded songs to have done so. This means Peter Quill’s mom knew a few things about mixtapes. Yes, his mom made it for him. That is why it is such a cherished possession. Mom dies at the beginning in a Disney moment, which is apparently true to the original comic, according to my son.
Awesome Mix Vol. 1 was the second best-selling soundtrack of 2014, as well. Number one was the soundtrack to Frozen (ugh). That gave Disney Music Group two chart-toppers in one year. Awesome mix also went platinum and was nominated for and American Music Award (AMA) for Favorite Soundtrack. Frozen, alas, was the winner.
Star Lord Song
So, back to the song at hand. The next scene after the child version of Peter Quill, a.k.a. “Star Lord,” watches his mom die and then gets beamed up by a spaceship (tough day), is Peter Quill landing on an abandoned planet and doing some odd stuff like projecting holograms around to make it seem as if there are people. Then he turns on his tape to listen to his headphones and goes into a big stone temple type of place and the song just hits you over the head and, if you’re like me (and I’ll bet you are), you say, “Why don’t they make songs like that anymore?” And Peter Quill starts dancing and playing with small animals.
Come and Get Your Love was written by Pat an Lolly Vegas, of Redbone. If you find that the “heey…heey” part of the song sounds almost Native American, well, Pat and Lolly fit the bill, as they are Yaqui/Shosone. Come and Give Your Love, is, in its turn, sort of a more melodic version of Brenton Wood’s Gimme Little Sign. But don’t let that fool you. Come and Get Your Love is an original experience. Truly soul but with a jaunty groove that just tugs you right along. Joyful is the word. There are several different recorded versions floating around and I can’t keep track of them more would I care to. I’ve linked the version used in the movie here, which seems to be the best to my ear.
Redbone, Elton John’s self-professed favorite band, formed in L.A. in 1968, and the initial lineup was entirely Native American. The name Redbone was inspired by its being Cajun slang for “half-breed.” The band actually had sort of a swamp rock sound with a soul and funk influence, so you can see why a Louisiana reference would come up. The Vegas brothers, who founded the band, did all sorts of songwriting and session work and were quite successful before forming the band.
Although Redbone never sold a lot of albums, they had many hits, including Maggie and Witch Queen of New Orleans. Come and Get Your Love, however, was their biggest. There are many different “best of’s” available, and, if you care, Redbone was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
But that’s just one song. If you pick up the soundtrack, you may just “wear it out.” Although I mentioned the ’70’s, it is actually composed of songs from the ’70’s and ’80s.
Guardians of the Galaxy Opening Song
The first song played in the movie is I’m Not In Love by 10CC, played while a young Peter Quill is waiting in the hospital to see his mother, who is dying (not my favorite song from the soundtrack). This was a no. 2 hit in the U.S. for 10CC during the summer of 1975 and and a no. 1 hit in Britain. . You might also know them for The Things We Do For Love, released in 1977, a no. 5 hit that would have been at home in the soundtrack as well.
Although I could have done without I Want You Back (I’m sure it is there to evoke something or other), and I think I’ve heard the Pina Colada song (Escape) quite enough, all the songs have their place in the film. Even the songs that are iffy will surprise you, like the second track, Go All the Way, by the Raspberries, a band that had a tendency to put you almost to sleep and then slap you in the face with aggressive guitar and energy. Sort of all over the place and not quite right, but in an interesting way.
Before that, though, there is the undeniably infectious Hooked On a Feeling by Blue Swede (Swede for Swedish, baby), which had actually been a hit for B.J. Thomas in 1969, five years earlier. His version didn’t have the “ooga chocka ooga ooga” at the beginning, and although B.J. Thomas’s version charted to number five, the Blue Swede version went to number one with a bullet, as they say. Regardless, both songs sold over a million copies. Still, if you compare them, you’ll hear why Blue Swede was on the soundtrack instead of Thomas. In one word, dynamics.
Song Peter Sings
Fooled Around and Fell in Love by Elvin Bishop is another one I just love, and then there’s OOH Child by the Five Stairsteps, which Peter sings to distract Ronan. This is a song that I will write an article about soon.
And who puts “OOH, Child” and Cherry Bomb by the Runaways on the same tape? A girl after my own heart, Peter’s mom. David Bowie makes an appearance with Moonage Daydream. And then, there is a song that you will still hear two or three times a week on classic rock stations, Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum (1970). Probably one of the biggest one-hit wonders of all time. I’ll bet you guitar pedal manufacturers tried for years to get that exact fuzz-tone.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell is “technically” on Awesome Mix Vol. II, which appears just at the end of the film, as a present from mom Peter never unwrapped, evoking thoughts of the soundtrack to come in the next film, already announced.
As good as the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack album is, as for me, to be honest, my favorite is Come and Get Your Love. You can see Redbone performing it live in the great YouTube video below, from Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special in 1974.
More 1970s Music
- I Know Forever Well Be Doing It: Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’
- After Midnight by Eric Clapton: Who Did It First?
- I’ve Got the Music in Me: Kiki Dee
- No One Knows What It’s Like (To Be the Bad Man): What Song Is It?
- I Think It Was The 4th Of July (Saturday in the Park)
More Soul Music
More Rock Music