On the 8th September 2000, a film had its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival. That film was ‘Almost Famous’, and it was director Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the rock scene in America in the early 1970s. Crowe himself had been contributing music reviews for an underground newspaper, San Diego Door by the time he was 13. By the time he was 16, he was writing for Rolling Stone magazine and was their youngest ever contributor. Being younger than all of the other contributors, he covered the bands that most of the other journalists didn’t like. These included Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and the Allman Brothers band. The latter band were used as his first cover story.
The script and some of the characters were based upon his experiences at that time. The songs used in the film were drawn from the time that the film is set, except for the songs that were performed by the fictional band Stillwater. These songs were written by Crowe with his then wife Nancy Wilson, who was also the guitar player in the band Heart. Two more were written by Peter Frampton who was also worked as the technical consultant on the film. He would also make a cameo as a roadie for Humble Pie, a band he was actually in between 1969 & 71. a Stillwater were actually a real band from the era and Crowe asked permission to use the name, which they agreed to after negotiating a fee for themselves. Though the film was a critical success and nominated for a number of awards as well as winning an Academy Award for best screenplay, it was not the commercial success.
It is not the film itself that I am focusing on today but the soundtrack album. This won the 2001 Grammy for the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and is a classic of the genre. It mixes period music with some of the songs written specifically for the film. The music is so integral to the scenes that Crowe managed secure the rights to using Led Zeppelin songs, something the band did not grant very often. Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ featured prominently in a scene where band tensions on the tour bus has reached a point where no one is talking to one another. ‘Tiny Dancer’ starts playing and then as it continues to play, the band and hangers on start to sing along.
What I set out to do here was to produce a deluxe edition of this soundtrack album to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the film. As with all the deluxe editions, the original sequence of songs needs to stay, even though I added a couple fo bonus songs on at the end as there was room to spare and too many good songs not leave any off. I also wanted to spread the renaming Stillwater songs out so that they would not be too many on the second disc.
‘Almost Famous’ is one of the great films about music and is rightly hailed as one fo the greatest films of all time.
- America – Simon & Garfunkel
- Sparks – The Who
- It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference – Todd Rundgren
- I’ve Seen All Good People – Yes
- Feel Flows – The Beach Boys
- Fever Dog – Stillwater
- Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart
- Mister Farmer – The Seeds
- One Way Out (Live) – The Allman Brothers
- Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- That’s The Way – Led Zeppelin
- Tiny Dancer – Elton John
- Lucky Trumble – Nancy Wilson
- I’m Waiting For The Man (Live) – David Bowie
- The Wind – Cat Stevens
- Slip Away – Clarence Carter
- Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman
- Paranoid – Black Sabbath
- You Had To Be There – Stillwater
- Roundabout – Yes
- Burn – Deep Purple
- Sweet Leaf – Black Sabbath
- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
- Chance Upon You – Stillwater
- The Oogum Boogum Song – Brenton Wood
- Reelin’ In The Years – Steely Dan
- Looking At You – MC5
- Love Thing – Stillwater
- Easy To Slip – Little Feat
- Search & Destroy – Iggy & The Stooges
- Go All the Way – The Raspberries
- Wishing Well (US MIx) – Free
- Tangerine – Led Zeppelin
- Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters – Elton John
- Dear Jill – Blodwyn Pig
- Hour Of Need – Stillwater
- Teacher – Jethro Tull
These playlists could not be reproduced on Spotify due to one or more songs not being available on that platform.