Jimmy Cliff’s THE HARDER THEY COME movie soundtrack has been named by Vanity Fair as being the NUMBER THREE best film soundtrack of all time.Damn.
That’s so awesome.Especially since it beat out the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
Now for those of you out there in the Howdy Doodyland Peanut Gallery that are scratching your heads in disbelief and wondering what in high holy hell this album is doing so high on this list, please consider that without this soundtrack, and its influence, (and you can forget about it popularizing reggae in the USA), Punk Rock, (to name just one genre), as we know it, in all likelihood, would probably not exist.That’s because in the early 1970s you could not turn on the BBC radio in England without hearing at least one song a day from it, if not more, since it was on the kind of heavy musical rotation that would make an MTV marketing VP, from the late 1980s, blush bright beet red and wet their pants.
That Clash song that you hear in that car ad these days? It’s a cover of the Toots & Maytals’s Pressure Drop, which is track 9 on The Harder They Come soundtrack.Now for all you LA Surf Thrash Punks out there who believe that Sublime’s Bradley Nowell was a bigger talent than Kurt Cobain because he had greater musical range? Well, we could debate that one for a month of Sundays, all day long, until the cows come home, but one thing is true of both Nirvana and Sublime, besides them being Power Pop Trio bands, and that is they kicked ass when it came to covers, this unplugged, live, Nirvana album being Prima Facie evidence of that. In Sublime’s case, from their seminal 40 Oz’s To Freedom, there’s Rivers of Babylon, which is, that’s right a cover from the original Melodians version of it that’s the third song on The Harder They Come soundtrack.
If you’re lucky enough to have this bad boy on vinyl, like I do, I suggest busting it out and giving it another listen to and feel the warm glow of it finally getting the recognition of the place in musical history that it so richly deserves.Many rivers to cross, indeed, but it does go to show that you can get it if you really want.
Even if it requires the patience of Job, and stuff.If not there’s alway the YouTubes, and the opening, title song itself isn’t a bad place to start, but for myself, this has always been my favorite tune. Those that know me know why.
Now, all that being said, I haven’t seen this complete Vanity Fair list of 50 film soundtracks past their Top Ten Picks, but I do know this, if I don’t see The Repo Man Soundtrack on there, as it should rightfully be, I’m gonna scream bloody murder at the top of my motherfaluckling lungs.But for now, I’ll be more than happy to settle for this.