I’m still “Hooked on a Feeling” with the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack since its release in 2014. To clarify, I mean the compilation soundtrack used in the film, not the original score (which is also great!). Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is a big part of the film, as the songs exist inside the story and they help shape it as well. How many albums can boast that?
It did great commercially as well. Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is a top-of-the-charts, certified Gold album. Not only that, but it’s the first soundtrack to top the charts without having a single original song. It definitely did “Go All the Way.” Okay, enough with the song puns. Let’s take a look at some fun facts you probably didn’t know about this great compilation soundtrack.
Fun facts about the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack
It Has a Role in the Film
In the movie Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord, has a Walkman that was given to him by his mother, along with a mixtape of some of her favorite songs. This is that mixtape. It remains an important object for Quill throughout the movie. It also represents his connection to his mother and his human side, as well as defining some of his personality traits. Peter Quill still uses the same outdated references and style from his time on Earth. The film’s director, James Gunn, said in an interview with Rolling Stone that “The tape is really the character of Quill’s mother,” and that “The Walkman and the compilation tape inside of it is the heart of the film.”
Gunn Wrote the Songs Into the Script
Even before filming began, when Gunn was still writing the screenplay, he chose the songs and wrote them into the script itself. Which was a risky move considering that it can be hard to get the copyright license to play those songs. And those songs are the ones that made it into the final version of the film, which is even more unusual when shooting a movie. Kevin Feige, one of the movie’s producers, told Rolling Stone that, “James’ first draft of the script had the songs that were with us at the end when we brought the film to theaters – a rare and often impossible feat.”
The Beginning Used to be Different
According to an interview with Vulture, James Gunn said that the beginning of the movie was different. Not the scene itself, but the song accompanying it. The unforgettable montage where we see Chris Pratt dancing and singing while he’s about to retrieve the orb was going to use the song “Hooked on a Feeling” but when Gunn discovered “Come and Get Your Love” he thought it was a better fit. We all thank James Gunn for that decision because the movie’s intro is *chef’s kiss*.
There is a Longer Version of the Mixtape
James Gunn posted on his Facebook page the entire Awesome Mix Vol. 1 which contains a few songs that aren’t in the original soundtrack! He explains that some songs didn’t make the final cut, and others were never in the movie but that they were part of a mix he gave to Chris Pratt so that the actor could get more comfortable with the role of Star-Lord. In 2020 he also shared a playlist made up of every single one of Meredith Quill’s songs on Spotify!
They Only Added a Single Song in Post-Production
In the same Facebook post, James Gunn confessed that he did add one song in post-production. This song is “Moonage Daydream” by none other than David Bowie. An interview with Vulture reveals that he had considered two other songs for the entrance to the alien planet Knowhere (“Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell and “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night) before settling on “Moonage Daydream” which, if you ask me, was the right choice.
Not Everyone Wanted the “Old” Music
A director is not the only person in charge of a film. There are people who oversee the whole process and make decisions (especially when they’re financing it). Gunn told Rolling Stone that some of these people wanted more contemporary music in the soundtrack. He said that, “one of the Marvel folks who gave notes on the script kept saying we were crazy to put Seventies songs in the movie, that it was going to be alienating to kids”. Can you imagine walking into Knowhere with Ke$ha in the background? Or maybe Beyoncé could’ve sung the epic dance-off to save the universe. Who knows?
If you like music in film you can read more about some of the best soundtracks made for movies based on books!