Adrian Brody, Beyonce, and Jeffrey Wright starred in this 2008 biopic about the historic record label. The movie was written and directed by Darnell Martin. As far as the overall storyline, many thought that the film didn’t follow the label’s timeline and took more liberties than James Cameron’s grand staircase in Titanic. According to The Dallas Observer, one of the things that the movie unfortunately implies is that the film chronicles the story of Chess Records which was a blues label founded by Leonard and Phil Chess. However, many of the Cadillac Record artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Etta James all performed on the label. One thing the movie did get right was the soundtrack. Although there isn’t a living artist who can capture the true low growl of a Muddy Waters song or the complete power of an Etta James Ballad, Mos Def and Beyonce certainly did admirable jobs. Some of the songs did stand out more than others on the soundtrack. This is a ranking of all the songs from the Cadillac Records Soundtrack.
13. The Sound – Mary Mary
This duo has an eclectic sound. The Sound was originally released on their album by the same name in 2008 and was promptly chosen to be part of the soundtrack.
12. Bridging The Gap – Nas Featuring Olu Dara
Olu Dara is the father of one of the group members. The pair performed numerous times before the album dropped to promote it. Throughout the song, you can hear portions of Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters.
11. Nadine – Mos Def
Mos Def was a solid choice for Chuck Berry. It’s not surprising he couldn’t quite embody the legendary voice but he still does a solid job on this standard. Aside from this movie, the singer and actor also starred in
10. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – Jeffrey Wright
At the African-American Film Critics Association, Jeffery Wright won a Best Supporting Actor award for his work in the film and it’s very clear why when you listen to this song. Although there isn’t a voice that can compare to Muddy Waters, Wright certainly brings the spirit of the character to life.
9. I’m A Man – Jeffrey Wright
Wright had big shoes to fill. After all, Muddy Waters was listed as one of the greatest artists of all time according to Rolling Stone. However, much like other timeless classics on the album, Wright delivers a memorable performance on this song.
8. Let’s Take A Walk – Raphael Saadiq
This song first appeared on The Cadillac Records Soundtrack and a year later was an addition to the singer’s album The Way I See It; his first release for Columbia Records. Even though the song played well in the movie, the album took a while for it to find its niche in the music industry. Nonetheless, in 2009, it took home the Grammy for Best R&B Album.
7. Once In A Lifetime – Beyonce
This song was written by Beyonce, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, and Jody Street. It was nominated for Best Song Written for a movie. Additionally, it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Unfortunately, it didn’t take home either of the awards. Nonetheless, it was a stellar addition to a soundtrack packed full of talent.
6. 6 O’Clock Blues – Solange
It’s easy to get lost amongst the big names on the soundtrack and the bigger names the artists are channeling. However, this song stands out on the soundtrack and helps capture the overall themes of the movie. This gong was later sampled in Longer and Stronger by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
5. No Particular Place To Go – Mos Def
The music industry was difficult for black and brown people and this song plays during a Chuck Berry concert where you can see people uniting for a common love, music despite the difference in skin tone. Mos Def carries the scene well.
4. My Babe – Columbus Short
In the movie Short plays the harmonica player Little Walter. Additionally, the actor was able to sing the songs from the talented musician. According to the Christian Science Monitor, this song is one of the most show-stopping ones in the movie. The publication called it “authentic” and added the “portrayal of the reckless savant is the most touching in the film.”
3. I’d Rather Go Blind – Beyonce
Beyonce was a natural choice for James since both have a voice that goes on well after the music is finished. For this song, she covers one of James’ 1968 hits. Since the singer wrote it and sang it there have been numerous covers but many regard Beyonce’s as the best.
2. Last Night – Little Walter
The same year the movie was released, Little Walter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is regarded as one of the most noteworthy harmonica players. Although Columbus Short did an excellent job with his rendition of the singer’s music, the original recording was kept for the soundtrack.
1. At Last – Beyonce
Although the two singers sound vastly different, James and Beyonce share powerful voices that can carry a tune. For all of its ups and downs, the best choice to play the singer was Beyonce. James’ version is one of those songs where you can get lost and years later remember where you were when you heard it. With Beyonce, she adds a new depth and timelessness to the already classic song. The Grammy-winning singer sang it at President Obama’s inauguration when he danced with first lady Michelle Obama.