Ranking All The Songs from The Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack

Harry Nilsson

Reservoir Dogs was the first Quentin Tarantino film to ever be accompanied by an official soundtrack. Fortunately, he started on the right footing – while most soundtracks rarely do much to help a film’s reputation, The Reservoir Dogs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a thing of beauty. There’s not actually that much musical content – of the 16 tracks, half are snippets of dialog from the film – but considering the quality of the songs it does have (Little Green Bag, Hooked on a Feeling, I Gotcha, Stuck in the Middle with You, and Coconut, to name the biggies), it’s still more than worth the price of admission. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.

8. Magic Carpet Ride – Bedlam

 

There are a lot of excellent songs on the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, but Magic Carpet Ride isn’t one of them. The painfully long, meandering introduction will leave you bored long before the vocals finally kick in. Once they do, boredom will become the least of your worries as the song continues to get messier and messier as it progresses. It doesn’t help that it can’t quite decide what kind of genre it wants to be, veering disorientingly from psychedelia one moment to hard rock the next. It’s all very confusing, and not worth the pain of trying to work out. What makes it all the more upsetting is that Quentin Tarantino could have used the excellent Steppenwolf original, but opted for the far inferior cover version instead.

7. Harvest Moon – Bedlam

 

Next up is another song by Bedlam, this time, Harvest Moon, It’s not in the same class as most of the other tracks on the soundtrack, but it’s a vast improvement on Magic Carpet, with a Bruce Springsteen-esque quality to the vocals and a moody vibe to the instrumentation. It might not be the most memorable song in the world, but it’s deviating enough to warrant a few spins.

6. Fool for Love – Sandy Rogers

 

Like the two contributions from Bedlam, Fool for Love was only heard in passing in the film, but even if it wasn’t given quite such a prominent spot as the upcoming entries on our list, it’s still a gorgeous piece. A mesmerizing, country-inflected confection with a subdued arrangement and a hypnotic vocal, the song first featured on the 1985 film adaption of Sam Shepherd’s play, Fool For Love.

5. Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede

 

Hooked on a Feeling was first performed by B.J Thomas, who took it to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. Disgraced British pop star Jonathan King recorded it next, adding a “ooga chaka” introduction that, three years later, Blue Suede stole for their slightly sanitized but ultimately, vastly superior version. Of all the covers that have come since, Blue Suede’s remains the most popular and successful – not only is it the only one to have topped the US charts, but it’s the only one that can claim bragging rights to having featured in Reservoir Dogs. In the 2010s, the song experienced another spike in popularity when it featured in the trailers for both the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy and its 2017 sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

4. Coconut – Harry Nilsson

 

Harry Nilsson wasn’t John Lennon’s favorite songwriter for nothing. Coconut might not be the most profound song in the world (in essence, it’s a story about a woman who calls a doctor late at night after getting a stomach ache from drinking a beverage made of lime and coconut and gets told by the clearly annoyed doctor to drink the exact same beverage that gave her the problem in the first place then call him back in the morning), but no one did novelty songs like Nilsson, and here, he delivers one of the best in his catalog. Released as the third single from the 1971 album, Nilsson Schmilsson, it climbed to number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. As well as featuring on Reservoir Dogs, it’s also popped up on The Addams Family, Practical Magic, Dick, and Hey Arnold!: The Movie.

3. I Gotcha – Joe Tex

 

Joe Tex originally wrote I Gotcha for soul singer King Floyd, but eventually decided to keep it for himself instead. Recorded in late 1971 and issued as the B side to A Mother’s Prayer from the album I Gotcha, it ended up picking up more airplay than the flip side, earning Tex a number one place on the R&B chart and a number 2 spot on the Pop charts. It’s since sold over 3 million copies to become the biggest selling hit of Tex’s career. Considering its status as one of the very earliest rap songs, it’s understandably been sampled by various hip hop artists over the years…. not to mention Liza Minnelli, who gave it a very different spin on the televised concert, Liza with a Z.

2. Little Green Bag – The George Baker Selection

 

The Jan Visser and George Baker penned Little Green Bag gave Dutch rockers The George Baker Selection one of the most enduringly popular songs of their career in 1969 when it took them to number 9 on the Dutch charts, number 3 in Belgium, and number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100. By the 1990s, it was in danger of being forgotten, but then along came Quentin Tarantino and a very prominent position in Resevoir Dogs and, suddenly, it had turned from a lost obscurity into a cult classic

1. Stuck in the Middle with You – Stealers Wheel

 

Speaking to Rolling Stone about his decision to use Stuck in the Middle With You during the film’s pivotal torture scene, Tarantino explained: “During the auditions, I told the actors that I wanted them to do the torture scene, and I’m gonna use ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ but they could pick anything they wanted, they didn’t have to use that song. And a couple of people picked another one, but almost everyone came in with ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ and they were saying that they tried to come up with something else, but that’s the one. The first time somebody actually did the torture scene to that song, the guy didn’t even have a great audition, but it was like watching the movie. I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is gonna be awesome!’ ” He was right – it was an awesome scene, an awesome song, and without them, neither the film nor the soundtrack would be quite the same.

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