The Sandlot hit theatres in 1993. David Mickey Evans not only co-wrote it but also directed and narrated the film. It’s a slice of Americana chronicling the summer of 1962 and a group of children playing baseball. Like many children, Scottie Smalls moves to a new location tries to isolate himself from the culture shock but is pushed by his mother to make friends. Through his adventures, he meets a group of kids who all bond over baseball. The 60s were an iconic time in American pop culture. It was also a time when music was starting to chart a new course. The songs selected for the soundtrack reflect what was happening at that time while still maintaining a breath of nostalgia. There was a 25th-anniversary release of the soundtrack containing more of the instrumental pieces from the movie. However, this ranking focuses on The Sandlot Soundtrack, released in 1993.
10. Smokie Pt. 2 – Bill Blacks Combo
This instrumental song was released in 1959 and stayed at number one for four as well as the top of the singles charts. Even though it’s one of the lesser-known songs on the Sandlot Soundtrack, it made a great addition to the movie, helping the flow as well as transporting moviegoers back to the time when it took place.
9. Spirit Of The Sky – Norman Greenbaum
This song peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was certified gold. Since it was released in 1970, it’s been a popular choice for movie soundtracks. Over the last several decades, it’s appeared in over 60 films, including Wayne’s World 2 and Apollo 13.
8. There Goes My Baby – The Drifters
Throughout their career, The Drifters went through several lineup changes. This song, written by Ben E. King, Lover Patterson, and George Treadwell, was released just after several group members left. When it was released, most songs followed a specific rhyming pattern. However, this one has a distinctly different rhythm sounding somewhat like a jam session.
7. Finger Poppin’ Time – Hank Ballard and The Midnights
This song first gained popularity in the early 1960s, which works well because The Sandlot took place in 1962. When Finger Poppin’ Time first hit the charts, it made it to #2 on the United States R&B Charts. In 1972, Ballard released another version of the song, but it didn’t reach the same level of popularity.
6. Tequila – The Champs
Initially, this song was a B-Side for another of the group’s songs, Train To Nowhere. However, the country’s DJs passed over the A-side and went right for this catchy song. In 1958 it peaked at #1 and stayed there so long it became one of the highest chart-toppers in the 1950s. It was written by the group’s saxophone player, Danny Flores, known as Chuck Rio. Initially, he played it as a segue at the group’s show but knew there was something more to the melody.
5. Green Onions – Booker T & The M.G.’s
Many instrumental songs fall to b-sides and are relegated to lesser-known songs in an artist’s catalog. However, this one is one of the most well-known instrumental songs of all time. The first release was in 1962 as B-side for Behave Yourself on Volt 102. Booker T wrote this song with Bill Lee Riley during a jam session. After receiving rave reviews on a Memphis radio station, it was released as an A-side on Stax 127. The sound was thought to embody Memphis Blues so well it also appeared on an album with the same name later that year.
4. Wipe Out – The Surfaris
What drives this song is the instrumentation since the only phrase in the song is “wipeout.” When the group started out, they couldn’t afford studio time to record their music. According to Songfacts, the original inspiration for the song was when Jim Pash heard Preston Epps sing Bongo Rock. Additionally, the song was used during drummer Ron Wilson’s time in high school band. It was a cadence used during marching sessions. When listening to the music, the creepy laugh is the group’s manager Dale Smallin. Like another song on the list, this one was released twice. The first time it dropped, it reached #16 on the charts, but in 1970 it didn’t.
3. This Magic Moment – The Drifters
Even though Ben E. King enjoyed solo success, there were few songs during his time with The Drifters where he sang lead vocals. This song was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman in 1960. These two also wrote the famous song, Save The Last Dance For Me. This Magic Moment went to #16 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the United States Billboard R&B charts. The most popular version of the song was released in 1968 by Jay and The Americans. A-side from The Sandlot, viewers will also find it in the tv show The Sopranos.
2. America The Beautiful – Ray Charles
Before this song was a timeless classic, it was a poem written by Wellesley professor Katharine Lee Bates in 1895. Some even think it may be a more fitting choice for our country’s national anthem. Over time many famous singers, including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, have recorded versions, but Charles’ version remains the most famous.
1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
According to Performing Songwriter, Solomon Linda was illiterate but still knew how to put together catchy songs. He was a cattle herder, and many of the lyrics in the song focus on his experiences, keeping them away from the most significant predators, lions. When his group The Original Evening Birds recorded the song in 1939, it was the first time an African group sold 100,000 records. Pete Seeger and The Weavers were the first mainstream group to perform the song. For The Sandlot Soundtrack, another version was chosen. Keeping with the overall time period, using this version by a Doo-Wop group seems a fitting choice.