See Rock ‘n’ Roll High School at Nitehawk Cinema, part of our After School Detention series
Friday, August 31 and Saturday, September 1 @ Midnight | Tickets
The soundtrack for Roger Corman’s ode to teenage rebellion is packed with gems, not only from the film’s stars, the Ramones, but a bevy of other rock icons. Many of the stellar tracks heard in the halls of Vince Lombardi High School in the film never made it to the official soundtrack, including the movie versions of Ramones tracks “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” and “I Want You Around,” which were remixed by convicted murderer and wig enthusiast Phil Spector.
Below we’ve collected a few of our favorite tracks from the film, both from the official soundtrack and ones left aside.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” [Ed Stasium Mix] – Ramones
Though Phil Spector’s version of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” is certainly bigger and captures the playful 60’s callback of the song’s lyrics, Ed Stasium’s version heard in the film is simpler than Spector’s, and reflects a stripped down aesthetic that better suits the tone of the film. I like Spector as a producer, but Wall of Sound mixed with Ramones always rings false to my ears–except “Chinese Rocks,” Spector’s mix of that song rules.
“Did We Meet Somewhere Before” – Paul McCartney
The first track you hear in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School isn’t from the Ramones, but from likely the least punk member of The Beatles, Paul McCartney. Far, far…. farfarfar from Paul’s best solo work, it becomes pretty clear why “Did We Meet Somewhere Before” was left unreleased for years as soon as Paul’s weak vocals, cheesy synth strings and generally limp orchestration kicks in. Its inclusion in the film is more of a curiosity than anything.
“Energy Fools the Magician” – Brian Eno
Another odd song from such an otherwise energetic soundtrack, Brian Eno’s “Energy Fools the Magician,” from his album Before and After Science, is as far away from the Ramones’ blasting aesthetic as possible, but it’s still an awesome little taste of Eno at a stage when he’s just about to venture into full-on ambient music. In fact, there are a couple of Eno tracks which can be heard in the film, including the spooky “Spirits Drifting” from Another Green World and “Alternative 3” from Music for Films–which is the first time I’ve heard anything from that album used in an actual film.
“High School” – MC5
When talking about high octane garage bands from the 70’s MC5 usually comes up in conversation immediately. Appropriately, the film includes the groups track “High School,” which doesn’t kick out the jams as hard as, say, “Kick Out The Jams” [MOTHERFUCKER – ed], but echos the title track of the film’s youthful rally cry.
“Jigsaw Puzzle Blues” – Fleetwood Mac
You know, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I am some scholar on the American punk movement, but I’m starting to get the feeling that whoever put the soundtrack to this movie together didn’t know much about punk rock.
“So It Goes” – Nick Lowe
To be totally honest, this might be my favorite song in the movie. Simply put, a perfectly crafted piece of guitar pop that’s going to be stuck in my head for weeks. Also, check out Lowe’s boss Riddler jacket in the video–that, my friends, is rock and roll.