Music For Mobsters - Goodfellas Original Soundtrack

May 17, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great cuts from the first part of the film...

Cons:Literally nothing from the second half of the film...

The Bottom Line: If you loved the film you owe it to yourself the pick up the Goodfellas soundtrack …or we’ll send Henry ova ta have a little chat wit ya…

Goodfellas is one of my all time favorite films – I’m a sucker for anything that’s mobster related so it was a given that I’d have to have the soundtrack to the film in my collection. Sometimes the mafia flicks over do it with Dean Martin, Connie Francis and throwbacks to the rat pack so this was a great supplement to my growing collection of “mob hits”. The music that was used during the film complimented the scenes and helped to fill up some of the scenes that were lacking visual content. I was a bit disappointed that some of the songs that were used in the film weren’t included on the soundtrack but as a whole, this is about as good as it gets. So far I’ve purchased about five copies of this CD, for some reason people borrow it and never seem to get around to returning it. Maybe they forgot about it or misplaced it – but my money would be on the fact that they fell in love with it and didn’t want to hand it back over.

I’m not sure what criteria was used to pick out the songs that appeared on this release but there are some great tracks that were overlooked. The Sex Pistols cover of the Sinatra classic “I Did It My Way”, The Cleftones “Can’t We Be Sweethearts” and who can forget Bobby Vinton – well – obviously the person making the list did. While these artists and songs missing from the release doesn’t detract from it – it makes me question the politics behind the choices. To say that this is top heavy with golden oldies is an understatement. Barring the Layla outtake and inclusion of Sunshine of Your Love, there really isn’t any music to reflect the second part of the film – after the cocaine and guns get involved. Someone once said that Goodfellas is like a movie that is split into two sections – defined by the young Henry and the older Henry – it would have been nice if this was also the case with the soundtrack but alas, it just isn’t the case. If I could have produced this release it would have been a double CD. The first showcasing the songs that created the hearty atmosphere of the golden age of ‘the family’ and the second CD featuring the heavier, rock based songs that coursed though the later parts of the film. But as I have said numerous times, I just write the reviews, not product the CD’s.

The Music

Without a doubt my favorite track has to be Speedo by The Cadillac’s. The blend between street corner, fast paced doo-wop scat and the Harlem sound – this is simply one of the best cuts from the film. If you fell in love with the song during the film but have never heard it in it’s entirety you might notice that the version from the soundtrack is a little tamer that what you hear on the DVD / during the film. Personally I like the version on the soundtrack since it really gives you the full flavor of the song without getting faded in and out [during the film]. You can check out this song when Henry is working the card game and the audience is first introduce to De Niro’s character Jimmy Conway. The song works great with the film since both are upbeat and face paced and really work well with each other.

Rags To Riches plays another important part in the film – during the initial groundwork of Henry Hill’s character, introduction of the cab stand and meeting the various members of the crew. The mix between the horns and rich vocals make this a Bennett classic and really brings a lot of depth to the soundtrack. Just like Speedo, if you’ve never heard this sound in its entirety it might not have the “punch” that it has in the film – it’s still great but doesn’t sound exactly the way it is presented in the film. Layla has always been a powerful track but it was pushed into the spotlight when it was featured in the film. The sultry piano work combined with the guitar selections makes this song both expressive and touching and works great within the scenes of the film. There is something to be said for a song that was released over thirty years ago and still manages to stand the test of time. Without words the song gives you so much passion and vigor that when you are done listening to it you can’t help but feel a little moved.

Beyond The Sea by Bobby Darin was only featured in the film for about 45 seconds when Henry is talking about the prison situation with the guards, actually, you only hear the introduction of the song and the rest of it is pushed into the background while the scene unfolds. If you’ve never had the chance to hear this song in its entirety, you are missing out on one hell of a track. The jazzy bandstand sound is rich with horns that blare and bleat and Darin’s smooth vocals that almost float on top of the music. Sadly, this isn’t the only song that gets short lined during the film. I really hate it when producers only use the “best” parts of a song during a film – I understand that there are time constraints but for the love of what ever god you worship – please don’t let them resurrect the mafia mainstay “Kicked In The Head” again …

….Air France made me…. Those are the words that will undoubtedly enter your thought process when you hear the first five seconds of this song. Look In My Eyes by The Chantels is another song that is sliced and diced to pieces with only a few parts of the song actually coming up for air during the film. One of the slower songs on this soundtrack, this captures the signature sound of the girls from ‘The Bronx’ with a crystal clear clarify that you can only get from a CD. A modest hit for them in the early 60’s, this song is one of the best in their rich discography. Another shocker for me was Aretha Franklin soulful and sultry Baby I Love You. Since a majority of this song was cut to bits and only a small portion was used in the film it was a little hard to place the track when I first heard it. Need a gentle reminder? Remember the scene when Henry and Sandy are mixing the “goods” and you hear the words ‘baby, baby, baby I love ya” in the background – well – that’s the track! It’s got a little bit of old school funk to it that you don’t get to hear during the film so be sure to check out this song to get the full flavor.

I never knew the title of the song but managed to put two and two together and come up with four when Mannish Boy rolled around on the soundtrack. I couldn’t think of a more fitting song to use when Henry is trying to outfox the police helicopters during the second part of the film. While the song is heavily edited and only the best parts used, it is an exceptional song that belts out the blues and had the beat that made the scene so incredibly impacting. Stardust was a song that I completely fell in love with when watching the film and it took me a little time to get used to the complete version that appears on the soundtrack. There’s about 60 seconds of music [63 to be exact] before you get to the point where you hear the introduction of it in the film. This really threw me off when I first listened to this CD because I couldn’t recall where it appeared in the film. Sometimes I wonder….

The Tracks

Rags To Riches Tony Bennett
Sincerely The Moonglows
Speedo The Cadillac’s
Stardust Billy Ward And His Dominoes
Look In My Eyes The Chantels
Life Is But A Dream The Harptones
Remember Shagri-Las
Baby I Love You Aretha Franklin
Beyond The Sea Bobby Darin
Sunshine Of Your Love Cream
Mannish Boy Muddy Waters
Layla Derek And The Dominos

Funny how? What? Lemme understand this .. I’m funny how? I’m a clown? Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito

The Bottom Line

My neighbors are probably sick of hearing this soundtrack blasting from my speakers but since no one has come knocking at the door I can only assume that they are too terrified [Pantera one minute, Tony Bennett the next] to complain about my musical selections. In any event, this soundtrack has seen a lot of use and will continue to for a long time to come. If you liked the music that was featured during the first part of the film, you really owe it to yourself to check out the soundtrack. It might just be my personal opinion, but this is one of the best soundtracks ever created – and when you consider the wide range of music that I listen to – that is really saying something about the contents of this CD.

As always, thanks for the visit!

^V^ Freak ^V^

© 2003 Freak369

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Great Music To Play When: Hanging out with people named Nicky "The Nose", Pete “The Killer”, Jimmy “Twp Times” and Fat Andy

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