Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Ennio Morricone’s work on The Hateful Eight aside, most of Quentin Tarantino’s movies famously don’t have much in the way of traditional scores. The songs that have played a starring role in so many of his iconic scenes aren’t original compositions—they’re vintage gems, often dug up from the crates by the director himself. The music from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, captured on this soundtrack, is a prime example. Like the film itself, the songs—from José Feliciano’s cover of “California Dreamin’” to Vanilla Fudge’s take on “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”—are a time capsule of late-’60s Los Angeles, tracks Tarantino himself heard on the radio growing up in the city’s South Bay region (although there are, as usual for the director, lots of deeper cuts, like The Box Tops’ “Choo Choo Train”). Some of the songs have some pretty blunt references to the film’s plot and the history it’s based on: the 1969 Manson murders. Paul Revere & The Raiders’ “Good Thing” was produced by Terry Melcher, the previous occupant of the Cielo Drive house where Sharon Tate (played in the film by Margot Robbie) and four others were brutally murdered by the Manson Family. Mixed in between the music are old TV ads for cologne and tanning butter and archival on-air curios from Los Angeles AM station KHJ (a former Top 40 renowned for popularizing the “Boss Radio” format), from weather reports to a Batman promotion.