Scorsese's Music Man on 'Wolf of Wall Street' Soundtrack Album: 'Marty is Fearless'
From Eartha Kitt to Billy Joel to the Lemonheads, music supervisor Randall Poster breaks down the film's accompanying collection of songs.
"There are 60 songs in The Wolf of Wall Street," Martin Scorsese's music supervisor Randall Poster tells The Hollywood Reporter, "and 16 on The Wolf of Wall Street: Music from the Motion Picture," available now on iTunes and Amazon digitally -- the physical release is set for Jan. 7, on Virgin Records. THR's Todd McCarthy ranks the movie among the top 10 of 2013 and calls it "a comic grand opera" (with Leonardo DeCaprio's best performance yet). Here is Poster's track-by-track explanation of the bold musical choices made by Scorsese, Poster and executive music producer Robbie Robertson:
Official Track Listing:
1. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" - Cannonball Adderley
"The main thing about Marty's use of music is he's fearless, creatively fearless," says Poster. "Things that will push other filmmakers away from a song -- like a live recording with a little audience talk -- have no impact on his decision. This is the best version ever of this song, the most soulful."
2. "Dust My Broom" - Elmore James
"I do mostly period films for Marty [Hugo, The Aviator, and Boardwalk Empire, which earned Poster a Grammy]. You reflect on the period, capture some of its spirit, but Marty knows where to go back further in time, to reveal a certain character element -- all these classic R&B and blues tracks with that rebel spirit that are inspirations to rock and roll."
3. "Bang! Bang!" - Jo Cuba
The original Nuyorican Latin boogaloo genius' 1966 smash made record buyers shout "Beep! Beep!" and buy a million copies. "Marty and I try to unearth and polish some buried gems," says Poster. "The tune's exotic qualities speak to the New York melting pot that so many of the movie's characters find so intoxicating -- a different rhythm than the rock 'n' roll beat."
4. "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" - Billy Joel
What's Top 40 top dog Billy Joel doing in there with all those hipster artists? "Our main characters grew up in Queens and Long Island, and Billy Joel is kind of the bard of the outer boroughs and Long Island."
5. "C'est Si Bon" - Eartha Kitt
"As we watch Leonardo's [stockbroker] character evolve and watch his tastes and assets evolve, Eartha Kitt speaks to the refinement and the allure of sophistication."
6. "Goldfinger" - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
As a wedding band in the film, Jones & the Dap-Kings perform the John Barry/Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse number Shirley Bassey made famous in the 1964 Bond film. "The real Jordan Belfort [DiCaprio's character] had played 'Nobody Does It Better' at his own wedding, so we spun it a little. Like it says in in the movie's trailer, if you have a yacht like a Bond villain, I guess you have to act like one."
7. "Pretty Thing" - Bo Diddley
"The intoxicating Bo Diddley beat drives and runs through the movie."
8. "Moonlight in Vermont" - Ahmad Jamal Trio
"We have an affinity for a certain feeling from Ahmad Jamal -- there are a couple tracks from that same recording in the movie, like 'Surrey with a Fringe on the Top.'"
9. "Smokestack Lightning" - Howlin' Wolf
The 1965 blues classic makes you want to start a rock band. "A rock band or a penny-stock brokerage," says Poster.
10. "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" - Jimmy Castor
"To me, this is the most sublime musical sequence in the film -- it follows after Jordan exhorts his troops of brokers to sell and take no prisoners. It's so offbeat and indelible. Your mama's callin' -- and so is your broker."
11. "Double Dutch" - Malcolm McLaren
"At that part of the record, we make a bit of a transition," says Poster of the 1983 hit.
12. "Never Say Never" - Romeo Void
With the refrain, "I might like you better if we slept together," the 1982 ditty helped make it cool to be cold. "It's the new wave, whether you use capital letters or not," says Poster.
13. "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" - 7Horse
"A really unique track -- as much as anything in the movie, it captures a certain point in time, as things approach combustion. It really drives the film."
14. "Road Runner" - Bo Diddley
In Goodfellas, [Mick Jagger's] 'Memo from Turner' with Ry Cooder's slide guitar is rock and bluesy, but Bo is more eternally cool."
15. "Mrs. Robinson" - The Lemonheads
Released as the follow-up to Evan Dando's band's debut hit "It's a Shame About Ray," the tossed-off Simon and Garfunkel cover deflates the grandiosity of the original in the musical equivalent of a shrug. "I just like the energy and irony of it," says Poster.
16. "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" - Allen Toussaint
Toussaint's cover has all the haunting gorgeousness of the 1963 Grammy-winning original by Vince "Charlie Brown's Christmas" Guaraldi. "That's the last song in the movie. It's served as the most satisfying after-dinner petit-four you've ever had. It ends the movie with all this accumulated personality, energy, rebelliousness and excitement. Just to hear this beautiful rhapsody is to feel the enduring human spirit."