The Coen Brothers’ 1998 film noir spoof, The Big Lebowski, with Jeff Bridges’ shaggy title character, “The Dude,” has gained a fervent following, complete with annual conventions, where phrases like “The Dude will abide” have entered the vernacular. With the Coens’ typical care and love of music they demonstrated throughout their diverse career, The Big Lebowski soundtrack has become just as much of a cult classic as the film itself.
The classic album will now be made available for the first time in the U.S. on vinyl through Universal Music Enterprises, to be released November 24th. The LP can be ordered through Amazon.
The soundtrack was originally released on Mercury Records at the same time, a typically eclectic Coen compilation of opera (“Gluck Das Mir Gottlieb”), world music (Yma Sumac), pop (Henry Mancini), jazz (Nina Simone), avant-garde (Meredith Monk), folk (Townes Van Zandt), blues (Captain Beefheart) and Italian film scores (Piero Piccione) and even some German electronic music (the movie’s composer, Coen regular Carter Burwell’s “Technopop”). Album highlights include songs accompanying a trio of bowling scenes: Bob Dylan’s New Morning track, “The Man In Me” over the title credits, the Busby Berkeley-influenced psychedelia of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition’s “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition is In”) and the Gypsy Kings’ redefining take on the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” as John Turturro licks his bowling ball.
While the Coens were writing the Lebowski screenplay, they had both the Kenny Rogers and Gipsy Kings songs in mind. The pair approached T-Bone Burnett (who would later work with the Coens on both the Grammy-winning O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Inside Llewyn Davis) to help them fill out the soundtrack as a self-titled “Music Archivist.” Burnett brought the Coens obscure tracks by Henry Mancini and Yma Sumac, as well as selections from Captain Beefheart, street musician Moondog, the Dylan song and Texas singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”
The brothers deliberately set out to choose different genres of music from different times for the soundtrack, with certain themes for each character. Mancini’s “Lujon” was meant for Ben Gazzara’s pornographer/loan shark Jackie Treehorn, while the German nihilists were accompanied by Burwell’s “Technopop” and Bridges’ Dude by Creedence’s “Run Through the Jungle” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”
As the Dude himself might say, “It will abide!”
1. Bob Dylan, “The Man In Me”
2. Captain Beefheart, “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles”
3. Elvis Costello, “My Mood Swings”
4. Yma Sumac, “Ataypura”
5. Piero Piccioni, “Traffic Boom”
6. Nina Simone, “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good”
7. Moondog with Orchestra, “Stamping Ground”
8. Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, “ Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”
9. Meredith Monk, “Walking Song”
10. “Gluck Das Mir Verblieb” (from Die Tote Standt)
11. Henry Mancini, “Lujon”
12. Gypsy Kings, “Hotel California”
13. Carter Burwell, “Technopop”
14. Townes Van Zandt, “Dead Flowers”
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.