Quentin Tarantino Lists His Favorite Records: Bob Dylan, Freda Payne, Phil Ochs and More

Quentin Taran­ti­no cares about music, as you can tell from watch­ing any of his films, from his max­i­mal­ly dis­com­fit­ing use of Steal­ers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Mid­dle with You” in Reser­voir Dogs on out. A Tele­graph arti­cle on that song’s writer Ger­ry Raf­fer­ty describes it as “writ­ten as a par­o­dy of Bob Dylan’s para­noia,” “lit­tle more than a joke but with a catchy pop arrange­ment” that unex­pect­ed­ly sold more than a mil­lion copies. If Taran­ti­no has a fas­ci­na­tion with Dylan par­o­dies, then he has an even deep­er fas­ci­na­tion with the real thing, as revealed in a post on his ten favorite records from Uncut’s Michael Bon­ner. He pulled Taran­ti­no’s selec­tions and com­ments from an inter­view he con­duct­ed with the direc­tor back around the time of Pulp Fic­tion. Above, you can watch Dylan play “Tan­gled Up in Blue,” which Taran­ti­no calls his “all-time favorite song,” “one of those songs where the lyrics are ambigu­ous you can actu­al­ly write the song your­self.” (Hear the orig­i­nal record­ing here.)

Just above, we have Fre­da Payne per­form­ing “Band of Gold,” anoth­er of Taran­ti­no’s choice cuts, on Soul Train in 1970. “This is just so cool,” he says. “It’s a com­bi­na­tion of the way it’s pro­duced, the cool pop/R&B sound, and Freda’s voice. Its kin­da kitschy in a way – y’know, it’s got a real­ly up-tem­po tune – and, the first few times I heard it, I was, like, total­ly into the cool­ness of the song. It was only on the third or fourth lis­ten I realised the lyrics were so fuck­ing heart­break­ing.” Below you’ll find a cut from Phil Ochs’ I Ain’t March­ing Any­more, which Taran­ti­no calls “one of my favorite protest/folk albums. While Dylan was a poet Ochs was a musi­cal jour­nal­ist: he was a chron­i­cler of his time, filled with humor and com­pas­sion. He’d write songs which would seem very black and white, and then, in the last verse, he’d say some­thing which, like, com­plete­ly shat­tered you.” This par­tic­u­lar song, “Here’s To The State of Mis­sis­sip­pi,” he con­sid­ers “every­thing the movie Mis­sis­sip­pi Burn­ing should have been.”

In Bon­ner’s Uncut post, you can read Taran­ti­no’s fur­ther thoughts on Bob Dylan, his dec­la­ra­tion of Elvis’ finest era, and his film scores of choice. And speak­ing of things cin­e­mat­ic, see also our lists of Taran­ti­no’s favorite films since 1992, his ten favorite films of last year, and what he deems the twelve great­est films of all time.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Quentin Taran­ti­no Imper­son­ates His Idol, Elvis Pres­ley

Jim Jar­musch: The Art of the Music in His Films

The Rolling Stones at 50: Mick, Kei­th, Char­lie & Ron­nie Revis­it Their Favorite Songs

Mick Jones Plays Three Favorite Songs by The Clash at the Library

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

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