Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Dusty treasures

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2000 at 12:00 AM

The sound track companion piece to Cameron Crowe’s magnificent new rock ’n’ roll movie, Almost Famous, is like a delightful trip up and down the early ’70s AM-FM dial. Chock-full of material featured in the flick (this isn’t one of those “inspired” by the movie type of sound tracks), Almost Famous will have aficionados dusting off their vinyl 45s.

Right off the bat, Almost Famous proceeds to do what every Cameron Crowe sound track does. It takes you right back to the movie-going experience. It complements the movie, which is not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination. When woven into the fabric of the film, these songs (like those in Crowe predecessors, Singles and Jerry McGuire) crystallize Crowe’s filmmaking vision — often adding dramatic nuances that would otherwise be missing. On their own, Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells a Story” or David Bowie’s cover of Lou Reed’s ode to scoring, “I’m Waiting for the Man,” are potent bursts of reality. When taken within the context of the movie, they become monumental assessments. Other sound tracks that have managed to do this as effectively have ended up as classics of a generation, including The Big Chill and Singles.

More great tracks? How about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” or Led Zeppelin’s gorgeous “That’s the Way” (marking the first time Zep has ever granted the right for its music to be used in an original motion picture sound track — the actual movie includes an additional four Led Zep tracks not represented here). Then there’s Cat Stevens’ “The Wind” and the movie’s centerpiece, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” An often overlooked classic, “Tiny Dancer” is the album’s showstopper (or this sound track’s version of “Secret Garden,” if you wish.) The track is so strong, in fact, that VH1 has now started playing it using movie footage in lieu of an actual promotional video.

A quick word about the film’s musical protagonists, Stillwater: Visually, the band is a dead-ringer for Free — right down to the singer’s clenching of the mike stand. Musically, they’re a Humble Pie-Bad Company-Led Zep combo. “Fever Dog,” the one Stillwater track featured on the compilation, is produced by Heart’s Nancy Wilson (Crowe’s wife), and features Seattle stalwart Mike McCready (Pearl Jam-Mad Season) and Nancy herself on guitars.

Read our review of the movie Almost Famous.

John Franck writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by John Franck

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 12, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation