Pulp Fiction (soundtrack)

Pulp Fiction (soundtrack)
Music from the Motion Picture Pulp Fiction
Soundtrack album
Released September 27, 1994
Genre Rock and roll, surf rock, pop, soul
Length 41:11
Label MCA
Quentin Tarantino film soundtrack chronology
Reservoir Dogs
Pulp Fiction
Four Rooms
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly (A) [2]
NME 8/10 stars [2]
Rolling Stone (favorable) [3]

Music from the Motion Picture Pulp Fiction is the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction. No traditional film score was commissioned for Pulp Fiction. The film contains a mix of American rock and roll, surf music, pop and soul. The soundtrack is equally untraditional, consisting of nine songs from the movie, four tracks of dialogue snippets followed by a song, and three tracks of dialogue alone. Six songs featured in the movie were not included in the 41-minute soundtrack.

The album reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and the single, Urge Overkill's cover of the Neil Diamond song "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" peaked at No. 59.[4]



Tarantino used an eclectic assortment of songs by various artists. Notable songs include Dick Dale's now-iconic rendition of "Misirlou", which is played during the opening credits. Tarantino chose surf music for the basic score of the film because, "it just seems like rock 'n' roll Ennio Morricone music, rock 'n' roll spaghetti Western music."[5]

Many of the songs on the soundtrack were suggested to Tarantino by musician Boyd Rice through their mutual friend Allison Anders, including Dick Dale's "Misirlou". Other songs were suggested to Tarantino by his friends Chuck Kelley and Laura Lovelace, who were credited as music consultants. Lovelace also appeared in the film as Laura the waitress.

In addition to the surf-rock rendition of "Misirlou", other notable songs include "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang, Dusty Springfield's version of "Son of a Preacher Man", "Flowers on the Wall" by the Statler Brothers and "Bustin' Surfboards" by The Tornadoes, from 1962, which had been one of the first instrumental surf songs to hit the United States music charts after notables such as "Walk--Don't Run" by the Ventures.

Excerpts of dialogue include Jules' "Ezekiel 25:17" speech and the "Royale with Cheese" exchange between Jules and Vincent.

A two-disc collector's edition of the album was issued in 2002 — the first disc contained the songs, including five additional tracks; and the second disc was a spoken-word interview with Tarantino.

One song missing from the available soundtracks is the Ricky Nelson "Waitin' In School" as performed by Gary Shorelle, which plays as Vincent and Mia enter Jackrabbit Slim's. The next number, "Lonesome Town", is barely heard over the conversation about the five-dollar milkshake, but does show up on both editions of the soundtrack.


Pulp Fiction was one of the biggest films of 1994. The soundtrack reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, and at the time, went platinum (100,000 units) in Canada alone.[6] By November 12, 1994, total sales of more than 1.6 million were reached[7] and by 1996 over 2 million units had been sold.[8] In 1995 the soundtrack reached No. 6 on the charts according to SoundScan.[9]

The soundtrack helped launch the band Urge Overkill, which covered Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", into a mainstream market. Sony "received a nice sum" for "Son of a Preacher Man"[9] and Kool & The Gang enjoyed a resurgence when "Jungle Boogie" was released on the soundtrack.[10]

The Orange County Register described why the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction stood out from all the others: "Unlike so many soundtracks, which just seem to be repositories for stray songs by hit acts regardless of whether they fit the film's mood, Tarantino's use of music in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction exploded with a brash, Technicolor, pop-culture intensity that mirrored the stories he was telling."[11]

Analyzing the success of Tarantino's marketing, Billboard chalked up MCA's compilation to identifying the market niche: "Pulp Fiction...successfully spoke to those attuned to the hip, stylized nature of those particular films." The eclectic "mix-and-match strategy" is true to the film. "In some cases, like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, which were not geared toward any specific demographic, the soundtracks were still very focused albums," said Kathy Nelson, senior VP/general manager at MCA Soundtracks. "In both cases, the body of work — both the music and the film — has a specific personality."[12]

In 1997, Gary Thompson of The Philadelphia Inquirer said that Pulp Fiction "reinvigorated surf rock".[13] That statement would be defining for Del-Fi Records, owned by legendary producer Bob Keane; the Pulp Fiction soundtrack contained two songs that were originally released on Del-Fi: Bullwinkle Pt II by The Centurians, and Surf Rider by The Lively Ones. Del-Fi Records released a compilation CD in 1995 entitled Pulp Surfin' featuring songs by those bands plus sixteen other surf tracks from the vaults. The cover artwork was yet another parody of the Pulp Fiction movie poster.

Inspired by the soundtrack, advertisers started to use surf music in their commercials "to help sell everything from burritos to toothpaste", making surf music hugely popular again.[14]

More than two years after the film was released, the influence and monetary success was still being felt in the industry. "Mundane commercials using Dick Dale '60s surf licks, the kind made popular again by the Pulp Fiction soundtrack...following a trend — in this case, a two-year-old hit movie."[15]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Artist(s) Length
1. "Pumpkin and Honey Bunny/Misirlou"   Quentin Tarantino/Fred Wise, Milton Leeds, S. K. Russell, Nicholas Roubanis Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer/Dick Dale & His Del-Tones 2:27
2. "Royale with Cheese (dialogue)"   Tarantino Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta 1:42
3. "Jungle Boogie"   Ronald Bell, Kool & the Gang Kool & the Gang 3:05
4. "Let's Stay Together"   Al Green, Al Jackson, Jr., Willie Mitchell Al Green 3:15
5. "Bustin' Surfboards"   Gerald Sanders, Jesse Sanders, Norman Sanders, Leonard Delaney The Tornadoes 2:26
6. "Lonesome Town"   Baker Knight Ricky Nelson 2:13
7. "Son of a Preacher Man"   John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins Dusty Springfield 2:25
8. "Zed's Dead, Baby/Bullwinkle Part II"   Tarantino/Dennis Rose, Ernest Furrow Maria de Medeiros, Bruce Willis/The Centurions 2:39
9. "Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest/You Never Can Tell"   Tarantino/Chuck Berry Jerome Patrick Hoban, Uma Thurman/Chuck Berry 3:12
10. "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"   Neil Diamond Urge Overkill 3:09
11. "If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags)"   Maria McKee Maria McKee 4:55
12. "Bring Out the Gimp/Comanche"   Tarantino/Robert Hafner (sax solo by James Gordon) Peter Greene, Duane Whitaker/The Revels 2:10
13. "Flowers on the Wall"   Lewis C. Dewitt The Statler Brothers 2:23
14. "Personality Goes a Long Way"   Tarantino Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta 1:00
15. "Surf Rider"   Bob Bogle, Nole "Nokie" Edwards, Don Wilson The Lively Ones 3:18
16. "Ezekiel 25:17"   Tarantino Samuel L. Jackson 0:51

Collector's edition

A two-disc collector's edition was released in 2002. It features remastered versions of the original sixteen tracks, along with five bonus tracks. The second disc contains an interview with director Quentin Tarantino. The additional tracks are:


  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r204558
  2. ^ a b http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1103748/a/Pulp+Fiction.htm
  3. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/234213/review/6211332?utm_source=Rhapsody&utm_medium=CDreview
  4. ^ Charts & Awards, Allmusic (December 26, 2006).
  5. ^ Groen, Rick (October 14, 1994). "Crime Rave". Globe and Mail. 
  6. ^ Billboard; 1/28/95, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p62, 1/2p
  7. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 9/9/95, Vol. 107, Issue 36
  8. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
  9. ^ a b Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
  10. ^ Charlotte Observer, The (NC), Sun Jun 21 19:48:50 1998
  11. ^ Orange County Register, The (Santa Ana, CA), Tue Dec 16 06:08:50 1997
  12. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 4/29/95, Vol. 107, Issue 17
  13. ^ Philadelphia Daily News, The (PA), Thu Dec 11 06:11:36 1997
  14. ^ SHOOT v36.n15 (April 14, 1995): pp31(5)
  15. ^ SHOOT, 10745297, 07/19/96, Vol. 37, Issue 29

External links

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