Getty Images / Rialto Pictures
Getty Images / Rialto Pictures

11 Movie Soundtracks by a Single Artist

Getty Images / Rialto Pictures
Getty Images / Rialto Pictures

Whether it’s a large orchestral score or the hushed strumming of a lone guitar, the music in a film is an essential part of the whole. But sometimes, instead of a traditional score or multi-artist soundtrack, filmmakers choose a single act to provide the music for their movie. 

1. Miles Davis // Ascenseur pour l'échafaud

When looking for music for his debut feature, a crime thriller called Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (released as Elevator to the Gallows in the U.S. and Lift to the Scaffold in the UK), French director Louis Malle, then 24, approached legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis at a Paris gig in November 1957 at the suggestion of his assistant. Surprisingly, the normally volatile Davis agreed. Before Davis and his quintet took to the studio, they were given only a brief outline of the film’s plot, and once they got there, they completely improvised the entire soundtrack as they watched a rough cut of the film live.

2. Bob Dylan // Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

In 1972, screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer approached singer/songwriter Bob Dylan to create songs for a movie he was writing called Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. The revisionist western starred James Coburn as sheriff Pat Garrett, who is hunting down outlaw Billy the Kid, played by Kris Kristofferson, in New Mexico. While it didn’t receive rave reviews, and Dylan’s time on the film wasn’t exactly memorable (director Sam Peckinpah had allegedly never even heard of Dylan before), his country music-tinged contributions to the movie included “Knockin' on Heaven’s Door,” one of the singer’s best-loved tunes. Dylan even has a cameo in the film as a mysterious wanderer called “Alias” who joins up with Billy’s gang.

3. Curtis Mayfield // Superfly

Though it was released a year after singer Isaac Hayes’ classic soundtrack for the movie Shaft, Curtis Mayfield’s album for the 1972 blaxploitation movie Super Fly is now regarded as a pioneering concept album about social justice, influencing countless soul artists after it. The album went on to sell more than two million copies, and Mayfield would continue his soundtrack career by penning the music for six more films, culminating in his soundtrack for the film The Death of Super Fly in 1990.

4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers // She’s the One

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers reunited after squabbles over Petty’s solo output to make the music for the soundtrack to director Edward Burns’ 1996 dramedy She’s the One. It is officially listed as the band’s ninth studio album, and features guest vocals by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and covers of Lucinda Williams’ “Change the Locks” and Beck’s “Asshole.”

5. Eddie Vedder // Into the Wild

The Pearl Jam frontman had previously contributed songs to 1995’s Dead Man Walking and 2001’s I Am Sam, movies both starring actor Sean Penn. But when Penn was looking for music for his fourth directorial effort, Into the Wild, he handpicked the singer to do the whole soundtrack. The folksy acoustic album was Vedder’s first solo effort. He later released a second solo record called Ukelele Songs in 2011.

6. Aimee Mann // Magnolia

Director Paul Thomas Anderson first met singer/songwriter Aimee Mann when he asked her husband, musician Michael Penn (Sean Penn’s brother), to do the score for his first film, Hard Eight. While only two songs were written specifically for Magnolia—“You Do” and “Save Me,” the latter of which was nominated for “Best Original Song” at the 72nd Academy Awards—many of the songs are shared with Mann’s third studio album, released after Magnolia, called Bachelor No. 2. The soundtrack also features Mann’s cover of the Harry Nilsson song, “One.”

7. Air // The Virgin Suicides

French electro-pop band Air provided the music for director Sofia Coppola’s debut feature The Virgin Suicides, which was later named the 49th best French rock album by the French edition of Rolling Stone. Coppola’s fondness for French pop groups goes beyond her movies: She eventually married French band Phoenix’s lead singer Thomas Mars, whose band also provided songs for her 2010 film Somewhere.

8. Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle // One From the Heart

Sofia wasn’t the only Coppola to have a single artist make music for a movie. Her father, the great Francis Ford Coppola, had singers Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle sing soulful duets and solo compositions for his 1982 musical, One From the Heart. Not very many people heard the songs when the film was released in 1982, though. The movie was a gigantic box office bomb, making only $636,796 against a $26 million budget.

9. Neil Young // Dead Man

Similar to Miles Davis’ music for Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, musician Neil Young improvised the solos he made for director Jim Jarmusch’s unorthodox 1995 western Dead Man, starring Johnny Depp. As Young watched the film, he sat in a circle surrounded by his instruments and would pick up and play what he felt reflected the action onscreen. Young likened this method to the way in which organists or piano players would accompany silent films before the sound era.

Director Jarmusch later experimented further with single-artist soundtracks. The RZA from the Wu Tang Clan provided the music for Jarmusch’s 1999 film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and Jarmusch’s own band SQÜRL conveniently did the music for his most recent film, Only Lovers Left Alive.

10. Karen O // Where the Wild Things Are

Karen O, lead singer of the indie rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, created the music for director Spike Jonze’s 2009 film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, along with contributions from her Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmates and members of Queens of the Stone Age, Liars, The Raconteurs, and Deerhunter, among others. Karen O later reteamed with Jonze for “The Moon Song,” the Academy Award nominated song from Jonze’s 2013 film Her, which also happened to be scored entirely by the band the Arcade Fire.

11. Badly Drawn Boy // About a Boy

Who better to provide the music for the film About a Boy than Badly Drawn Boy (aka British singer/songwriter Damon Gough)? Co-directors and screenwriters Chris and Paul Weitz listened to Gough’s music while writing the screenplay, and were so inspired that they approached the singer to do the music for the film. Gough would again do the music for Paul Weitz’s 2012 film Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro.

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From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
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There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
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20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
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They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

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