The Music of 'Glory Road'
By Jennifer E. Jones
The essence of the ‘60s is best captured in its music. Let the makers of Glory Road take you to "back in the day" with the film's original soundtrack.
Jerry Bruckheimer (director of Pirates of the Carribean and Bad Boys) was Executive Producer for the film and also served as the Album Producer for the soundtrack that mixes classic Motown and contemporary R&B with down-home gospel.
The soundtrack kicks off with the song most featured in the film, “People Get Ready.” It’s the perfect choice considering that the original was written in 1965 by soul singer Curtis Mayfield in response to the March on Washington. It embodies all the hope that came from the budding civil rights movement.
Alicia Keys and newcomer Lyfe Jennings excellently execute this cover. It is quite similar to the original even down to the faint chimes in the background and the guitar licks. Just enough of a contemporary slant is put on the song to make it as fetching today as it was in the mid-‘60s.
The soundtrack contains a few original recordings that defined the soulful era. As expected, no collection of 1965-inspired music is complete without Motown. Glory Road features Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” by Stevie Wonder, the classic hit from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas called “Dancing In the Street” and the lesser known “Can You Do It” by the Contours. Then you don’t stray too far from the Detroit beat with “Shake It Up Baby (Twist and Shout),” a popular song originally recorded by the Isley Brothers in 1962.
Billy Joe Royal’s “Down in the Boondocks” is a bit misplaced but makes sense when reflecting on the smaller towns that the mighty Miners toured through in the film. Plus, it’s a good segue into the blues ballad “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)” by Otis Redding.
The gospel grooves on Glory Road speak of the deep spiritual roots that helped sustain African Americans in the fight for equality as well as stirred the necessary fires for change. Mahalia Jackson sings her own spiritual “I’m On My Way to Canaan” during an interlude in the film as the Miners began their difficult, uphill trek through the NCAA basketball ranks. The song is selected for the perfect moment and is almost foreshadowing for the glory that laid after the heartache.
Alicia Keys lends her voice to two more tracks besides “People Get Ready.” She sings the haunting melody of the title track as well as the hymn “I Will Make the Darkness Light.”
For those who loved the movie or simply love the music of the mid-'60s, then the soundtrack to Glory Road is a must-have. It binds together the heart and soul of a generation that changed the course of history.
Glory Road Original Soundtrack
(Hollywood Records, 2006)
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