Blow’s Classic Rock Soundtrack Perfectly Captures the Movie

Blow’s Classic Rock Soundtrack Perfectly Captures the Movie

The era-encapsulating Blow soundtrack is classic rock gold. It captures the sensibility of the film and the decades in which it takes place. 

Director Ted Demme paid great attention to the track selections, providing a definitive and unique playlist.

So, what are the songs that make this soundtrack so good?

Let’s find out!

About the Movie, Blow

Blow is a 2001 film based on the real-life story of American drug trafficker and dealer George Jung.

Raised in New England in the ’50s, Jung moved to Los Angeles in the late 60s to pursue a more lucrative and daring life than his broke, bankrupt father. Jung fell under the influence of the seemingly limitless possibilities of the late 60s in California. He wanted to make a lot of money and make it fast. So, he started to sell weed with his best friend and girlfriend.

Jung and his team upped the ante and started importing directly from Mexico. His life became a seesaw of ups and downs. Before too long, Jung got arrested. Then, he broke bail to take care of his dying girlfriend, Barbara. 

Like a boomerang, Jung went back to jail after his mom turned him in. Before you can say ‘Far out, man,’ Jung turned the game around again and started dealing cocaine.

Jung became a significant figure in the International drug trade of the 1970s and 1980s. He partnered with the major Colombian cartel (Medellin,) working with Pablo Escobar. That was a big deal for a nobody from the American suburbs.

We watch Jung make too many mistakes, as with all great anti-hero movies. He makes millions, loses it, and winds up in jail again. Along the way, we meet a slew of 70s characters whose wardrobe and haircuts take us straight into a 1975 issue of CREEM Magazine.

A soundtrack racked with classic rock standards is only fitting for Blow! 

What Is the Intro Song in Blow?

The intro song on the Blow soundtrack is Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones.

Track four from the 1971 album Sticky Fingers. The song was a happy accident, according to guitarist Keith Richards. A riff turned into a seven-minute jam recorded on the first take.

Although the words didn’t hold much meaning for the band when they wrote it, they fit perfectly with the film.

Can’t you hear me knockin? Y'all got cocaine eyes, Yeah, you got speed-freak jive.”

Besides, what better way to start a movie off about blow than with a guitar riff from Keith Richards? It’s 23 seconds long and holds no mercy.

What Are the Songs on the Blow Soundtrack?

From there, the Blow soundtrack delivers a killer mix of tunes from the high-flying 70s. We have a brief dip into the 50s with Rumble by Link Wray. Then, most of what we hear came along after the summer of love. 

We move on to the frenetic cover of Black Betty by Ram Jam and the salsa of Willie Rosario’s Let’s Boogaloo. We fly free in the light disco of Keep it Comin Up by KC and The Sunshine Band. Then we come down with Glad and Sorry by Faces.

Many of the chosen tracks are a little on the nose, but we think they work well. For example, the track, Strange Brew by Cream, is the backdrop for Jung’s deepening descent into the underbelly of the American dream.

Blinded By the Greed

Next, we have Blinded By The Light, performed by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. At the halfway point in the film, a critical turning point is reached with the song. Jung, played by Johnny Depp, has secured business with Pablo Escobar. 

“Cocaine exploded upon the American culture like an atomic bomb. Everyone was doing it. I mean, everyone,” says Jung. The song punctuates the excitement and blind ambition brought on by greed and the 70s drug boom rush.

“Blinded by the light, Revved up like a deuce, Another runner in the night. With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older I tripped the merry-go-round”

Burnout

When the glamour and glory slipped away, we hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic track, That Smell. Jung quit the drug business, but not the drugs. Not surprisingly, things got out of control. We only hear the piece briefly, enough to catch the pertinent lyrics. 

“There's too much coke and too much smoke. Look what's going on inside you. Ooh that smell, the smell of death surrounds you.”

That Smell was written by vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, inspired by the drug and alcohol abuse that engulfed Lynyrd Skynyrd in the late 70s. Things came to a head when guitarist Gary Rossington got into a terrible car accident. The music evokes the burnout of the late 70s rock scene and is a perfect fit for the Blow soundtrack.

At this point, the movie crescendos with two simultaneous actions: the birth of Jung’s daughter and his drug overdose. As we see Jung falling over in the hospital birthing room, looking like death, we hear All The Tired Horses by Bob Dylan.

With repeating vocals by a chorus of women, this track serves as a subtle cue to further unnerve the audience. Will Jung live?

“All the tired horses in the sun. How'm I s'posed to get any ridin' done?”

When he does survive, another page turns with Can’t You See, by the Marshall Tucker Band. Jung sobered up after an overdose and focused on his wife and new baby girl. We hear, “Can’t you see, can’t you see what that woman, Lord, she been doin’ to me.” The song is both romantic and melancholic. 

Guitarist and songwriter Toy Caldwell had heartache on his mind when he penned Can’t You See. In a sense, it serves as a foreshadowing. After this, Jung’s wife becomes a semi-disaster and leaves him.

Blow Soundtrack Track List

  1. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – the Rolling Stones
  2. Rumble – Link Wray
  3. Glad and Sorry – Faces
  4. Strange Brew – Cream
  5. Black Betty – Ram Jam
  6. Blinded By the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
  7. Let’s Boogaloo – Willie Rosario
  8. Keep It Comin’ Love – KC ; The Sunshine Band
  9. Yellow World
  10. That Smell – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  11. All the Tired Horses – Bob Dylan
  12. Can’t You See – the Marshall Tucker Band
  13. Push & Pull – Nikka Costa

What Is the Song at the End of Blow?

By the end of Blow, you’ll probably feel bad for George Jung. Sure, he made some significant mistakes in his life. But he just keeps getting knocked down. He spends years in jail, growing further away from his daughter. Eventually, she stops visiting him. His wife has long since been gone. His dealer friends set him up in a drug bust. And his father dies while he’s in jail.

Fittingly, the closing track on the Blow Soundtrack is Push and Pull by Nikka Costa. The song being written in 2001 may make it seem out of place. But when watching the film, it makes perfect sense. 

Push and Pull’s lyrics are a metaphor for where George Jung is now and the years that brought him there. We see a photo of the real Jung as the song starts. He was still in prison when the film was released.

“Mr. Nothing's got a lot…He takes his chance with what he's got
It's too late now to stop
You push and you pull and struggle with the knot
It's tying you up while you're fadin'
You give and you take and take what you got”

The Classic Rock Soundtrack Blows Us Away

The real-life George Jung was an average guy from the American Suburbs who became the number one international importer of cocaine in the 70s. His turbulent, reckless life was perfect fodder for movie bliss.

And the Blow soundtrack superbly highlights its peaks and valleys with cautionary yet messy, heartfelt classic rockin’ tunes. What do you think of the music in Blow?

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