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The Joe Dirt Soundtrack Is Surprisingly Amazing

The Joe Dirt Soundtrack Is Surprisingly Amazing

Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you’ll want to check out the Joe Dirt soundtrack. 

The classic rock collection boasts excellent songs from solid musicians. We’ll walk you through the tracks so you can decide if you want to take a listen.

Fair warning, though, there will be spoilers.

Let’s go!

About the Movie, Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt is a 2001 adventure comedy about a wayward janitor and his quest to find his parents. The film starts in present-day Los Angeles, at the radio station where Joe works. Through interviews of Joe by his radio DJ co-worker, Zander, we learn about Joe’s past. 

Joe was abandoned by his parents when he was eight years old. They left him by a pile of garbage at the Grand Canyon. They called him “Joe Dirt”. Despite having no idea why he was abandoned, Joe is comically optimistic. He remains this way through the trials and tribulations of his adult life. 

The story Joe Dirt is a rock-n-roll fantasy camp adventure gone wrong, and the soundtrack reflects it. He loses his true love to the local bully, and his dog gets killed by an angry dad. He has one crappy job after another. And just when you think he couldn’t possibly make one more stupid decision, he does it, times five.

But told over three days on the airwaves, Joe develops a cult following. His radio listeners delight at imagining his oddball life and his incredible mullet.

All of these shenanigans take place with the backdrop of an incredible rock and roll soundtrack, which might be the best thing about the movie. Let’s face it: despite the film’s all-star comedy cast and producers, it’s not particularly recommendable. If you like fart jokes, it’s great. If you need something goofy to take your mind off things while you putter around the house, go for it. 

Most of all, if you love classic rock standards, you’ll enjoy it just for that. 

The Cool Cast

The cast is also remarkably eclectic and fun, especially for fans of Saturday Night Live. David Spade plays Joe Dirt, and Dennis Miller plays DJ Zander. Other well-known cast members include Brittney Daniel, Jaime Presley, Kid Rock, and Fred Ward. 

Our personal favorite is Christopher Walken, a fellow janitor with a seedy past. Or maybe Rosanne Arquette as an alligator farm owner.

What Songs Are Played in Joe Dirt?

The Joe Dirt movie has a run time of one hour and 38 minutes. According to IMDB, 28 songs are in the film. That averages out to a good tune almost every four minutes! Of course, you’re not going to hear each track in its entirety. But for accenting the synopsis, the Joe Dirt soundtrack is loaded!

The story starts with our hero, Joe Dirt, driving his yellow beater of a car to work. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd plays on his radio. This serves to establish our main character in his everyday setting. Sweet Home Alabama, released in 1974, was Skynyrd’s highest-charting single.

Once we hear Joe Dirt’s origin story, the hits keep coming. We meet Brandy, Joe’s crush. And we hear Listen To The Music by Tom Johnson, and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. As his crush develops When I’m With You by Sheriff plays.

If you’re a classic rock enthusiast, you might be thinking – did someone raid my vinyl collection?

Onward and Upward

We get swept into Joe’s romance with Eddie Money’s I Think I’m In Love. We awkwardly see his dog’s romantic interests and hear Atomic Dog by George Clinton. Comedy and irony delivered. 

As Joe moves forward on his quest to find his parents, we follow him from town to town. One blunder after another. Two smash hits accentuate this part, including when Joe gets carried away in a hot air balloon. Don’t ask – you’re better off just watching it!

The first hit, China Grove by The Doobie Brothers, gets us in motion. On the next train, overlooking the next destination. Like many songs composed by singer Tom Johnson, he wrote the music first. The guitar riff and drum laid the foundation for the lyrics.

Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh comes in when Joe’s air balloon adventures hit cruise control. The lyrics, Rocky Mountain way, couldn’t get much higher, fit perfectly. The slack drawl vocals of Joe Walsh are immediately recognizable. 

From there, the Joe Dirt soundtrack continues to deliver. That Smell by Lynyrd Skynyrd accompanies Joe’s next lustful adventure along with Shambala by Three Dog Night. I just Want to Make Love to You by Foghat is pretty self-explanatory. We’ve got Bad To The Bone, Hold On Loosely, and even Jailbreak.

If you’re a Southern rock fan, you might be thinking – is this the soundtrack to my life?!

The Joe Dirt soundtrack does deliver some cool curveballs. When we see Joe humbly sleeping in the boiler room at work, we hear Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band. It’s pretty sweet and tender.

But if you don’t have room for that soft stuff, no worries. Soon enough, you’ll be hearing Roller by April Wine and Burnin’ for You by Blue Oyster Cult.

What Bob Seger Song is in Joe Dirt?

During one of Joe’s flashbacks he shares on the radio, we learn that Joe was living in a Juvenile home for boys when he was eleven. We hear Bob Seger’s Ramblin Gamblin Man in the background. Joe says he ran away from the joint, as we see him jumping and dancing on train tracks. 

Radio DJ Zander decides to take the piss out of Joe, teasing him that there’s no way he could be that cool. “Be honest, back then you were listening to Leif Garrett,” says Zander. “No sir man!” exclaims Joe. “I’m a rocker, through and through!”

Bob Seger’s classic tune ties into the film in three ways here. First, it serves to emphasize Joe’s rock n roll nature. In the flashback, we feel his need to split. The soundtrack volume cranks up for the chorus:

But I got to ramble (ramblin' man)
Gamble (gamblin' man)
Ramble (ramblin' man)
I was born a ramblin' gamblin' man

But this 1968 classic, Ramblin Gamblin Man, works in two additional ways. The second way is a vehicle to pull us out of the flashback into the present day. And the third tie-in is the overall thematic thread about music. What’s cooler than a little Bob Seger?

What Song Played at the End of Joe Dirt?

Without giving away too much of the film, Joe Dirt finally gets redemption in more ways than one. Like any great Hollywood film, we end the story of Joe Dirt with a well-rounded reward. By this point, we want Joe to win, and he does! He gets love, he gets a car, and he gets to tell the bad guys to kiss-off. The ending of Joe Dirt is highly satisfying and the song from the soundtrack is perfect.

Rather cleverly, we hear Zander, the ever snarky DJ, dedicate a song to Joe. And this time it’s delivered with great spirit and camaraderie. Zander plays If You Want My Love by Cheap Trick. The sun sets, and the credits roll.

Cheap Trick is an American Rock band with glam sensibility. Band members such as guitarist Rick Neilson and singer Robin Zander had iconic looks and were stellar musicians. Their most well-known hit was I Want You To Want Me, released in 1977. If You Want My Love came out five years and five releases later.

The song is a perfect ending as we ride off into the sunset with Joe and his gang. The lyrics offer a soothing anecdote to the troubles Joe Dirt has faced until now.

If you want my love you got it
When you need my love you got it
I won't hide it
I won't throw your love away, ooh

The Joe Dirt Soundtrack Truly is Amazing

With over 25 classic tracks in the movie, you can’t go wrong with the Joe Dirt soundtrack. It rocks! From Skynyrd to Foghat, Thin Lizzy to Three Dog Night, you’ll get a good dose of rock, with some soul sprinkled in. Which song is your favorite? Which one surprised you? Tell us in the comments!

Julie Gant

Thursday 20th of January 2022

Wow. No desire to see the movie, but the soundtrack is definitely awesome!