6 Legendary Soundtrack Albums from Rock and Roll Hall of Famers!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is home to some of the most celebrated artists in music history, ranging from premier pop songwriters to rhythm and blues purists. Here are six inductees who dabbled in the film world and blessed our ears with outstanding soundtrack albums!

With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s fan vote for the Class of 2024 ongoing, we thought it would be a good idea to list six members already enshrined in music eternity who have acclaimed soundtrack albums to their names. The only rule is that the artists had to have performed on at least five of the songs and must already be a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So, that means Kendrick Lamar’s efforts on the Black Panther soundtrack won’t be included, although we loved that chart-topping record. Now, let’s get to the list!

The Bodyguard (1992): Original Soundtrack Album – Whitney Houston

What better way to start off a soundtrack list then by including the best-selling such album of all time, with 45 million records sold worldwide. Houston’s rendition of Dolly Parton’s soulful tune, “I Will Always Love You,” is one of her signature songs, as it spent a then-record 14 weeks atop the Billboard Charts and is the best-selling single by a female artist of all time. “I’m Every Woman” (originally made famous by Chaka Khan) and “I Have Nothing” followed closeby, each peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has been certified 18x multi-Platinum by the RIAA in the years since. As if Houston’s musical contributions weren’t enough, The Bodyguard also marked her acting debut and a good one at that – she was nominated for “Best Female Performance” and “Best Breakthrough Performance” at the 1993 MTV Movie & TV Awards.

Super Fly (1972) – Curtis Mayfield

Mayfield, a rare two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee thanks to his work with the Impressions and as a solo artist, previously forayed into the soundtrack album area on Krakatoa, East of Java, which included two of his songs. Super Fly’s director, Gordon Parks Jr., originally asked Mayfield and his band to appear as the club band in one of the scenes, and that idea evolved into the soundtrack’s recording sessions. The online music publication Pitchfork gives Super Fly a 9.1 rating, saying it “perfectly encapsulates the post-Civil Rights/early Black Power feel of black America,” highlighting such funk classics as “Pusherman,” “Freddie’s Dead,” and “Superfly.” Mayfield even came back to add five songs to The Return of Super Fly in 1990, while the original ranked at #76 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list in 2023.

The Graduate (1967) – Simon & Garfunkel

Released shortly after the film of the same name, The Graduate went on to spend 69 weeks on the Billboard Hot 200, sitting atop the charts by April 6, 1968. Two of Simon & Garfunkel’s most popular songs, “Mrs. Robinson” and “The Sound of Silence,” appear on the album and are played extensively in the movie, alongside “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” “April Come She Will,” and “The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” to help move the plot along. “Mrs. Robinson” was actually titled “Mrs. Roosevelt” after Eleanor Roosevelt, the former First Lady, but was changed after director Mike Nichols wanted to use it for the Mrs. Robinson character instead. In one of the more famous and parodied movie endings of all time, “The Sound of Silence” somberly plays as protagonists Benjamin and Elaine sit and ponder their decision to run away and be together, creating a fantastic combination of film and music.

Saturday Night Fever (1977) – The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees’ work on Saturday Night Fever epitomized the era of poofy hair, bling, and, most importantly, disco, which was all over the airwaves in the mid to late 1970s. As a cultural touchstone, the album earned “Album of the Year” at the 21st Grammy Awards in 1979 and was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress in 2012. Six of the Bee Gees’ songs, including “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love,” permeate the tracklist and are paired perfectly with the film’s fun-loving, lively atmosphere. And who could forget John Travolta grooving to “You Should Be Dancing” in the immortal nightclub scene. For a time, Saturday Night Fever was the best-selling album of all time, soundtrack or not, until Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1982.

Purple Rain (1984) – Prince

Musically, Purple Rain introduced us to Prince’s knack of layering different guitar parts, synthesizers, and drum machines, creating a fuller, more vibrant sound compared to his previous albums. Prince plays nearly every instrument on the record too, getting assistance from the Revolution, his backing band. The movie, which is Prince’s film debut, helps showcase his incredible talent through concert sequences. Purple Rain is actually Prince’s biggest commercial hit, topping the Billboard album chart for 24 straight weeks and winning a trio of Grammy Awards, elevating the Minnesota-born singer-songwriter into superstar status.

Magical Mystery Tour (1967) – The Beatles

This was a tough decision to make, given that The Beatles produced two soundtrack albums before and after Magical Mystery Tour, but that’s more of a compliment to the “Fab Four,” who own one of the more impressive discographies in music history. Soon after the group released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles got to work on the title track, a nearly three-minute burst of psychedelic rock that sets up the rest of the album and film. The movie itself isn’t highly-acclaimed and holds only a moderate 6.1 rating on IMDb, but contains heaps of zany Beatles antics (take, for instance, the group bumbling around in wizard-like costumes) in a way that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Still, the record made its way to the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 200 by the time 1968 rolled around, aided by Beatles classics “I Am the Walrus,” “Hello, Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and the anthemic “All You Need Is Love.”


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About the Author

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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes is a Junior at Iona University, majoring in media and strategic communications, and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. In his free time, Robert loves to spend hours practicing the bass guitar and hunting for his favorite artists at vinyl record shops.