To say that Martin Scorsese has an ear for music would be an understatement. His affinity for crafting the perfect soundtrack for his films is second only to Quentin Tarantino, if anyone. Throughout his prolific, 40+ year career, Scorsese has punctuated his movies with the perfect song choices time and again. With the premiere of the Scorsese-produced Vinyl on HBO this Sunday, the filmmaker will immerse himself in his element, telling a story of struggling 1970s record producer Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale). In anticipation, here are 10 of Scorsese’s best musical moments captured on film, curated into your own perfect soundtrack.
Mean Streets – The Ronettes “Be My Baby”
To start, you need a nice, clean intro, and the drumbeat that kicks off The Ronettes’ signature tune does just that. Playing throughout the opening credits of Scorsese’s debut film — the rough-around-the-edges crime story Mean Streets — the saccharine-sweet melody playing behind grainy home movies serves as our introduction into the world as seen through Scorsese’s eyes.
The Last Waltz – The Band “Don’t Do It”
Even the casual observer is aware of Scorsese’s affinity for rock music, so it’s no surprise that he leapt at the chance to film The Band’s final concert which was held on Thanksgiving Day 1976 at The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. In doing so, Scorsese hired some of the world’s best camera operators to help him capture music history as it unfolded that night. Released a year-and-a-half later, the film starts at the concert’s final moments, right after the now-famous disclaimer that ‘This Film Should Be Played Loud!’, it captures The Band together in their element one last time. This was Scorsese filming without a net, proving that his style was nothing less than cinematic rock and roll.