Anyone who has seen the epic six-Oscars-winning film “Forrest Gump” must be seriously impressed by its soundtrack. Forrest Gump tells the inspiring story of a simple boy from Alabama growing up in the 1950s and follows the extraordinary events of his life until the 1980s. Not only does his story portray the history of the U.S.A., the soundtrack represents the most important music from that time. From Elvis to Fleetwood Mac, with 45 (!) of the best songs ever made, what more reason do you need to watch this timeless classic?
#10. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
Young Forrest Gump joins the U.S. Army and is sent to Vietnam to fight in the war. This song by CCR was released in 1969 and became an important anti-war anthem. No wonder that it is used in the impressive helicopter scene where Forrest is first dropped off in the combat area of Vietnam.
#9. Aretha Franklin – Respect
It suits the sense of humor in this film to use a song like “Respect” by R&B and soul singer Aretha Franklin in the scene where Forrest first meets his commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan. While Franklin’s version is about a strong confident woman demanding respect, the song signifies the respect Forrest has for Lieutenant Dan. Sing along to this massive hit released in 1967!
#8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
This famous song performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, originally by Bob Dylan, is played in the background while the U.S. troupes walk through the jungles of Vietnam. It definitely adds something to the tension of the war zone while the beautiful scenery of Vietnam is shown.
#7. Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson
To all Forrest’s extraordinary experiences, meeting the president of the USA is added. This song is heard during the scene with President Johnson. Simon & Garfunkel were one of the most famous artists of the 1960s, so why not use one of their best known singles in this period of the film?
#6. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
If you hadn’t guessed already by the mention of Alabama in the header of this article: of course the major 1974 hit by rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd was featured in the film. It is used during the dancing scene with Forrest and Jenny, his childhood friend.
#5. Scott McKenzie – San Fransisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
Jenny, the female lead, is an aspiring young singer during the anti-war and hippie movements in the 1960s. Naturally, she joins the flower power hippies in San Fransisco. When Forrest says goodbye, what song could fit the scene better than this one?
#4. KC & The Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight
As the soundtrack of the film takes you through music history, this song is used to depict another period in the film. At the end of 1970s, music is all about disco. “Get Down Tonight” is one of their first hits, though KC a& The Sunshine Band are also known from other disco classics such as “That’s The Way (I Like It)”.
#3. The Doors – Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Composer Alan Silvestri, responsible for the wonderful collection of music in this film, manages to put three (!) songs by The Doors in consecutive scenes. We see how Forrest learns how to play ping pong with The Doors’s song “Hello, I Love you” in the background. He gets better and better at it, accompanied by “People Are Strange”, and eventually makes his break as an international ping pong player! “Break on through”, Forrest!
#2. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
Yes, it’s true. Not only is “Sweet Home Alabama” featured, this other well known song from Lynyrd Skynyrd is used as well. We see Jenny in a heavy 1970s party scene. The famous guitar solo is timed so brilliantly and the title of this song can almost be taken literally, which makes this one of the most nerve-racking scenes in the film.
#1. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
At one point in his life, Forrest embarks upon a running adventure straight through the United States of America. Many people in the film wonder about his motives for running such a distance. For Forrest however, it is as simple as this: he just felt like running. This epic song literally is Forrest’s life motto: just go your own way!