I have this really deep love for the movie Empire Records. Ever since I saw it as a kid, I’ve loved that movie and the soundtrack. There are plenty of songs to focus on from it but one in particular has always intrigued me mainly due to the story of how the song came to be. In between the Gin Blossom’s debut and second albums, there was a song written, “Til I Hear It From You” that would be the lead single for the Empire Records soundtrack. The song was written in a hotel back in 1995 during the annual South By Southwest Festival. The writing of the song according to the story took about two hours with Gin Blossom’s guitarist Jesse Valenzuela and songwriter Marshall Crenshaw having committed a rough version of the tune to tape, and about two weeks later Crenshaw received a copy of the completed track from the band, lyrics having been written by the group’s frontman Robin Wilson. Interestingly too, the Gin Blossom’s were being sought after to be on the soundtrack but due to label issues it was proving to be a struggle. Then as things worked out and the soundtrack to the movie was then switched to the label home of the Gin Blossom’s, A&M Records. The song was a hit for sure and spent soooo many weeks as a staple on rock radio in the mid 90’s. And even to this day, when this song comes on, it takes me back to that time, the movie and eventually wind up singing along!
As you all can tell I’m relishing the fact that the 90’s are starting to come back in a big way. From album and film anniversaries, bands that are finally getting their due, and the all around general vibe that it brought out of people. There was no sense of entitlement like kids now. We all fought for what we wanted and believed in. To quote the movie in which I’m writing about “Damn The Man! Save The Empire”
Empire Records came out in 1995 to very little fanfare. In fact it was slammed by critics and it bombed while in theaters. Though over the years this movie has become a genuine cult classic. The soundtrack that accompanied the movie was fantastic. The soundtrack album featured tracks by Better Than Ezra, Cracker, The Cranberries, Evan Dando (of The Lemonheads), Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms and The Martinis (featuring former Pixies members Joey Santiago and Dave Lovering). One of the more intriguing notes about the film and soundtrack was the inclusion of Coyote Shivers, who played aspiring musician turned store clerk Berko in the film. Coyote became involved in the Empire Records by virtue of being the stepfather of Liv Tyler, Shivers being then married to Tyler’s mother Bebe Buell. The soundtrack album peaked at #63 on the album chart.There were also plenty of other songs featured in the movie that didn’t get included on the soundtrack release. Bands like Quicksand, Gwar, ACDC, Sponge, Suicidal Tendencies, Dishwalla, and many many more.
Do yourself a favor, and go home and watch this movie and revel in the songs that accompany your youth!