7 Best Jackie Brown Songs

The soundtrack to Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated film, contains many of the director’s most iconic needle drops.

After performing Stealers Wheel’s pop rock hit “Stuck in the Middle with You” on a torture stage in reservoir dogs and perform Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” in a dance competition at a ’50s-style restaurant in pulp FictionQuentin Tarantino had become famous for the needle drops on his soundtracks.

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The iconic writer-director’s third film, massively underrated Jackie Brownthrew the needle on a slew of classics from Tarantino’s record collection, featuring music from legendary artists such as the Supremes, Delfonics and Johnny Cash.

7 “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack


Jackie Brown's opening shot

When Tarantino set out to adapt Elmore Leonard rum punch for the screen, he altered a few aspects of the source material to evoke the classics of the blaxploitation genre. Casting Pam Grier is Tarantino’s most obvious nod to the blaxploitation genre, but it also includes Bobby Womack’s title track from the hit with Yaphet Kotto. Across 110th Street on the soundtrack.

In women Across 110th Street theme plays twice in the film: at the very beginning and at the very end. It plays on Jackie’s journey through the airport conveyor belt in the first shot and plays on Jackie walking away from Max in the last shot (in which she sings along with the lyrics).

6 “Strawberry Letter 23” by Johnson Brothers


The Johnson Brothers’ “Strawberry Letter 23” had previously appeared on another Tarantino soundtrack before it appeared in Jackie Brown. A few bars of the song can be heard muffled through a closed apartment door in pulp Fictionbut the song plays in all its glory in Jackie Brown. He plays on Ordell’s car radio when he convinces Beaumont to get into the trunk, then goes to an inconspicuous place and kills him in there.

There is an unsettling juxtaposition as the diegetic song ends when Ordell turns off the engine so he can get out of the car and shoot Beaumont down. The track then resumes as if nothing had happened when Ordell turns the engine back on, the radio station reconnects, and he leaves to dispose of the body.


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5 “Inside My Love” by Minnie Riperton


Pam Grier and Samuel L Jackson in Jackie Brown

The genius of Jackie BrownThe main character of is that she anticipates that arms dealers and ATF agents will underestimate her intelligence and use that leverage to play them off against each other.

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Ordell first begins to realize that he may have underestimated Jackie when he meets her at a bar and she tells him that she brought the ATF into the situation. Minnie Riperton’s soul classic “Inside My Love” can be heard playing at this bar.


4 “Tennessee Stud” by Johnny Cash


Ordell Robbie watches from behind a column in Jackie Brown

Tarantino must be a huge Johnny Cash fan, as the country legend’s music has appeared in a few of his soundtracks. Budd can be heard listening to “Satisfied Mind” in its trailer as the bride plots her ill-fated ambush in the desert by Kill Bill: Volume 2.

Jackie Brown features Cash’s cover of the Jimmy Driftwood classic “Tennessee Stud”, considered Driftwood’s most covered song. Ordell listens to the track – whose lyrics are about an impressive horse – while sitting in his car before attempting (and, thankfully, failing) to kill Jackie.


3 “Baby Love” by The Supremes


Tarantino played Vanilla Fudge’s psychedelic cover of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” about the Manson Family massacre in the bloody finale of Once upon a time in Hollywood. This song sets the perfect gonzo tone for Tarantino’s gory, cartoonish alternate history. More than two decades before including a cover of Supremes in Once upon a timeTarantino included the original Supremes version of “Baby Love” in Jackie Brown.

After Louis is released from prison, Ordell sends him to his friend Simone to watch her show. It turns out to be a choreographed dance to “Baby Love.” Ordell calls in the middle of the performance and asks what Louis thinks; he is complimentary about Simone’s dancing.


2 “Life on the Street” by Randy Crawford


Recorded by jazz band The Crusaders but best known for the vocals of Randy Crawford, “Street Life” plays on the radio when Jackie goes to the money exchange “for real.” The song’s funk sound and Crawford’s confident vocals set the perfect tone for Jackie to walk into the mall and execute her meticulously planned double-cross perfectly.

RELATED: 8 Classic Movies Referenced In Jackie Brown

This song was later used by the showrunners of You better call Saulpossibly in homage to its use in a crime context Jackie Brown. In the breaking Bad spin-off, “Street Life” plays on a montage of a Jimmy McGill in a tracksuit selling stolen cellphones to petty crooks.


1 “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time” door The Delfonics


The most memorable musical moment of Jackie Brown — and one of the most memorable musical moments of Tarantino’s entire career — is a literal needle drop. When Max comes for his gun, Jackie plays “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time” by the Delfonics on his record player.

This leads into a whole Delfonics conversation that stands as one of Tarantino’s strongest dialogue scenes. Jackie and Max bonding within the group exemplify one of the hallmarks of Tarantino’s idiosyncratic conversations: pop culture as a shared language among strangers.

NEXT: 10 Best Pulp Fiction Songs




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Grace D. Erickson