Boogie Nights is revered by film enthusiasts for many reasons, but one of them is massive. No, it's not Marky Mark's prosthetic member - it's the music. The Boogie Nights soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks ever not just because the music is choice, but because it seamlessly weaves throughout the film, bringing to life the juxtaposition of the glamour and grit of the adult film industry in the late '70s and early '80s.
All the songs in Boogie Nights are perfectly matched to the rise and fall of Dirk Diggler's career, and boy were there a lot of them - enough to produce two full albums! So let's take a look back at some of the biggest musical moments from the film and remember why Boogie Nights has the greatest soundtrack of all time.
Performed By: The Emotions
Release Date: 1977
Why It Works: It doesn't hurt that it's 1977 when the film begins, which makes the feel-good disco hit a timely fit. A song about "free love and affection" in the opening scene to a movie about porn stars is a brilliant choice as well. But it really works because it sets the toe-tapping mood for the whole intro, which weaves through the Hot Traxx club to introduce all the key players in one epic three minute steadicam shot.
Performed By: Chakachas
Release Date: 1970
Why It Works: One of the strangest songs to ever crack the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this track doesn't have much in the way of lyrics... but it makes up for it with funky horns, serious percussion, and a lot of moans. It sounds like music that's made explicitly for doin' the dirty. It was a natural fit for the scene where Rollergirl (Heather Graham) takes Eddie (Mark Wahlberg) to a storage closet and goes down on him in order to scope him out for Jack (Burt Reynolds).
Performed By: Three Dog Night
Why It Works: The epic pool party at Jack's house is one of several sequences in the film that transitions through multiple songs, each establishing a particular mood within the scene. This song is up first, as Eddie arrives at Jack's house. You could argue this was an obvious musical choice, considering the previous scene had Eddie's mom viciously berating him. But the song's lyrics - originally written by Randy Newman - are about more than the admonitions of a mother. They're about a kid witnessing his first truly epic party, which works so well for Eddie's entrance to Jack's glamorous world. Oh, and the song also has a pretty rollicking groove, perfect for getting any party started.
Performed By: Melanie
Why It Works: When Jack asks Eddie and Rollergirl to have sex on the couch in front of him, she decides she needs some mood music. She rolls over to the record player and drops this little folk tune. It may not seem like a natural lovemaking jam, sure - but when Melanie gets to the chorus it all makes sense: "Well I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key..." she sings, and sure enough, Rollergirl tells Eddie she never takes off her skates (while she's lying on top of him wearing nothing but her skates).