• 1.
    Beyond the Valley
  • 2.
    Come With the Gentle People
  • 3.
    Look on up at the Bottom
  • 4.
  • 5.
    In the Long Run
  • 6.
    Beyond the Valley [Instrumental]
  • 7.
    Sweet Talkin' Candy Man
  • 8.
    Find It
  • 9.
    Ampersand [Instrumental]
  • 10.
    Once I Had Love
  • 11.
  • 12.
    Beyond the Valley


Like the Russ Meyer/Roger Ebert exploito-tragicomic, satirical spoof from which it is derived, the soundtrack to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a cheesy, seductive, drugged-out orgy of a good time. It is a blast, too, even without the accompanying movie. Most of the songs are performed by the fictitious, all-girl trio the Carrie Nations, who are the main characters of the film. They sound something like how Janis Joplin might have had she settled in the seedy pop climate of early-'70s Los Angeles (what one reviewer has accurately described as sounding like Joplin's older and uglier sister) crossed with the early Zeppelin-esque pose of Heart, and they inject their songs with both tough-broad vigor and little-girl vulnerability. Just as the actresses (who comically ape their instruments in the movie) embody it, the music is full of interesting contradictions, particularly a hip knowingness played against the childlike irresponsibility of the generation. It is voluptuously perverse and promiscuous music, but also innocently teenage, full of batted eyelashes and wide-eyed curiosity. It is addictive and aphrodisiacal and even makes you feel a bit dirty when hearing it. The other main contributor (easy listening vocal trio the Sandpipers add the cursory theme song) is that ever-trendy veteran of the psychsploitation film phenomenon, Strawberry Alarm Clock, who also popped up as Jack Nicholson's band in the great Psych-Out a couple years earlier. The band plays themselves as a hip Hollywood combo during the film's first party scene, predictably opening their set with their huge hit, "Incense and Peppermints" (which doesn't appear on the soundtrack), but also chiming in with the lazy country-rock of "Girl from the City," with its interesting anti-back-to-the-land sentiment, and the surprisingly tough biker psych of "I'm Coming Home." The swinging, kitschadelic draw of the whole scenario notwithstanding, the songs themselves make the soundtrack, and, in some small way, the movie as well. As such, the stars of the soundtrack are actually its conceivers and songwriters, particularly Stu Phillips, who wrote a majority of the music for the film. Beautifully swaying Aquarian ballads ("Come with the Gentle People," "In the Long Run") mix with bluesy hippie anthems ("Look on Up at the Bottom") and hard-hitting heavy rock ("Sweet Talking Candy Man," "Find It") to create the perfect decadent atmosphere. Like the film, which has become one of the most beloved cult B-movies of an era full of them, the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls soundtrack deserves the highest critical rating on pop cultural value alone. That it happens to be loaded with swaggering, self-effacing rock music that is nothing but fun seals its fate. ~ Stanton Swihart, Rovi

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