Thirty six hours or so after he finished his stint as the Academy Awards’ first DJ-as-orchestra, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the show’s musical director, has posted a 144-track playlist including every single song he played during the three-plus-hour-long Oscars ceremony this year. Unfortunately, it does not include the music that he and the Roots recorded paying homage to great Hollywood composers (which he described to Variety in an interview last week), but it’s an amazing 10-hour-plus jam nonetheless. It begins with James Brown’s “The Boss,” concludes with three songs from Prince, and hits everything from Donna Summer to the “Super Mario” theme, from Bohannon to the Human League, from Louis Prima to Toto, from Johnny Cash to Bjork, from the Fatback Band to Ronnie Laws, along the way.
Of course, in his two day jobs, Quest is both the drummer and founder of the Roots and the musical director of “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” but perhaps most of all he’s a superhuman music fan with a vast memory, and all of it comes into play in this playlist.
In an exclusive statement to Variety, Quest said:
Welp this is what entails being a musical director in a pandemic:
- The Roots had to pre record all the music cues for Oscar winners. I wanted to pay tribute to the film scores that went under the radar but hip hop wound up embracing via sampling. From Ennio Morricone to Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra to Nino Nandini, Eddie Warner, Roger Roger to Piero Umiliani to Lalo Schifrin to Bill Conti to Rudy Ray Moore to Dennis Coffey to Willie Hutch & a gazillion more.
- For presenters I wanted to reach into the bag of iconic songs that weren’t Oscar winners but still had magic in them.
- Knowing this was the first time we were together since LAST YEAR (Oscars 2020 was my last trip before lockdown) I made sure the music was livelier & exciting during commercials. If anything that was when the energy really picked up. Francis McDormand graciously requested “Brick House” by the Commodores so normally I avoid requests, but it was her night so I gladly obliged.
Having been a part of the last 5 years this is w/o NO DOUBT my fav Oscar year.
Spotify’s playlists defy copying and pasting so you’ll just have to dig in yourself, right here: