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SoundTRAX: "The Big Chill" turns 40

The cast of "The Big Chill" is clustered around wicker chairs.
Motown Records
Columbia Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Baby Boomers will either be delighted or mortified to hear that The Big Chill turns 40 this week.

The movie is a classic and the soundtrack is legendary.

College friends reunite 15 years after graduation for the funeral of a friend who has stunned them by taking his own life. While dealing with their grief they are also facing unresolved issues within the group.

It's a great cast: Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum. And partially, Kevin Costner, whose scenes were famously cut out so you only see glimpses of his body. Director Lawrence Kasdan promised to make it up to Costner and he did two years later with a breakthrough role in 1985's Silverado.

But the true star is the music.

While I'm still annoyed the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" isn't included on the soundtrack— it's just used so well in the film— there are plenty of other gems from the 60s and 70s from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Procol Harum, The Four Tops, Three Dog Night, and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.

There was so much quality music in fact that a second compilation, More Songs from The Big Chill, was released a year later, with songs from The Spencer Davis Group, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Percy Sledge and The Beach Boys.

But if you've seen the movie the most memorable scene is probably when the friends are dancing together while cleaning up the kitchen. In fact, the cast sported small earbuds so they could actually listen to the Motown classic to coordinate their moves. It's a perfect, carefree moment with the perfect, carefree song.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of The Big Chill, today's SoundTRAX selection is The Temptations with "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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