There’s nothing unique about musicians contributing songs to movie
soundtracks, but India.Arie, Train and other artists are being asked to watch
screenings of the upcoming Vietnam war film “We Were Soldiers” before
submitting their tracks, a practice usually reserved for score composers.
“There’s just something creatively fulfilling about watching a movie and
writing a song for it because it helps you put on another pair of shoes,”
said Arie, who wrote the acoustic ballad “Good Man” for the movie.
The song tells the story of a family man who gets shipped off to battle
and he and his wife have to face the possibility he might not be coming
“It’s about something I’ve never been through,” Arie said. “This woman and
her husband got married really young and had a baby and made the pact,
‘Whatever happens, meet me in heaven.’ ”
Train wrote the title track for “We Were Soldiers,” and are currently
working on it in the studio. Five for Fighting’s song is not yet finished or
Another highlight on the disc, which comes out February 26, is a
collaboration between Dave Matthews and Johnny Cash called “For You” (see “Dave Matthews Collaborates With Cash For Mel Gibson Movie” ). Since the song was written by Steve Rosen and country singer Paul Brandt, neither Cash nor Matthews was asked to catch a movie screening.
Soundtrack co-producer Ken Levitan invited the two to work together, and
since they shared a mutual respect for one another’s work, both were happy to
accept the offer. However, Cash and Matthews recorded their parts in
different locations. Cash laid down guitar and vocals at his plantation
studio in the Caribbean and then sent the tape to Matthews. Cash’s manager
has described the track as a dark alternative/country song.
The “We Were Soldiers” soundtrack will also feature a duet between Michael
McDonald (Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan) and Jamie O’Neal called “Not So
Distant Day”; a cut by Mary Chapin Carpenter called “My Dear Old Friend,”
which was written by Patty Griffin; and a tune by Christian rock band Jars
“We Were Soldiers,” which hits theaters March 1, was directed by
Randall Wallace (“The Man in the Iron Mask”). It stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Col.
Hal Moore, who sends his soldiers in to fight the first major battle of the
Vietnam War. The conflict took place on November 14, 1965, in the Ia Drang Valley,
a village the French unsuccessfully tried to capture years before. The U.S.
Army anticipated a quick search-and-destroy mission but wound up entrenched
in a prolonged and bloody jungle battle that cost many lives.
The movie also stars Madeleine Stowe, Sam Elliott and Greg Kinnear, and is
based on the book “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young” by Lt. Gen. Harold G.
Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.