Guardians of the Galaxy is keeping their Awesome Mix Volume 2 just as fun and classic as the first. Get down to these hip tunes while learning about the history behind the songs. It’s sure to make your moviegoing experience that much more enjoyable when the film hits theaters this Friday.
ELO — “Mr. Blue Sky”
This uplifting tune has a pretty straightforward meaning. Group lead Jeff Lynne told the BBC radio he came up with the song while locking himself in a Swiss chalet to write ELO’s sophomore album. “It was dark and misty for two weeks, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ and 13 other songs in the next two weeks.”
Sweet — “Fox on the Run”
“Fox on the Run” is the first song that was actually written by Sweet rather than their producers. It was released in 1974 and reached No. 5 on the U.S. charts. According to Songfacts, it’s basically about a groupie that’s trying too hard despite the fact the band doesn’t really have any interest in her at all.
Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah — “Lake Shore Drive”
Skip Haynes, who wrote the hit, explained it was conceived when when he was staying on Melrose and Lake Shore Drive for the weekend with his parents. He continued that inspiration struck when he was out with his manager, Arthur Belkind. “We drove north on Lake Shore Drive. It was now early morning and it had been snowing all night and the Drive hadn’t been plowed yet. We were just about the only car on the road. Arthur was supposed to exit at Belmont but he totally missed the exit. When I informed him of this fact, he slammed on the brakes. We spun out three times and luckily, ended up facing in the proper direction and continued on our way.” Haynes continued on recounting that night and said, “One thought led to another and by the time I went to sleep I had written a song.”
Fleetwood Mac — “The Chain”
“The Chain” is a meaningful song for Fleetwood Mac. In fact, The Jeweler Blog reports they always start concerts by singing this tune, which represents the band’s resilience despite so many obstacles throughout the decades. Not only is this song the only one on their 1977 Rumours album to be credited to all five members of the band, but it is also a unique song in that it was spliced together from a mixed bag of previously rejected material the band had come up with.
Sam Cooke — “Bring It on Home to Me”
Sam Cooke was known as Mr. Soul, and this song of classic heartbreak is considered one of his best. About recording the song, according to the 2005 book Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, engineer Al Schmitt said, “It was a very happy session. Everybody was just having a ball. We were getting people out there [on the floor], and some of the outtakes were hilarious, there was so much ad lib that went on.”
Glen Campbell — “Southern Nights”
“Southern Nights” was written by Allen Toussaint, but Glen Campbell recorded it in 1977. According to Songfacts, the song hit close to home for Campbell, who said it reminded him of his childhood in Arkansas. “My dad told me when I was a kid, ‘You’re having the best time of your life, and you don’t even know it.’ Sure enough, he was right. Now I really feel the need to go back home, float down the Missouri River, and fish for bass and crappies. It’s real peaceful, and remote from things like telephones. My head is still there.”
George Harrison — “My Sweet Lord”
“I remember Eric [Clapton] and Delaney & Bonnie were doing interviews with somebody in either Copenhagen or Gothenburg, somewhere in Sweden and I was so thrilled with ‘Oh Happy Day’ by The Edwin Hawkins Singers,” Harrison said of his inspiration for the song. “It really just knocked me out, the idea of that song and I just felt a great feeling of the Lord. So I thought, ‘I’ll write another ‘Oh Happy Day,’ which became ‘My Sweet Lord.'” The song was Harrison’s debut single and is considered his signature song.
Looking Glass — “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl”
Despite many an urban legends surrounding this song, songwriter Elliot Lurie set the record straight about the song’s meaning in an interview with Bart Herbison. “Brandy is a made-up individual,” Lurie revealed. “The name was derived from a high school girlfriend I had whose name was Randy with an R. Usually when I write — I still do it the same way I did back then — I strum some guitar and kind of sing along with the first things that come to mind. Her name came up. Then I started writing the rest of the song, and it was about a barmaid. I thought Randy was an unusual name for a girl, it could go either way, and (the song was about) a barmaid, so I changed it to Brandy.”
Jay and the Americans — “Come a Little Bit Closer”
Kenny Vance told Songfacts the inspiration for “Come a Little Bit Closer” was a last-minute thing. “‘Come A Little Bit Closer’ was recorded in the last probably five minutes of a session where we were trying to record something else that we spent the whole session on. In those days, a session ran three hours, I think the musicians got $65 for a three hour session. They didn’t want to go overtime, and they had recorded this one song and they needed a flip side, and they just said, Okay, boom, let’s do it. And we recorded it, and that’s it. There it is. It just captured that,” Vance explained. It was the group’s biggest hit.
Silver — “Wham Bang Shang-a-Lang”
Country singer Rick Giles wrote the hit song “Wham Bang Shang-a-Lang” in 1976. It was the only charting song for Silver.
Cheap Trick — “Surrender”
Though “Surrender” wasn’t a huge chart-topping hit — it only reached No. 62 on the charts — it continues to live on in infamy. In Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 songs issue, songwriter Rick Nielsen said when he wrote it he had to “go back and put myself in the head of a 14-year-old.” The song is about a young kid who thinks his parents are too uptight, until he catches them smoking weed and listening to Kiss, that is.
Yusuf/Cat Stevens — “Father and Son”
The song is about a son who wants to join the Russian revolution, while his father wants him to stick to his traditional roots of working on the family farm. Stevens said in a 2009 interview on The Chris Isaak Hour that the song was influenced by his own relationship with his father. “He was running a restaurant and I was a pop star, so I wasn’t following the path that he laid out. But we certainly didn’t have any antagonism between us. I loved him and he loved me.”
Parliament — “Flashlight”
This song was so popular for Parliament that fans began bringing flashlights to the group’s concerts. Eventually, Parliament even sold their own brand of flashlights at their shows. The song is all about that funk and helped to shape the genre in the ’70s and beyond.
The Sneepers featuring David Hasselhoff — “Guardians Inferno”
This is the only original song on the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2 soundtrack, and it’s pretty awesome thanks to David Hasselhoff’s contribution. While the song is clearly a nod to those classic ’70s and ’80s tunes, Hasselhoff comes in around the 1:30 mark to rap, yes rap, about all those Guardians’ shenanigans.