The American Dreamer Soundtrack

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No matter how one feels about The American Dreamer (1971), one has to admit that it has a pretty amazing soundtrack; Gene Clark, Hello People, and John Buck WIlkin all contribute songs. Each of these three artists, with the obvious exception of Gene Clark, may have faded into obscurity by now, but this record is a terrific gateway into their body of work (Hello People dressed as mimes on stage, opening for the likes of Todd Rundgren).

I remember picking up a Hello People album at a record store after first becoming obsessed with The American Dreamer and that when the owner of the shop (a guy in his sixties) rung me up he was all surprised that I knew this band. Chris Sikelianos, who performs the song Easy Rider, 1970, has been even more elusive; I can’t seem to find very much information on him. It seems Sikelianos only made this one recording.

The packaging of The American Dreamer soundtrack leans pretty heavily into Dennis Hopper’s fascination with automatic rifles. The record even comes with a one-sheet style poster for the movie featuring an image of Hopper, clad in denim, smoking a cigarette with a machine gun resting on his shoulder. The album opens as a gatefold and insides is a close-up of the heavily bearded Hopper as well as two dozen quotes taken from the film printed over this photograph. The quotes are some of the best (by best I mean most bizarre musings) and most memorable lines from the movie.

I don’t expect a lot of people today would really enjoy The American Dreamer, but the soundtrack is a terrific snapshot of the alt-country music scene of the early seventies. It’s a soundtrack worth owning if you’re a cinephile or record collector (hopefully you’re both). The American Dreamer soundtrack can be hard to find on vinyl, but digital rips are easy enough to locate online, and the film itself has been remastered on Blu-Ray which is currently available on Vinegar Syndrome’s website (order a copy of Tammy And The T-Rex while you’re at it too).