The official Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is set to be released on Jan. 28.
Filmmaker, director and producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson announced the news Thursday alongside documentary producers David Dinerstein, Robert Fyvolent and Joseph Patel as well as New York Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment and Mass Distraction Media.
The official soundtrack comes exactly one year after the Jan. 28, 2021, release of the captivating documentary. Now streaming on Hulu, the film features never-before-seen footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, whose legacy has been overshadowed by that same year’s Woodstock festival.
With each track selected by Questlove, the Summer of Soul soundtrack’s digital version includes 17 live renditions of jazz, blues, R&B, Latin and soul classics recorded during the historic event. The project’s lead track, “Sing a Simple Song” performed by Sly & The Family Stone, was released Thursday (listen below).
The soundtrack also features performances by Nina Simone, Gladys Knight & The Pips, B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples, The Operation Breadbasket Orchestra & Choir and more artists.
Questlove said of the album, “It goes beyond saying that you can’t have a monster music journey on film without an equally awesome soundtrack … These performances are lightning in a bottle. Pure artistry.”
Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein from Mass Distraction Media said in a statement, “We are thrilled to be partnering with [New York] Legacy [Recordings] to share some of the incredible audio recordings … The gospel, blues, R&B, soul, Latin and jazz classics on this record have stood the test of time. We hope these live performances from these legendary artists, captured at a key moment during our country’s ongoing struggle for civil rights equality, can bring joy to everyone like it did to the Harlem community over 50 years ago.”
The Summer of Soul documentary premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The film earned six top honors at the Critics Choice Awards as well — including best documentary feature, best director, best first documentary feature, best editing, best archival documentary and best music documentary. Additionally, it won the best documentary award from the National Board of Review.
The soundtrack is available for pre-order in digital and CD formats. A vinyl LP will be released next year.
See the CD track list below: (The digital version includes one additional track: “Africa” by Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach.)
The Chambers Brothers – “Uptown”
B.B. King – “Why I Sing The Blues”
The 5th Dimension – “Don’t Cha Hear Me Callin’ To Ya”
The 5th Dimension – “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)”
David Ruffin – “My Girl”
The Edwin Hawkins Singers – “Oh Happy Day”
The Staple Singers – “It’s Been A Change”
The Operation Breadbasket Orchestra & Choir Featuring Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples – “Precious Lord Take My Hand”
Gladys Knight & The Pips – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Mongo Santamaria – “Watermelon Man”
Ray Barretto – “Together”
Herbie Mann- “Hold On, I’m Comin’”
Sly & The Family Stone – “Sing a Simple Song”
Sly & The Family Stone – “Everyday People”
Nina Simone – “Backlash Blues”
Nina Simone – “Are You Ready”