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Every Song On the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Soundtracks, Ranked

From “Brandy” to Bowie, from Redbone to the Replacements

A Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep in 1980 and woke up in 2014 might’ve been surprised to find that America’s 14-year-olds were still somehow digging super hits of the Seventies like “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” and “Come and Get Your Love.” That summer, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 became the first soundtrack album of previously released songs to make it to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, thanks to the movie’s at times funny, at times poignant, always lovingly revenant use of pop, rock, and soul classics from the glory days of AM radio gold. The Awesome Mixtape went from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” to David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The second Guardians soundtrack, from 2017, was just as good, highlighted by Fleetwood Mac, Glen Campbell, Looking Glass, and one of soul great Sam Cooke’s finest ballads. 

In the third Guardians movie, our hero Star-Lord comes upon a Microsoft Zune player, an artifact from the early 21st century that allows for a more historically diverse soundtrack. As Guardians director James Gunn recently told Rolling Stone, describing the new film, “It doesn’t start with ‘Come and Get Your Love.’ It starts with Radiohead’s acoustic version of ‘Creep.’ And that’s just a much different tone from the beginning than the other two films.” 

To celebrate all the great music in these movies, we’ve come up with our definitive ranking of every song on the three Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks. The criteria was simple: If the song is insanely awesome, it goes high on the list; if it’s only very awesome, it goes a little lower, with the bottom of the list filled out by songs of moderate to low-level awesomeness. As the ever-wise Drax once said, “There are two types of beings in the universe: those who dance, and those who do not.”

Hear this playlist on Spotify.

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