Forrest Gump is one of the most important films of the 90s, with an influence that has resonated in much subsequent cinema, featuring a universally appealing sense of humor, a well-crafted script, masterful direction, and music that fits perfectly throughout its 142-minute runtime. Because the Forrest Gump soundtrack is one of the most significant in the history of modern cinema, encompassing both Alan Silvestri’s compositions created expressly for the film and songs selected from major names spanning from 1950s music up to 1980, as we’ll explore in the following lines.
In fact, if the Forrest Gump soundtrack is remembered for one thing, it’s for how incredible it is, seriously. If you haven’t seen this fantastic movie, which remains technically unmatched even in 2020, now’s the time. Tom Hanks delivers one of the standout performances of his entire career, and that’s saying a lot. It’s true that in the 90s he wasn’t yet the person we know today, but he was still a mature man. Nevertheless, his portrayal of the endearing and naive Forrest Gump is entirely believable. And in that regard, we can’t forget his counterpart: Robin Wright. Nor can we overlook the rest of the cast, as everyone is in top form, including Robert Zemeckis himself, Alan Silvestri, screenwriter Eric Roth, and probably every other human being involved in this great work.
In the following lines, we will break down the entire music of the movie, song by song, from the standout tracks to the lesser-known ones, all while not forgetting the impressive work of Alan Silvestri.
All the Forrest Gump Songs
Let’s answer the first question we posed at the beginning of this article: How many songs are heard in the movie? Well, apart from those composed by Alan Silvestri, a total of 58 songs that, like Forrest Gump, replay and traverse almost the entirety of American history in a manner later imitated by popular and long-running TV series like The Wonder Years.
As we’ll see, or as you’ll know if you’ve seen the movie and the part dedicated to the Vietnam War, 60s music dominates most of the list, although it actually covers nearly the entire 20th century. However, due to script considerations, it was impossible to include tracks from the 90s decade, though for us, primarily followers of 90s music from 1999 onwards, this is more of a triumph than a mere temporal or script-related matter.
Thus, the other standout decade, which is also our favorite, is the one referencing 70s music, featuring prominent names from American rock. Below, we’ll demonstrate why we’re facing one of the best non-original soundtracks in the history of cinema (and also original ones).
- Lovesick Blues (1922) by Hank Williams. A song composed by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, it’s not the oldest song in the soundtrack despite what you might think.
- Hound Dog (1952) by Elvis Presley. In one of the funniest scenes in the first half of the movie, the appearance of Elvis Presley and the explanation of the origin of his famous dance, the song composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller appears for a few brief seconds of screen time, yet it’s memorable.
- Rebel-‘Rouser (1958) by Duane Eddy. Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood’s song is another great and unforgettable track from the 50s blues rock.
- (I Don’t Know Why) But I Do (1961) by Clarence “Frogman” Henry. It’s impossible to talk about the Forrest Gump songs without delving into spoilers, something we’ve already touched upon with the Elvis topic, so we won’t say much about each track. Here we move into the 60s with a touch of soul and the relatively unfamiliar Clarence “Frogman” Henry for Spanish-speaking audiences.
- Walk Right In (1963) by The Rooftop Singers. Composed by Hosea Woods, Gus Cannon, Bill Svanoe, and Erik Darling, we have another one of those US hits that didn’t really catch attention here during the movie’s screening. In other words, this is not the focal point, to put it plainly.
- Sugar Shack (1963) by Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs. According to Wikipedia, Sugar Shack is a song written in 1962 by Keith McCormack and also credited to Faye Voss, the composer’s aunt. McCormack gave her partial credit for the composition after asking what “those tight pants girls wear” are called, to which she replied “leotards.” The song was recorded in 1963 by Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico.
- Paramount Newsreel Music (1930). Composed by Alessyro Cicognini, Sammy Fain, Jay Gorney, E.Y. Harburg, Elsie Janis, Irving Kahal, and Jack King.
- Camelot (1960), composed by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
- Let’s Work Together (1970) by Canned Heat and composed by Wilbert Harrison
- Pomp and Circumstance (1901) by Dresdner Philharmonie, composed by Edward Elgar and conducted by Herbert Kegel
- Hanky Panky (1963) by Tommy James & The Shondells, composed by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich
- Blowin’ In The Wind (1962), composed by Bob Dylan
- Ly Of 1000 Dances (1962), by Wilson Pickett and composed by Chris Kenner
- Fortunate Son (1969), by Creedence Clearwater Revival and composed by John Fogerty, this is one of the best-sounding songs among all that appear in the Forrest Gump soundtrack.
- I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) (1965), by The Four Tops and composed by Eddie Holly, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holly
- Respect (1967), by Aretha Franklin, written and composed by Otis Redding
- Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (1966), by Bob Dylan
- Sloop John B (1966), by The Beach Boys and composed by Brian Wilson
- All Along The Watchtower (1967), by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, composed by Bob Dylan
- Soul Kitchen (1966), by The Doors. Written and composed by Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, composed by Krieger and John Densmore (that is, The Doors)
- California Dreamin’ (1963), by The Mamas and The Papas, composed by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips
- For What It’s Worth (1967), by Buffalo Springfield and composed by Stephen Stills
- What The World Needs Now Is Love (1965), by Jackie DeShannon, with music composed by Burt Bacharach and lyrics written by Hal David
- Webster’s Boomer, composed by David Michael Frank (as David Frank)
- Hello, I Love You (1968), by The Doors, written and composed by Jim Morrison (as The Doors)
- People Are Strange (1967), by The Doors, written and composed by Jim Morrison and composed by Krieger.
- Break On Through (To The Other Side) (1966), by The Doors, written and composed by all members of the band.
- Mrs. Robinson (1967), by Simon & Garfunkel and composed by Paul Simon
- Volunteers (1969), by Jefferson Airplane, composed by Marty Balin and Paul Kantner.
- Hey Joe (1966), by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, composed by Billy Roberts
- Where Have All The Flowers Gone (1961), composed by Pete Seeger
- Let’s Get Together (1963), by The Youngbloods, composed by Chet Powers
- San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (1967), by Scott McKenzie, composed by John Phillips
- Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (1959), by The Byrds, adaptation and music composed by Pete Seeger
- Aquarius (1964-67), by The 5th Dimension (as The Fifth Dimension), with lyrics written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music composed by Galt MacDermot
- Joy To The World (1970), by Three Dog Night, composed by Hoyt Axton
- Everybody’s Talkin’ (1966), by Harry Nilsson, composed by Fred Neil
- Silent Night (1818), music composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, with arrangements by Les Brown
- Stoned Love (1970), by The Supremes, composed by Frank E. Wilson and Kenny Thomas
- Thanks For The Memory (1938), with music composed by Ralph Rainger and lyrics written by Leo Robin
- Love Her Madly (1971), by The Doors, with lyrics and composition by Krieger
- Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head (1969), by B.J. Thomas, with music composed by Burt Bacharach and lyrics once again by Hal David
- Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree (1973), by Tony Orlando & Dawn, composed by L. Russell Brown & Irwin Levine
- Jesus On The Mainline (1972), by Ry Cooder, with arrangements by Alan Silvestri and performed by Donny Gerrard
- Get Down Tonight (1975), by KC & The Sunshine Band, composed by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch
- Free Bird (1973), by Lynyrd Skynyrd, composed by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant
- Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) (1974), written and composed by Randy Newman
- My Rock, with arrangements by Paul Owens and performed by Oren Waters
- Sweet Home Alabama (1974), by Lynyrd Skynyrd, composed by Ronnie Van Zant, Edward King (as Ed King), and Gary Rossington, another of the songs with great scenes in the Forrest Gump soundtrack
- Plant My Feet On Higher Ground (1956), composed by Ruth E. David
- I’ve Got A New Home, composed by Marlena Smalls
- It Keeps You Runnin’ (1975), by The Doobie Brothers, composed by Michael McDonald
- Running On Empty (1977), written and performed by Jackson Browne
- I’ve Got To Use My Imagination (1973), by Gladys Knight & The Pips, composed by Gerry Goffin and Barry Goldberg
- Go Your Own Way (1976), by Fleetwood Mac, composed by Lindsey Buckingham
- On The Road Again (1980), written and performed by Willie Nelson
- Against The Wind (1980), by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, written and composed by Bob Seger himself
The Alan Silvestri Soundtrack for Forrest Gump
As for the part of the Forrest Gump soundtrack composed by Alan Silvestri, there’s not much more we can add. A feather drifting through the air will always lead the mind to reinterpret the movie’s main theme as a piano melody, while that feather goes from the sky down to the bench where a present-day Forrest Gump on his way to Alabama begins to recount his origins to his unknown seatmates, waiting for the bus to arrive.
This is the beginning of the movie, which we recommend again if you’re not familiar with it, even if just to rediscover a cinema that is becoming less prevalent, or to listen again to so many unique and irreplaceable hits from past decades. Meanwhile, we provide you below with the soundtrack directly sourced from YouTube, displaying the track titles.
- I’m Forrest… Forrest Gump (2:41)
- You’re No Different (1:00)
- You Can Sit Here (2:26)
- Run Forrest Run (2:14)
- Pray With Me (0:58)
- The Crimson Gump (1:08)
- They’re Sending Me to Vietnam (2:23)
- I Ran and Ran (1:43)
- I Had a Destiny (1:19)
- Washington Reunion (0:45)
- Jesus on the Main Line (2:00)
- That’s My Boat (1:16)
- I Never Thanked You (0:47)
- Jenny Returns (2:43)
- The Crusade (2:01)
- Forrest Meets Forrest (1:41)
- The Wedding Guest (1:48)
- Where Heaven Ends (1:33)
- Jenny’s Grave (1:26)
- I’ll Be Right Here (0:49)
- Suite from Forrest Gump (6:34)
(Madrid, 1987) Novelist by vocation, SEO specialist by profession. Music lover, cinephile and reading lover, but in “amateur” mode.