Originally released on Island Records in September 1998, the soundtrack to the box-office smash film, written and directed by Guy Ritchie, quickly became a must-own album, and is frequently cited as one of the best movie soundtracks of all time.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels redefined the British gangster film and established Guy Ritchie as one of the greatest directing and writing talents of his generation. Using a frenetic mixture of filmic styles, humour, violence, breakdown of the fourth wall, narration, and vast amounts of swearing, it is hard to imagine a time when this film and its influence was not around. It made a star of the-then unknown Jason Statham, and, amazingly, hard man footballer Vinnie Jones, who as Big Chris, had several scene-stealing moments. Taking his cue from Quentin Tarantino, who had been meticulously curating his film soundtracks since the early 90s, Ritchie made the music to his film tell its own story, complete with memorable snatches of dialogue between many of the tracks. It offers a beautifully eclectic selection of songs from the preceding three decades, plus then-current artists providing some of their best material, such as Hundred Mile High City by Ocean Colour Scene or E-Z Rollers' drum'n'bass masterpiece Walk This Land. Of the heritage tracks, Dusty Springfield sings her sultry take on Spooky; James Brown appears twice with The Boss and The Payback; The Stooges with I Wanna Be Your Dog, and two versions of Pete Wingfield's masterful one-hit-wonder 18 With A Bullet; in its 1975 original and a contemporary cover by Lewis Taylor and Carleen Anderson. And this is only half of it.
For lovers of soundtrack albums that create their own unmistakable universe, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a must-have.