Following the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack’s chart-topping breakout success last year, the album finally came out on cassette, the format it was on as a prop in the movie, toward the end of the year. Released as a special edition for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, Wondering Sound reports that 2,300 copies of the album in its mostly defunct, recently fetishized format sold. It was the second-best-selling cassette of the year.
In the movie, the soundtrack – or, Awesome Mix Vol. 1, as it’s officially known – is a mixtape that the mother of protagonist Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) made, connecting him to his former life on earth before he was abducted by aliens in the late Eighties. Accordingly, the album is an eclectic mixtape of old-school jams – including Blue Swede’s gem “Hooked on a Feeling” and Redbone’s funky anthem “Come and Get Your Love” – that blast nostalgically throughout the film. Last July, Hollywood Records released the compilation as an official soundtrack, which ranked as the Number Five best-selling album of the year at 898,000 copies; it was the first soundtrack to top the charts without a single original song.
Compared to the 1,000 copies sold of Skrillex’s Recess, which got a cassette release limited to 3,000 copies for Record Store Day last year, and 1,000 copies of Green Day’s Demolicious, the edition of which is undisclosed, the Guardians release seems like a runaway success.
But it might have sold even more copies than reported. Wondering Sound spoke to Tricia Hedgpeth from National Audio Company, which made the Guardians tape, who told him that 11,500 copies were made last year – the company’s biggest 2014 order – and “almost 5,000 are in production now with additional reorders expected.” Although it seems difficult to account for cassettes through nontraditional means (online, for instance), a Nielsen rep told Wondering Sound that the company was confident with the number reported.
Incidentally, deceased traditional Mexican music singer and actor Cuco Sánchez’s Tu Solo Tu was 2014’s top-selling cassette, with 2,600 units tracked.
In related Guardians news, director James Gunn spoke to Rolling Stone in September about the joy of assembling the retro-themed soundtrack – and shining a light on some sadly forgotten classics. “I think most of the songs, although slight hits, never truly had their day in the sun,” Gunn said. “That time is now. I also think people are hungry for good, old-fashioned, well-crafted pop songs that exist outside of any sort of imposed hipness or irony…. I’ve spent my whole life compulsively collecting music and making all sorts of mixes for my siblings and friends and girlfriends. I feel like this soundtrack was an opportunity to make a mix CD for the whole world.”