Entertainment Weekly (12/14/01, p.84) - "...These songs are like old friends...and you don't have to see the movie to enjoy it..." - Rating: B
Q (4/02, p.125) - 3 out of 5 stars - "...The right stuff..."
Original score composed by John Powell.
I AM SAM was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Compilation Album For A Motion Picture Or Television..
Personnel: Craig Nicholls, Howie Day, Jakob Dylan, Rich Robinson , Ben Harper (vocals, guitar); Michael Penn (vocals, acoustic guitar, pennywhistle, snare drum); Eddie Vedder (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, electric bass, snare drum, shaker, tambourine); Marc Anthony Thompson (vocals, 12-string guitar, harmonica, keyboards); Ashwin Sood (vocals, toy piano); Sheryl Crow (vocals, omnichord, bass guitar); Aimee Mann (vocals, sound effects); Chris Robinson, Heather Nova, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Sarah McLachlan (vocals); Rob Schnapf (guitar, sitar); Oren Bloedow (guitar, pump organ); Abe Laboriel, Jr. (guitar, keyboards, drums); Chris Feinstein (guitar, percussion); George Doering, Val McCallum, John Turnbull (guitar); Michael Lockwood (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, autoharp, zither, keyboards, synthesizer); Marc Ribot (acoustic guitar, banjo); Jay Joyce, Sean Ashby (acoustic guitar); Lorenza Ponce, Antoine Silverman (violin); Abraham Ceferino Valiente Hernández, Conway Kuo (viola); Garo Yellin, Emily Wright , Michelle Kinney (cello); Gilad Atzmon (clarinet); Ron Blake (trumpet); Chaz Jankel (piano); Eddie Harsch (keyboards, vibraphone); Greg Kurstin, Pierre Marchand, Rami Jaffee (keyboards); Norman Watt-Roy (bass guitar); Alan Bezozi (drums, percussion); Steve Gorman (drums, background vocals); Joey Waronker, Shawn Pelton, Mario Calire, Dylan Howe (drums); Tom Fills (maracas, tambourine); Leon Mobley (percussion); Forrest McDonald (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chris Ribando; Chris Feinstein; Felix Tod; Tobi Miller; Gareth Jones ; Dana Meyers; Rick "Soldier" Will; Jason Lytle; Joe Chiccarelli; Nick Cave; Niko Bolas; Paul Westerberg; Pierre Marchand; Rich Robinson ; Ryan Freeland; Trina Shoemaker; Bill Appleberry ; Jon Kaplan.
Recording information: Groovemasters, Los Angeles, CA; Home, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Sunset Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA; The Instrument, London, England; TMF Studios, New York, NY; Westside Studios, London, England; Wisseloord, Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands.
In the film I AM SAM, Sean Penn's title character is a mentally challenged, Beatles-obsessed character who lands in the middle of a custody case for his daughter. With Sam looking to the Fab Four's music for guidance, the accompanying soundtrack is wall-to-wall Lennon-McCartney. Rebuffed for the rights to the original songs, the album's organizers instead recruited an all-star array of talent to contribute Beatles covers within a three-week span. The quick turn-around time meant delightfully original interpretations of these stellar songs as opposed to by-the-numbers readings.
Among the many highlights are Ben Harper's psychedelic "Strawberry Fields Forever," a chiming Aimee Mann/Michael Penn duet on "Two Of Us" and Chocolate Genius' ethereal "Julia." Elsewhere, Eddie Vedder delivers an acoustic-driven "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" through gritted teeth, Sheryl Crow adds a nice country twang to "Mother Nature's Son," and Stereophonics' raspy take on "Don't Let Me Down" sounds like a Faces outtake.
Although The Black Crowes offer up a stark arrangement of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," Grandaddy's chugging alt-rock version of "Revolution" and Nick Cave's melancholy crooning of "Let It Be" make I AM SAM worth the price of admission.