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16 Years Ago: ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ Soundtrack Goes Gold

O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack
Lost Highway / Mercury

Sixteen years ago today (Feb. 9, 2001), the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? earned gold certification, for sales of 500,000 units. The album, which was produced by T Bone Burnett, includes songs by Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, the Fairfield Four and others.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on the story of three men who escaped from a chain gang while imprisoned during the Great Depression in 1937, and music is prominently featured, and plays an important role, throughout the movie. The blockbuster film, which was released in 2000, boasts an all-star cast, including George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter and John Turturro; its 19-song soundtrack, filled with bluegrass, country, gospel and folk tunes, was released in the United States two weeks before the movie hit theaters.

The Soggy Bottom Boys, the musical group formed by the main characters in the movie, sing several songs on the soundtrack and in the film. Named after the Foggy Mountain Boys, the bluegrass band created by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, their sound comes from Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen and Pat Enright, and the actors lip-synced their parts for most of the film.

One song from O Brother, Where Art Thou?, “Man of Constant Sorrow,” appears in various forms five different times throughout the film. The song also landed in the Top 40 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 2002.

By October of 2007, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack had sold more than 8 million copies; it also won numerous awards, including a Grammy for Album of the Year and two CMA Awards, for Album of the Year and Album of the Year (Production). The O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack is available for download via iTunes.

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