If remaking the cult sixties movie Alfie was ambitious, replacing the original Sonny Rollins’ soundtrack was doubly so. Neither Mick Jagger nor Dave Stewart had anything to prove in terms of musical ability or achievement, and they did have some previous as a creative team, having shared production and songwriting duties on 1987’s Primitive Cool. All the same, it was a bit of an ask.
The result was a triumph, albeit a mitigated one. If the harsher critics pointed out a lack of adventurousness or innovation, the more realistic ones praised a record that fitted the required bill for a mainstream Hollywood movie to perfection.
The big tune on the record is Old Habits Die Hard, a Jagger-Stewart composition, performed by Mick which won the 2005 Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Blind Leading The Blind also attracted attention and praise, while Lonely Without You (This Christmas), featuring Joss Stone, and Let’s Make It Up, are also strong tracks.
Of further particular interest is Wicked Time, a fusion of Mick and Dave Stewart songwriting with Bert Bacharach and Hal David, through the insertion of the famous refrain from the original movie (which wasn’t included on the original Sonny Rollins soundtrack) “What’s it all about?”. Jamaican MC Nadirah ‘Nadz’ Seid also gets a co-writing credit, to go with the performance credit she shares with Joss Stone.