James Gunn introduced the out-of-this-world Guardians of the Galaxy franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by using something almost everyone can understand and relate to in some way. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 featured a number of classic hits from the ’70s and ’80s as curated by Peter Quill’s mother before he became Star-Lord.
Quill shared his love of Earth music with his entire crew, and each new film came with an exciting new playlist for the Guardians of the Galaxy to enjoy. James Gunn not only selected songs for his beloved MCU trilogy, but he also cultivated a few of his own playlists on Spotify that have received quite a few likes and followers to provide a definitive ranking from fans.
6 Old 97s And Rhett Miller Awesome Mix
James Gunn and lead singer Rhett Miller first met after the director used the Old 97’s “The New Kid” during the end credits for the underrated sci-fi horror hit Slither. The Old 97’s then appeared as an alien band in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Knowhere, where they debuted the original song “I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here).”
They also performed “Here It Is Christmastime” with Kevin Bacon in the Holiday Special‘s heartwarming finale. In one subtle detail from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, Rhett Miller reprised his role as the alien band leader during a poker game on Knowhere with a few other iconic Guardians characters. James Gunn’s playlist features a mix of songs from the Old 97s including “Timebomb,” which he listened to on set during the filming of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
5 Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Awesome Mix
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Fans fell in love with a few funny characters in 2022’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. It served as an important but light-hearted addition to the MCU’s GotG franchise. Fans learned that Star-Lord and Mantis were actually half-siblings, which drove Mantis and Drax to bring some joy to Peter Quill’s Christmas after the loss of Gamora.
Like any sensible friend, they decided to head to Earth and kidnap movie star Kevin Bacon as a gift for the Guardians’ leader. While their plan didn’t go off without a hitch, they were successful in bringing Kevin Bacon to Knowhere, who joined the Old 97’s for a fun rendition of “Here it is Christmastime.” Both Old 97 songs from the Holiday Special appear in Gunn’s official playlist, along with a few other seasonal hits like Hanoi Rock’s “Dead By X-Mas” or Fountains of Wayne’s “I Want An Alien For Christmas.”
4 Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix 2.1
The Guardians of the Galaxy appeared in their own MCU trilogy as well as the Disney+ Holiday Special, though the cosmic team played a larger role in “The Infinity Saga” as well. They also appeared in films like 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame before a small cameo in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder.
Both James Gunn and Joe and Anthony Russo revealed in interviews that a list of songs had been provided for the Guardians’ appearances outside of their own franchise. Gunn eventually turned that list into its own playlist that joined the official Awesome Mix releases from both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. “The Rubberband Man” from The Spinners played during the Guardians’ debut in Avengers: Infinity War. However, the vibe might have been a bit different with Aerosmith’s “Draw the Line” or the cut “New York Groove” by Ace Frehley.
3 Awesome Mix Vol. 0
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Given the first Guardians of the Galaxy‘s narrative use of music, it makes sense that James Gunn would have had his own personal playlist during filming. He shared his own version of the Awesome Mix on Spotify that gave fans a unique look into the director’s mindset on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1.
James Gunn revealed he made the Awesome Mix Vol. 0 specifically for filming. However, fans also learned that this mix “played all the time while we were shooting the bar scene in the Boot of Jemiah on Knowhere.” Hits like Andrew W.K.’s “Party Hard” and playlist favorites the Old 97’s “Timebomb” would have kept the energy high during filming. Awesome Mix Vol. 0 also featured a few underrated hits like My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers” and “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats for music lovers looking to expand their own playlist.
2 Meredith Quill’s Complete Awesome Mix
Music was one of the best parts of Star-Lord’s childhood in the MCU. His mother Meredith Quill helped instill a love of music in her son that stayed with him long after her death and his abduction to the stars. She made a few tapes for her son that survived in space for a time, though he was eventually able to expand his collection with digital music players from Earth.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, James Gunn released a master list of songs that he called Meredith Quill’s Complete Awesome Mix. It featured music he considered for Awesome MixVol. 1 and Vol. 2 from the first two Guardians films, and even some songs that appeared in the Holiday Special and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
1 Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Official Mixtape
The first two films in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise released Awesome Mix soundtracks with the classic songs included in the movies. While Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 has yet to receive an official Awesome Mix release, fans with Spotify can enjoy songs from the trilogy’s finale as well as other releases in the franchise.
Spotify and Marvel released a massive collection of music from all three Guardians of the Galaxy movies as well as the Holiday Special. The master playlist is called Guardians of the Galaxy: The Official Mixtape and is the best Guardians of the Galaxy resource for fans looking to inject the adventures of Marvel’s cosmic heroes into their daily lives. The Official Mixtape even includes the iconic scores from each feature film as well as the classic songs that helped ground the sci-fi series over the years.
NEXT: Every Member Of The MCU Guardians Of The Galaxy & Their Comic Debut, Explained
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