Soundtracks I Have Loved: Leap of Faith

Soundtrack: Leap of Faith
Year Released: 1992
I Bought It On: CD
How Does It Hold Up?: Some tracks better than others. Meat Loaf's Meat Loaf.

1. Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat--Don Henley
2. Ready For A Miracle--Patti Labelle
3. Change In My Life--John Pagano
4. Stones Throw From Hurtin'--Wynonna
5. King Of Sin Medley (Lord Will Make A Way (Somehow)/God Said He Would See You Through/God Will Take Care of You/Psalm 27--Angels Of Mercy
6. Pass Me Not--Lyle Lovett and George Duke
7. Rain Celebration (Jesus On The Mainline/Ready For A Miracle/It's A Highway To Heaven) --Angels Of Mercy
8. Blessed Assurance--Albertina Walker
9. Paradise By The Dashboard Light--Meat Loaf

I'm a little upset with myself for not considering the soundtrack to Leap of Faith when I first set out to chronicle the Soundtracks I Have Loved. This egregious oversight on my part is, as far as I can tell, due to three main reasons:

1. I bought it on CD, and the majority of the Soundtracks I Have Loved are on cassette. The only previous CD entry in the SIHL canon was Pretty Woman, which popped back into my brain (a) because it was one of the first CDs I remember buying and (b) I'd just heard "King of Wishful Thinking" on the radio, which leads me to...

2. The majority of the songs on the Leap of Faith soundtrack will not be popping up on radio stations I listen to on a regular basis. The one glaring exception, of course, being "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," whose inclusion only barely makes sense if you know that Meat Loaf was in the movie. I can only imagine there was one day when he was on set, and the conversation went like this:

Meat: I'm not going to the set today until you guys get me more money.

Meat's Agent: Well, there's just no more money to be had. There's got to be another way to get you on set.

Meat: Well, man, you could put one of my songs on the soundtrack.

Meat's Agent: Oh, great, perfect. So Steinman's written a new song that fits the gospel theme of the soundtrack? Wow. Awesome. A new Steinman/Meat Loaf track! They'll love it.

Meat: No, man. Not a new one--one of the classics. "Paradise," brother.

Meat's Agent: Oh, you mean a new version?

Meat: No, the original.

Meat's Agent: Really? The original recording? On a gospel soundtrack?

Meat: Amen, brother. Me and Jesus. Make it happen.

OK, maybe it didn't happen that way. But there's really no reason for "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" on the soundtrack.

3. The "L"s are on the bottom row of my CD storage unit. I know, it's a lame excuse, but, sadly, I think it's pretty valid.

Whatever the reasons, here we are, mainly because I heard Ollabelle do their slow version of "Jesus on the Mainline" a few weeks ago and was instantly reminded of the Angels of Mercy's far superior version on the soundtrack. And soon after that I started thinking about the movie, showcasing "serious Steve Martin" as a fraudulent tent revivalist (or is he?) and with a killer performance by Lukas Haas, now best known for being a friend of Leonardo DiCaprio, if he's known at all, which is too bad. And that led to recalling that I proudly displayed the poster to the movie in my college dorm room. I really knew how to impress the ladies, no? I like to think I've lost none of that magic. It was a cool-looking poster, OK? Or at least cooler than the With Honors one that hung near it (didn't have that soundtrack, though I liked the Madonna song just fine).

I don't think I'd been exposed to much gospel music prior to seeing Leap of Faith (some Contemporary Christian music, but calling that gospel seems wrong), and what little I had heard was courtesy of my dad and the very white variety he enjoyed (the Oak Ridge Boys and the Statler Brothers, both of whom were, in retrospect, practically black compared to the Gaithers, whom I was introduced to later in life via my Episcopalian dad's curious latent desire to be a white Southern Baptist). So imagine my surprise when this young Staten Island boy discovered that gospel music could, well, not suck. To wit, Patti LaBelle's "Ready for a Miracle" (with Edwin Hawkins):

And that was topped by the aforementioned Angels of Mercy, whose "King of Sin Medley" is just fine (you can hear it in the background of this scene), but whose "Rain Celebration Medley" kicks some righteous ass.

My love of the soundtrack is pretty much predicated on Patti LaBelle and the Angels of Mercy, but a few of the other tracks are decent, too. My hatred of Don Henley takes a backseat to no one, but I'll admit to liking his version of "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" at the time. Listening now, I'm a little less enthused about it, but such is the case with everything Don Henley does, no?

"Stones Throw From Hurtin'," however, doesn't break my string of not liking one song Wynonna has sung, and, while I'm at it, the lack of an apostrophe in "Stones" bothers me (but that falls on Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who wrote it). "Blessed Assurance" and "Pass Me Not" fare a little better, though I think I skipped over them more often than not. And John Pagano's "Change In My Life" toes the line between overwrought and powerful, ultimately leaning more toward the latter.

He's no Hanson, but who is?

There are better Steve Martin movies (My Blue Heaven 4 Life!), a better book about religious charlatans (The Faith Healers, by James Randi, who takes issue with what he perceives to be the movie's liberal, uncredited use of his material), and better examples of gospel music around than on the Leap of Faith soundtrack, but in terms of that final point, I don't know that I would've known that if I hadn't heard the songs on the soundtrack in the first place.

So, praise the Lord for that.

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