For the past three Sunday evenings, over 6.1 million viewers watched The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary series broadcast on ESPN featuring the ‘90s NBA Championship team the Chicago Bulls. The series featured the Michael Jordan era and became the highest rated documentary on the network.
The Chicago Bulls journey of achieving six NBA championships from 1991 to 1998 culminated to two three-peats with coach Phil Jackson, a historic feat that made the winning team one of NBA’s greatest dynasties.
These accomplishments were made undoubtedly because of their star player Michael Jordan, who played small forward and shooting guard, alongside of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, and a talented roster that included B.J. Armstrong, John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc and Ron Harper.
Directed by Jason Hehir, The Last Dance features an on-camera interview of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and explores his winning spirit and dedication to the game. Hehir incorporates locker room footage, basketball highlights and candid interviews of Jordan’s teammates as well as several of his on court adversaries.
But what The Last Dance also revealed was an open time capsule that reminded us Chicagoans of how proud we were of the ’90s Bulls.
One of the highlights viewers enjoyed most was how the documentary used music of that era to correlate with actual events and the story’s timeline.
The producers of the film chose a selection of early hip hop, punk rock and new wave music from the late ’80s and ‘90s to add to the music scoring. Songs like Hip Hop Hooray (Naughty by Nature), I Got It Made (Special Ed) and Partyman (Prince) are now credited on the film’s official soundtrack.
Sirius (The Alan Parsons Project) is another song that’s an integral part of the documentary. Before each home game at the Chicago Stadium and United Center, Sirius was played as the music introduction for the Chicago Bulls entrance on the basketball court.
Hehir used these songs in The Last Dance to emphasize how cool and trendy the Chicago Bulls became in their rise in popularity. Each music selection made a powerful statement in the film’s music-driven video montages to elevate excitement of the Bulls dominance in games against the Detroit Pistons, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers.
For the millennials watching The Last Dance, they probably found themselves bopping to music they weren’t familiar with, while enjoying clips of Michael Jordan dropping fade away jumpers and three-pointers. But for the rest of us older folks here in Chicago, these songs were part of our victory dance when we partied at the sports bar, dance clubs and backyard parties after every Michael Jordan-Chicago Bulls win.
Here are a list of songs featured in the soundtrack of the first six episodes of The Last Dance.
Been Around The World (1997)
Performed by Puff Daddy feat. The Notorious B.I.G. and Mase
SUR LE BOULEVARD DU RYTHM’FUNKY’ (1993)
Performed by Song E Mc
I Ain’t No Joke (1987)
Performed by Eric B. Rakim
Performed by the The Alan Parsons Project
Theme From the Planets (1976)
Performed by Dexter Wansel
Hip Hop Hooray (1992)
Performed by Naughty By Nature
I Got It Made (1989)
Performed by Special Ed
I’m Bad (1987)
Performed by LL Cool J
Can I Kick It (1990)
Performed by A Tribe Called Quest
Performed by Prince
The Maestro (1992)
Performed by Beastie Boys
Rosa Parks (1998)
Performed by OutKast
If I Ruled The World (Imagine That) (1996)
Performed by Nas Feat. Lauryn Hill
The Choice Is Yours (1991)
Performed by Black Sheep
Still Not A Player (1998)
Performed by Big Pun Feat. Joe
I Feel Free (1967)
Performed by Cream
How Ya Like Me Now (1987)
Performed by Kool Moe Dee
About the Author: Don Howze is an Emmy Award Winning Film/Tape Editor and Associate Professor of Journalism and Television Production. Don is the producer and director of the upcoming film documentary The Production Crew, funded in part by The Field Foundation of Illinois. imdb.me/dondvideo
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