The Dude and Man of Constant Sorrow

Writing for the Huffington Post, T Bone Burnett detailed the story behind one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time from one of my favorite movies of all time, and how the flagship song almost ended up in a different all time favorite movie.

I had given them "Man Of Constant Sorrow" for The Dude in The Big Lebowski. The song didn't end up in that movie, but it did become exactly the right song for the epic hero, Ulysses Everett McGill.

It's really one of those weird alternate reality scenarios. I absolutely can't imagine that song in The Big Lebowski. I can't image that song in any other film except O Brother, Where Art Thou? It would be like Boba Fett appearing in Raiders of the Lost Ark instead of The Empire Strikes Back.

That is some mighty fine a-pickin' and a-singin'. Happy 10th Anniversary to a cinematic masterpiece.

  • Dan Ferguson

    Always disliked the movie but loved the soundtrack I believe Union Station did the actual song recording.

  • watchdog_prime

    My girlfriend just introduced me to O brother about two months ago, I already have the soundtrack. I really like the part with the sirens.
    I caught the big Lebowski for the first time aroundthis same timeframe and I don’t think this song would have fit.

  • D_C_Wilson

    After you’ve watched this video, you’ll never be able to listen to that song the same way again.

    Feeling evil today. ;-)

  • D_C_Wilson

    “It would be like Boba Fett appearing in Raiders of the Lost Ark instead of The Empire Strikes Back.”

    And a light bulb just lit up above the head of George Lucas.

  • Chris Oxley

    Yay! I didn’t know (or had forgotten), but not surprised you’re a fan of the Coens, Bob. Techincally, the 10th anniversary was back in December, which is mindblowing, which means “The Man Who Wasn’t There” is ten years old this fall, which is unbelievable.

    Love that T Bone hired a musicologist for the soundtrack and propelled nearly-forgotten music back into the mainstream.

    Also, Bob Dylan did a pretty good version of “Man Of Constant Sorrow” on his very first album, which reminds me their next film is going to take place in the 50s/60s Greenwich Village folk scene, centering on Dave Van Ronk. Can’t wait.

    • hanadora44

      Dave Van Ronk? That’s going to be brilliant!

  • mrbrink

    Well it was a powerful air.

  • OsborneInk

    I love when old music gets a new hearing. There are about sixty bands playing similar music within an hour’s drive of where I’m sitting, which is why I’m a musical locavore. Folk is punk.

  • andrewdski

    I always liked Sarah Gunnings version

    But then, I am a pro-union commie.

  • muselet

    When I told my brother I’d seen O Brother, Where Art Thou?, he asked what I thought of it. I told him I thought the movie was a bit of a mess—but a glorious mess—and that the soundtrack was simply amazing. Hard to believe that was ten years ago.

    (Dammit, now I’m going to have to buy a copy of the movie.)


  • gescove

    Terrific films, both. Just watched OBWAT? for the umpteenth time this week and enjoyed every moment again.

  • CBloom

    If you ever get a chance to see Ralph Stanley sing it…. goose bumps!

  • MrDHalen

    Two of my favorite films as well. The Dude abides!!!