Because rock and roll is such an important element of the story, it's only fitting that the soundtrack of Almost Famous is filled with songs from the era. Over 50 tracks appear throughout the film, by everyone from Led Zeppelin to Alvin and the Chipmunks, creating a musical backdrop that sets the tone for the entire film.
In many ways, the music of Almost Famous really is a character of its own. It is the force that binds the characters together. In some of the most important scenes in the movie, the soundtrack is right at center stage. For example, there's no dialogue in the scene during which Penny Lane dances to "The Wind" in the empty auditorium; or when Anita plays "America" by Simon and Garfunkel as the explanation for why she's leaving home; or when William is watching Penny get her stomach pumped to the tune of "My Cherie Amour"—but these scenes are emotive, meaningful, and totally memorable because of the music.
(Also, we dare you not to think of Almost Famous the next time you hear "Tiny Dancer.")
And how about that band Stillwater? All of the music they play in the film is original, composed by Cameron Crowe and his ex-wife, Nancy Wilson, of the legendary rock-and-roll band Heart, with some help from rocker Peter Frampton.
Frampton served as a musical consultant and resident "rock guru" for Almost Famous, helping teach actors Billy Crudup (Russell Hammond) and Jason Lee (Jeff Bebe) how to embody the rock-star vibe on stage. Crowe's buddy Mike McCready of Pearl Jam is responsible for the sound of Russell Hammond's guitar playing.
Nancy Wilson also composed the film's acoustic-guitar- and mandolin-driven score, which may take a back seat to the soundtrack but totally adds texture throughout.