Top Ten Tunes from the Movies
Movies and music are two of my favorite things in the whole world. There is nothing better when a great film is paired with a fantastic soundtrack.
10) ‘ (‘Midnight Cowboy,’ 1969)- Harry Nilsson, ‘Everybody’s Talkin’
Midnight Cowboy is a story about how small town Texan Joe Buck (John Voight) had dreams of making it big in NYC as a male prostitute. John Voight and Dustin Hoffman show off their stellar acting chops in this flick. If you have an appreciation for vintage movies, this is must see. Everybody’s Talkin’ is a folk-rock ditty written by Fred Neil in 1966. Harry Nillson had major success with this hit. It rose to the top of the billboard charts and won a Grammy.
9) (‘Garden State,’ 2004) – The Shins, ‘New Slang’
Garden State is a cult classic among some people. If you go online there a groups devoted to this movie. It wasn’t that ground-breaking for me but I was impressed that Scrubs actor Zach Braff wrote, directed and starred in this film. Most importantly this flick introduced me to The Shins. James Mercer, front man for the band said he that he originally wrote the song because he wanted to get out of his “home town, job, relationship and life”.
8) ‘Pretty Woman,’ 1990- Roxette, ‘It Must have Been Love’
Wasn’t Richard Gere just super yummy in this film? His character had to be one of the inspirations for Mr. Big’s character on Sex and the City. It Must have been Love is like poetry in motion.
Lay a whisper on my pillow
Leave the winter on the ground
I wake up lonely, is there a silence
In the bedroom and all around
Touch me now, I close my eyes
And dream away…
80’s romantic tragedy at it’s best.
7)’Rocky III’ 1982- Survivor, ‘Eye of the Tiger’
Who doesn’t love Rocky Balboa?
Eye of Tiger is one of those jams that you play when you need to amp yourself up for a something HUGE. Sylvester Stallone originally wanted Queen’s Another one Bites the Dust for the movie Rocky III. He couldn’t get permission to use it so he asked the group Survivor to write a song for the movie. The song was listed at #21 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100 and was named the 63rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
6) ‘Say Anything’ 1989- Peter Gabriel, ‘In Your Eyes’
Going to the movies when I was growing up was a super treat. In a noble attempt to bond with his daughters, in an act of complete spontaneity, my Dad announced we were going to the movies. When we got there he bought three tickets to see Say Anything.
I remember the distinct feeling of wanting to evaporate into my movie seat. The opening scene was a raging party where kids were drinking , drugging, and fondling each other. Having to watch that on-screen with my Dad in the next seat was beyond painful. I was grateful it was only the first 5 minutes or so. The rest of the movie was fantastic.
In Your Eyes is still one of my favorite love songs of all time. Peter Gabriel is such an introspective musician. The duet with Youssou N’Dour towards the ends is the best part of the song.
5) Love Jones (1997)- Dionne Farris ‘Hopeless’
Thank the good Lord for Love Jones. It was the FIRST TIME I had EVER seen a real black love story. There were no slavish talking stereotypical black characters in this movie. It was just a great love story that happened to be about two gorgeous black people. Nia Long and Lorenz Tate were the perfect actors for the film. If you watch the video closely in the beginning you’ll see a familiar face sitting on the couch, strumming on the guitar (@ .29 seconds). It’s no one other than American Idol judge, Randy Jackson. I’m positive that a lot of people still do not know that Randy Jackson is an accomplished musician and producer. He co-produced Hopeless among so many other hits.
4) ‘Do the Right Thing,’ (1989)- Public Enemy, ‘Fight the Power’
“Fight the Power” was an anthem. It made me want to further research the Black Panther movement, get a blow out, and do something uplifting. Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing gave me a visual education like no other film. It taught me how to think and create outside of the box. Lee’s cinematic creativity was unlike anything I had ever laid eyes on before. I recently heard a talk given by film director Wes Anderson. He credited Lee’s Do the Right Thing as one of main films that inspired him to make movies. Fight the Power was rated # 1 on VH1’s list of 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.
3) ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,’ 1985- Tina Turner, ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’
The sky is blue and Tina Turner is a phenomenal singer. These two aspects are undisputable facts. However, until the film MAD MAX we never knew that Tina could act too. In addition to her stellar performance I was in love with her fashion for the film. Those earrings were the most fabulous accessories my adolescent eyes had ever seen. My favorite part of the song is when Tina sings with conviction “Is it all or nothing”… then enters in the saxophone solo. (scroll too @ 3.58).
2) High Fidelity (2000)- I believe When I Fall in Love- Stevie Wonder
High Fidelity was scored brilliantly. When Stevie sings “Come on let’s fall in Love” ( scroll to @4.50 ) it’s like getting hit with cupid’s arrow.
1) (‘Shaft,’ 1971)- Isaac Hayes, ‘Shaft’
The Theme from Shaft is hands down the best song on any movie soundtrack. Issac Hayes made history when Shaft won Best Original Song at the 1972 Academy Awards. Hayes was the first African-American to ever get an Oscar in a non-acting category. The song begins with a sixteenth-note hi-hat ride pattern, played by Willie Hall, which was drawn from a break on Otis Redding‘s “Try A Little Tenderness“, a Stax record on which Hayes had played. On top of everything amazing Hayes had accomplished in his life he was also made a king in Ghana. He was bestowed this honor for his humanitarian work and economic efforts on the country’s behalf.