Remember movie theme songs? If you didn't grow up in the 80s, maybe you don't. There actually was a time when a movie would be released simultaneously with a big song written specifically either to be in the film or just named after it, usually featuring clips from the movie in the video, and sometimes even cameos by the stars themselves. At some point in the 90s, this just stopped, and movies started to use already existing sounds to punctuate their soundtracks. This is all well and good, but it makes me nostalgic for the old days, when a film's song would be just as important as the trailer or any reviews you'd read.
Maybe this all started in the 80s and died in the mid 90s because that when was music videos on MTV started and died as well. Afterall, there's no point in having Matt Damon appear in a music video for El Debarge's "Who's Jason (Bourne)" if not even MTV plays videos anymore. Anyway -- and just for fun -- here is my personal top eleven list of the best movie songs from the 80s. And if you're wondering why it's a top eleven, it's because I honestly couldn't narrow it down to ten!
#11 Say you say me (White Nights)
Awesome song by Lionelt Richie that has stood the test of time even if the movie it's from hasn't. The film was an attempt at a starring vehicle for Mikhail Baryshnikov. Remember him? Anyway, his ballet dancing was supposed to end the Cold War or something. And maybe it did, I dunno. Anyway, I like this song.
#10 Sweet Freedom (Running Scared)
Another Gregory Hines movie makes the list. Good for him! Yeah, back in the 80s, buddy cop comedies were the Judd Apatow comedies of their time: That's all anybody ever made. Some were good (48 Hours, Lethal Weapon), some not so much (um... this one). Seriously, things got so bad in the 80s somebody actually thought it was a good idea to team up Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines -- two fantastic talents, but come on! Anyway, awesome song that has nothing to do with the movie, but I would've loved to hang out on the set with these guys.
#9 Who's Johnny? (Short Circuit)
I still remember when this song premiered on MTV. Everybody was excited because it was for the movie Short Circuit that was coming out soon and because it was by El Debarge, who was awesome. And then it started... and it has nothing to do with robots or the movie. Steve Guttenberg isn't even in the video, there's just a cardboard cutout. But still... the song won us all over because it's so damn catchy. Oh, and at the end of the movie, the Robot changes his name from #5 to Johnny. So there's your connection. I guess that was the only detail from the script that inspired El Debarge while he was writing the theme song.
Debarge also did the song Rhythm of the Night for the Last Dragon Soundtrack. That didn't make this list, even though it's a way better song than Who's Johnny, because it has even less to do with the film it's in than this one does.
Ray Parker Jr. wasn't a one hit wonder. I think that after writing and performing this song, he knew that it was perfect and that it could never be topped, so why try? To this day, you still can't ask somebody "who are you gonna call?" and not hear "Ghostbusters!" It's still not funny, but that's just the way it is. Great song.
#7 View to a Kill
What list of 80s music would be complete without some Duran Duran? Awesome song from a not so awesome movie. This was Roger Moore's last film as James Bond and he was really past his prime. But this song still kicks ass.
#6 Against All Odds
I still have never seen this movie. I've almost seen it a few times, but something else always came up and got in the way, almost as though I am not meant to see it. Which is fine, because it probably isn't very good. And there's no way it could ever live up to the almost comically diverse set of clips shown in this video. Jeff Bridges is playing football, then making love on a beach, scubadiving, getting in a car crash, and then fighting James Woods. I feel like I've already seen this movie already. Anyway, awesome song.
#5 Power of Love
What does the Power of Love have to do with Back to the Future? I dunno. the Delorean runs on plutonium, not love. It should've been called the Power of Plutonium, or maybe even the Power of Lightning. But that's not as catchy. Anyway, this song is great, the movie is great, and the video is brilliantly 80s.
#4 St Elmo's Fire
I wasn't old enough to really understand what was going on in this movie when I was a kid, and I bet if I saw it again as an adult, I'd be annoyed and hate it. At the time, I was just disappointed that it wasn't a film about the deification of my favorite Sesame Street muppet. But that's fine, because this song is amazing. I don't care who you are or where you go, but if you start singing the St Elmo's Fire song, people will go nuts.
#3 Goonies R Good Enough
If you didn't grow up in the 80s, well, I'm not going to be able to explain this video to you, let alone explain why it's so damn awesome. What's the connection between the then World Wrestling Federation and the Goonies? I just don't know, but I don't care. It was Cyndi Lauper and it was the 80s and we just let her do her thing, and the world was a better place for it. Anyway, I love this friggin' song. Just the opening cords are enough to get me pumped and ready to go looking for treasure.
#2 Eye of the Tiger (Rocky 3)
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor epitomizes 80s movie songs. It was central to the theme of the film, played at a pivotal moment in the finale, and was just awesome. Eye of the Tiger isn't just one of the best movie songs of all time, it's one of the best songs of all time. I mean, kinda. I like it anyway.
#1 Anything by Kenny Loggins
For a little while there, it seemed like Kenny Loggins only made music for movies. Did I say for a little while there? I meant to say, Kenny Loggins only ever made music for movies. But that's ok, because they are all friggin' awesome. Here are just a few of his many, many hits from hit movies: