Movies and Music By: Jay Maxwell

January 29, 2012 by Dagan White

WHAT A GREAT PAIR!

 It is amazing how much my wife and I have in common. We even like the same pair of letters, “M” and “M”. For my wife, she has always had a fondness for multi-colored hard shelled candy. Her friends even threw them at us at our wedding reception twenty years ago. Let me tell you that the ones with peanuts inside them actually hurt when they hit you on top of the head, but that’s another story for another article. When I think of double Ms, my thoughts immediately turn to Movies and Music. Even separately they are two of my favorite pastimes, but together the two complement each other like peanut butter and jelly. Normally we tend to think about a song enhancing a movie. However, this feature’s topic is based on the influence the movie had on the song in either “creating” the song or giving it a resurgence in popularity.

MOVIES REMAKING MUSIC

Looking at the two accompanying lists, one for slow songs and one for party songs, the year given with the song may look like a mistake. The year associated with each song is the year the movie was released and may or may not correspond to the year that the song was recorded. For example, the most played song on the Slow Songs list is Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” This song is such a classic, that one would think that it was a huge hit when it was first recorded in 1967. Actually the song didn’t even enter the top 100 when Louis first released it. But in 1988, it was part of the Robin Williams’ film, Good Morning, Vietnam. Since then, the song has been a wedding reception staple, especially for the groom-mother dance. Another example is the “Grease Megamix” which was actually released in 1996, yet since it is clearly based on the movie Grease, the year listed is 1978, the year the original John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John blockbuster was being first watched by millions of viewers. Twenty-two years after hitting the charts at number two for four weeks, the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” was featured in two movies in 1986. Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School used it, but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring Matthew Broderick, certainly revived it the most, sending the single back into the Top 40.

DANCING INTO HISTORY

Some movies created the songs that people dance to even today. This is especially true if the film itself was about dancing. Since the dance-inspired movie Footloose first hit the screens in 1984, the Kenny Loggins’ tune of the same name has caused many a dance floor to remain packed. You know it’s a classic movie when Hollywood decides to remake it like they did with this flick in 2011. Perhaps the ultimate dance movie would be Saturday Night Fever from 1977, which featured several dance hits such as KC and the Sunshine Band?s remarkable ice-breaker “Boogie Shoes.” The most prominent artist on the soundtrack is of course the Bee Gees. Three of their songs reached number one on the airwaves including “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” and “Stayin’ Alive” (number 10 on this issue’s chart). In 1987, a movie was entertaining audiences that had the word dancing in its title: Dirty Dancing. Many couples through the years have tried to imitate the magical moves of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey,

MOVIE MUSIC: SLOW SONGS SONG ARTIST MOVIE YEAR

1 WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD LOUIS ARMSTRONG GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM 1988

2 UNCHAINED MELODY RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS GHOST 1990

3 YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS TOP GUN 1986

4 OVER THE RAINBOW/WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO’ OLE FINDING FORRESTER 2000

5 I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING AEROSMITH ARMAGEDDON 1998

6 (EVERYTHING I DO) I DO IT FOR YOU BRYAN ADAMS ROBIN HOOD 1991

7 TAKE MY BREATH AWAY BERLIN TOP GUN 1986

8 I CROSS MY HEART GEORGE STRAIT PURE COUNTRY 1992

9 I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU WHITNEY HOUSTON BODYGUARD 1992

10 BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME CELINE DION UP CLOSE & PERSONAL 1996

11 TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE GARTH BROOKS HOPE FLOATS 1998

12 COULD I HAVE THIS DANCE ANNE MURRAY URBAN COWBOY 1980

13 WIND BENEATH MY WINGS BETTE MIDLER BEACHES 1989

14 IN YOUR EYES PETER GABRIEL SAY ANYTHING 1989

15 CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE ELTON JOHN LION KING 1994

16 WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT TONY BENNETT MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING 1997

17 GROW OLD WITH YOU ADAM SANDLER WEDDING SINGER 1997

18 MY HEART WILL GO ON CELINE DION TITANIC 1998

19 AS TIME GOES BY DOOLEY WILSON CASABLANCA 1942

20 COME WHAT MAY EWAN MCGREGOR & NICOLE KIDMAN MOULIN ROUGE 2001

especially the final scene during the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

‘MAKING A SCENE

Some movies have forever etched into our mind scenes that we now associate with a song. In 1983, Bob Seger’s classic rocker “Old Time Rock & Roll” was featured in Risky Business and everyone seems to remember a young Tom Cruise, dressed only in a buttoned down shirt, white socks, and a pair of briefs, lip-syncing and dancing to the song. The song was released in 1979 on the album Stranger In Town, and charted as a single, reaching as high as 28 on the national charts. It again made the charts because of the movie and though it reached a peak position of only 48, the Risky Business scene will always be associated with the song. Another iconic scene is when John Cusack, in the film Say Anything, holds a huge boom box over his head to serenade his girlfriend while “In Your Eyes” blares from the speakers. The Peter Gabriel song was first a charted song three years before the movie, but the touching scene prompted another run on the charts in 1989.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Many people tend to forget the actual name of some movie songs, and simply refer to them by their movie appearance. Many grooms or groomsmen will ask for “that song from Top Gun” because they want to serenade the bride. What they really want of course is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by the Righteous Brothers. Oddly, the song wasn’t released on the Top Gun soundtrack but is the most requested song from the movie, due to the scene where a sing-a-long of the tune breaks out. If someone asks for “the Titanic song,” they want the Celine Dion favorite, “My Heart Will Go On” and no DJ gives a second thought to what is requested when a groom wants the Rocky theme song (actually Maynard Ferguson’s “Gonna Fly Now”) for the garter removal.

PLAY SOMETHING WE CAN DANCE TO

The next time you go to the movies, listen for songs that might become popular or gain resurgence due to their use in the film, so that you’ll be ready at your next gig for a movie-inspired song.

SONGS IN THE KLIEG LIGHT

Even before the beginning of the Rock & Roll Era, when the 1955 sock hop standard “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” was featured in the movie Blackboard Jungle starring Glenn Ford, Hollywood was been keen to popularize music in their productions. There have been many unforgettable songs DJs still use that were featured prominently in movies, like “Over the Rainbow” in the perennial classic The Wizard of Oz, Fred Astaire’s “Cheek to Cheek” from 1935’s Top Hat and “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” which was first heard in 1951 on The Strip before Sleepless in Seattle included it in its soundtrack. In the 1942 classic, Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart’s character requests Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By.” He doesn’t actually say, “Play it again, Sam,” but instead asks for it by saying, “You played it for her, you can play it for me.” The next time you go to the movies, listen for songs that might become popular or gain resurgence due to their use in the film, so that you’ll be ready at your next gig for a movie-inspired song. After all, today’s “Humphrey Bogarts” will probably request the song by saying, “Play Something We Can Dance To!” MB

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Dagan White (27 Posts)


Filed Under: Issue #140