Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to talk about film songs. You know, those great tunes that are created specifically for a film that end up defining it beyond the story, characters and cinematography. These songs so completely embody the films they’re in, that they immediately make us remember the films whenever we hear them. And so, here are my top 12 favorite songs created specifically for a film.

 

Warning: Small spoilers and unforgettable songs ahead…

 

Honorable mentions.

 

“In your eyes”-Peter Gabriel(Say Anything(1991))

In Your Eyes

John Cusak standing on his car’s hood holding up a boombox blaring out this song to call out to his lover(Ione Skye) is an iconic moment in cinema….not enough to make my top 12, but it’s definitely worth a mention.

 

“Live and Let Die”-Paul McCartney & Wings(Live and Let Die(1973))

Live and Let Die

For the first James Bond film of Roger Moore, this song absolutely kicked ass. A perennial favorite at concerts of Paul McCartney, 2 sung versions and many instrumental versions of this song appeared in the film.

 

“Flashdance”-Irene Cara(Flashdance(1984))

Flashdance

One of the best film endings ever, this rhythmic tune matches Jennifer Beals’ enthusiasm as she becomes the rhythm at her dance audition.

 

“Ghostbusters”-Ray Parker Jr.(Ghostbusters(1983))

Ghostbusters

It’s catchy…It’s iconic…it perfectly matches the film it’s in….why is it not on the list?….I’m  SICK TO DEATH OF HEARING IT LOL!  I mean, it’s ok if I’m watching the film, but I never want to hear it any other place.

And on to the top 12:

 

#12. “That thing you do”-The Wonders(That thing you do(1996))

That thing You do

In a film about a fictitious one-hit wonder rock group from the 1960’s, the song is amazing. Beatles-like in form, it’s so damned catchy that you don’t mind hearing it performed over 20 times through the course of the film! It was rightfully nominated for an Academy Award.

 

#11. “HELP!”-The Beatles(HELP!(1965))

HELP!

And speaking about Beatles-like…here’s the ACTUAL Beatles-WOOT! Truth be told, “Hard Day’s Night” had an equal chance of making this list, but I like this song better, so there! A great song, by itself, but it really accentuates the plot of this brilliantly silly film about a bloodthirsty group of religious zealots out to sacrifice Ringo Starr when a fan mails the sacrificial ring of Kaili to him and he can’t get it off his finger!

 

#10. “Viva Las Vegas”-Elvis Presley(Viva Las Vegas(1964))

Viva Las Vegas

Elvis Presley…in Las Vegas…awesome song….‘Nuff Said.

 

#9. “I’ve had the time of my life”-Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley(Dirty Dancing(1987))

I’ve had the time of my life

Now, seriously. Tell me you can hear this song and not immediately think of Patrick Swayze lifting up Jennifer Gray like a figure skater. Endlessly parodied, this song was one of the great love themes of the 1980s.

 

#8.  “Theme from SHAFT”-Isaac Hayes(SHAFT!(1971))

Theme from SHAFT

Who is the man who would risk his neck for his brother man?…..SHAFT!…Daaaamn right! Isaac Hayes composed and performed this magnificent gem of a song that accompanies streetsmart black PI John Shaft(Richard Roundtree) as he walks the streets of Harlem sleuthing like a Baaaaad Mothe…(SHUT YOUR MOUTH!) but I’m talking ‘bout Shaft…)Then we can dig it!)

 

#7.  “Highway to the Danger Zone”-Kenny Loggins(Top Gun(1986))

Highway to the Danger Zone

The King of soundtrack songmaking in the 1980’s, Kenny Loggins wrote film song smash after smash. This pulse pounding rock song matched the F-14 Tomcats roaring into flight and into battle with authority.

 

#6.  “Eastbound and Down”-Jerry Reed(Smokey and the Bandit(1977))

Eastbound and Down

Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed attempting to bootleg 400 illegal cases of Coors Beer from Texarkana, TX to Atlanta, GA in 24 hours needed a rollicking tune with banjo, guitar, drums and the incomparable skill of Jerry Reed to craft a masterpiece of lyrical brilliance.  This song had all of it.

 

#5.  “Axel in F”-Harold Falthermeyer(Beverly Hills Cop(1984))

Axel in ‘F’

One of 2 purely instrumental songs to make the American top 40 in the last 40 years(The Star Wars Theme was the other one), this really catchy tunes bops and jives as skillfully as Axel Foley(Eddie Murphy) does in the film.

 

#4.  “Rainbow Connection”-Paul Williams/sung by Kermit the Frog(The Muppet Movie(1976))

Rainbow Connection

Kermit the Frog playing a banjo on a log in the bayou and cheerfully singing this great song about wonder and the romance of the dreamers. It’s so wonderful that 40 years later, they brought it back for the reunion film(The Muppets), since it so encompassed everything the Muppets stand for.

 

#3.  “Footloose”-Kenny Loggins(Footloose(1984))

Footloose

YEP! Here’s another great Kenny Loggins song that was as iconic as the role played by the awesome Kevin Bacon. It’s almost impossible to hear it and not want to dance to it.

 

#2.  “Staying Alive”-The Bee Gees(Saturday Night Fever(1977))

Staying Alive

And speaking of which….John Travolta in a film about Disco dancing achieved immortality on a dance floor putting everyone else to absolute shame.  Although the iconic scene was danced to “Night Fever,” this song is the one everyone associates with the film.

 

And the #1 song specifically made for a film is…

 

#1.  “Gonna Fly Now”-Bill Conti(Rocky(1976))

Gonna Fly Now

The immortal training montage music for Philadelphia Boxing underdog, Rocky Balboa(Sylvester Stallone) that peaks the moment he finally runs making it to the top of the stairs and throws his hands up in victory. He’s feeling 10 feet tall and it’s obvious he’s worked hard and achieved his goals that he is gonna fly like the song is singing.  One of the most inspirational cinema moments has the music to match it.

 

And that’s my favorite top 12 songs created specifically for films. Did I miss any of yours? I’d love to hear what your favorites were, my friends. Peace.

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