Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here today to talk about songs used in films…again. T-kun Unusual Wordsmith III left me an intriguing comment on my last blog

My Top 12 favorite Songs Created Specifically for a Film

She had the query about those songs in films that the films made famous, and it got me thinking. There are those songs in films where the films brought back the songs’ popularity years after it was on the charts. In some cases, decades or even centuries after it was in the vanguard of popular music. And so, here are my favorite top 12 songs a film brought back to popularity.


Warning: Small spoilers and great cinema songs ahead…


“All Star”-Smashmouth(Shrek)

All Star

This song got a lot of mileage in several films. It was the end credits of “Mystery Men,” a concert scene and end credits to “Rat Race” and the opening scene/credits for “Shrek.” Of the 3, Shrek stayed widely popular and will continue to delight youngsters of any generation, hence, the film will insure it’s longevity.


“Cest’ La Vie”-Chuck Berry(Pulp Fiction)

Cest’ La Vie

Here’s a great instance of a pretty obscure song gaining fame through a film. John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance a twist contest to this song and make hand motions in dance and this song really popular.


“Man of Constant Sorrow”-Dan Tyminski(O, Brother. Where art thou?)

Man of Constant Sorrow

I’ve been a professional request performer for 30 years and I’d never even heard of this song….until the Soggy Bottom Boys performed it twice in this film, and the requests for it haven’t stopped since.


“You’ve lost that loving feeling”-The Righteous Brothers(Top Gun)

You’ve lost that loving feeling

What makes this one amazing, is Tom Cruise can’t sing for shit…yet his public serenade of Kelly McGillis in a bar that all the other Naval Men join in on cemented this song in pop culture with gusto. Using the actual Righteous Brothers’ version for the end credits helped too.


“Tiny Dancer”-Elton John(Almost Famous)

Tiny Dancer

In the 1970’s Elton John songs were tremendously popular. Many became classics. This song had new life breathed into it when the rock band Stillwater and traveling troupe spontaneously broke into a sing along to it when it was playing on the tour bus radio.


“Twist and Shout”-The Beatles(Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Twist and Shout

While most definitively NOT a one-hit wonder band, the Beatles covered this hit by the Isley Brothers at the beginning of their career. It was one in many popular songs the group had fame for. However, when Ferris Bueller(Matthew Broderick) lip-synchs to it on a parade float and the city of Chicago dances and cheers along, the song gains a resurgence in popularity 20 years after they recorded it.


“La Bamba”-Los Lobos(La Bamba)

La Bamba

The 1950’s hit by Ritchie Vallens got a tremendous resurgence of popularity when this bio-pic about the tragic rock star hit the screen. While it’s technically a remake of the song, Los Lobos were very authentic in copying the style of Ritchie Vallens 30 years later.


“Unchained Melody”-The Righteous Brothers(Ghost)

Unchained Melody

A wonderful love song, to be sure. However, once Patrick Swayze put it on the Jukebox to seduce Demi Moore while she was crafting a clay vase, it went through the roof in popularity.


“Tequila”-The Champs(Pee Wee’s Big Adventure)


A relatively unknown song(unless you’re a University of Washington Husky…it’s the unofficial theme song…), this tune was made famous when Pee Wee Herman(Paul Reubens) danced on the bar in the Hell’s Angels’ club and won them over with the “Tequila Dance” steps he invented.


“Louie Louie”-The Kingsmen(Animal House)

Louie Louie  It’s a short clip…but the only one I could find that wasn’t in spanish LOL!

There are hundreds of one-hit wonders from the 1960’s. This one became synonymous with partying when the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, led by Bluto(John Belushi) had such a fun time on screen drinking and dancing to it during pledge initiation in “Animal House.”


“Also Sprach Zarathustra”-Richard Strauss(2001: A Space Odyssey)

Also Sprach Zarathustra

While I could’ve gone with “The Blue Danube” waltz by Johann Strauss, also made famous by this film, I decided to use this piece as the one more associated with this film. A powerful piece of orchestral music, this song will be forever linked to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Monolith, which had this music playing whenever it appeared to influence in some really significant way, mankind.


And my #1 favorite song made famous in a film is…


“The Entertainer”-Scott Joplin/Marvin Hamlisch(The Sting)

The Entertainer

Well over 100 years ago, this was one of the most popular songs in sheet music sales(The turn of the century equivalent of the pop top 40). Composed by the “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin, the Entertainer achieved immortality when Marvin Hamlisch took it and arranged it for the soundtrack of the film “The Sting” in 1973. Had it not been for this film, the song would’ve faded into obscurity. Now, it will live forever.


And that’s my top 12 favorite songs that films made famous.  Did I miss any of yours?  I’d love to hear what songs films made famous that you loved, my friends.  Peace.

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