Continuing my summer of 2014 series, which was begun right here and chronicled my history with said device, examining the music that ended up on my iPod byway of the films that featured it on their soundtracks. An inventory, as it were, and one I continue to add to. Especially since I press on with my movies-watching and music-listening.
New song and those of a more vintage variety, even years after the initial screening, which still got there purely because of a movie. As alluded in another series, the convergence of the music and film arts is one I’ve spent much time toward. I’ll attempt to break these songs up into the categories most fit into, at least for my bizarre thinking, purely to make it more manageable in presentation. Fewest to most.
Okay, this is the Big Kahuna…the musical highlight. Seemingly, the prime reason the movie is a platform for this number. What music fans desire, a tune to show off. The important caveat being it’s not the film’s theme song. That said, nothing in my definition says a film should feature only one. In fact, a few of these on my list have a couple. Given the number of these on my iPod, I’ll split them up by a simple differentiation.
Whether the film is a musical or not.
Not a Musical
See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have – Destry Rides Again (1939): Want to know what inspired Mel Brooks to include a sultry German bar singer number in Blazing Saddles? Look no further than the legend that was Marlene Dietrich as she belted out this classic in a wonderfully unexpected little western.
Put the Blame on Mame – Gilda (1946): Doesn’t matter that I first saw this on my grandmother’s TV. Yeah, Rita is so much more than “…when she does that shit with her hair.“, as Red would say. But, as she sang “When they had the earthquake…”, it really registered with me.
He Shouldn’t-A, Hadn’t-A, Oughtn’t-A Swang On Me! – The Great Race (1965): For a wonderful adventure comedy, one of its highlights surely was this little number by Dorothy Provine. She’s great in this scene. Although, Natalie Wood’s jealous glances, double-takes, and reactions during it were priceless, too.
Springtime For Hitler – The Producers (1967): If there’s one thing Mel Brooks is underrated at, it’s putting on a show tune. And this one was just pure button-pushing comedic genius by the man.
Mrs. Robinson – The Graduate (1967): It’s this film, along with this song, that warped whatever existed in my mind for the ‘Miracle Worker’ Anne Bancroft. She just plain seduced me as Mrs. Robinson. I’ve loved her since. A classic Simon & Garfunkel tune that can’t be separated from the movie. At least for me.
Windmills of Your Mind – Thomas Crown Affair (1968): Okay, no one is going to mistake Noel Harrison as a great singer (Dusty Springfield’s cover runs rings around it), but it does exactly what it needed to do in the film. Intrigue the viewer and the listener.
Burning Bridges – Kelly’s Heroes (1970): This one reached as high as #34 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the Mike Curb Congregation. Featured in the opening and end credits, it’s a strangely fitting tune for one of the truly oddball WWII adventure films that was also so damn entertaining. Then again, it was the 70s 😉
Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973): Another song that’s forever melded to a heartbreaking scene. A forlornly violent western by Sam Peckinpah. No matter which version of the film you manage to take in, Slim Pickens sitting at the creek, as Dylan sings, for his final sundown will tear at you.
I’m Tired – Blazing Saddles (1974): With my initial pick of this list, you had to know I’d include Mel Brooks’ and Madeline Kahn’s brilliant parody of Marlene Dietrich’s Destry Rides Again musical moment. One can never have enough Lili Von Shtupp!
Puttin’ on The Ritz – Young Frankenstein (1974): This is just a fun scene that featured a rich take of a musical standard by Irving Berlin. And it happens to be in what is my all-time favorite Mel Brooks film.
Ironically, the even better God Only Knows was the B-side of this 45.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – Shampoo (1975): This summer pop hit of ’66 I readily knew, but hadn’t appreciated the group initially. When it was used to open and close Hal Ashby and Warren Beatty’s wickedly sharp film (scripted by Robert Towne) was when I began to reappraise The Beach Boys’ work.
The End – Apocalypse Now (1979): Before this point, Jim Morrison and The Doors’ track hadn’t gathered me in. But, after this film’s opening sequence, along with the killing of Colonel Kurtz, the song would sit next to me like the dark spectre it is.
Sharky’s Machine (1981)
Love Theme From Shaky’s Machine: From one of the all-time best original soundtracks, actor-director Burt Reynolds and Snuff Garrett brought some of the most impressive jazz and blues artists together. The great Sara Vaughan gave this love song her unique touch, as only she could.
8 to 5 I Lose: The other jazz legend, Joe Williams, lent his considerable talent to a romp of a song. “8 to 5 I Lose” a classic of the genre — bluesy, but humorous. His velvety voice swinging between them with ease, which made appreciating its use in the film all the better.
It Might Be You – Tootsie (1982): I adore the love song by Stephen Bishop written for this classic 80s rom-com. Jessica Lange meeting whatever expectations I had back then. Remembering it six years later when I started getting serious with the person who’d become my future bride. I never tire of it for that reason.
Anything Goes – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): One could argue I should’ve placed this opening number with my Other Than English listing. I would’ve, if Kate Capshaw had performed the Cole Porter number entirely in Mandarin, which she doesn’t do. 😉 Anything Goes! (best thing in the movie).
Don’t You Forget About Me – The Breakfast Club (1985): Though I was a little too old by this point for the John Hughes film to truly register with me, the Simple Minds’ number certainly was memorable. Although, high school never truly leaves you…like a scar.
Tequila – Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985): This whole movie is where my Tim Burton following began. Right here, specifically. In that biker’s bar…with The Champs blaring out their signature song. And Pee-Wee on platform shoes.
Who Wants to Live Forever – Highlander (1986): Okay, what is it with the 80s and this song category? Well, given what’s here, I’d say it had something to do with the quality of the tunes tied to this era. Queen’s memorable lament really striking a chord.
Wall Street (1987)
Fly Me To The Moon: As mentioned, “…the song was utilized to denote the duplicitous love affair with riches and money.” Frank Sinatra‘s cover still considered by many to be the definitive version of this Bart Howard standard.
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody): Covered here, the “…standout needle-dropped moment arrived when the young and naïve Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) purchases his Manhattan condo to please his materialistic girl (Daryl Hannah), and himself.”
Day-O: My aunt Olivia loved Harry Belafonte, so I was by this time familiar with his voice. I remember all this in Tim Burton’s wonderfully sinister and comedic take of the netherworld. Finally appreciating why she did. All care of Belafonte’s cover of a traditional Jamaican song.
Jump In The Line (Shake, Senora): Burton couldn’t have ended his film any better than by bringing another great Harry Belafonte dance tune for a film reprise. I can play and move to this one, like my aunt, all day long.
Let The River Run – Working Girl (1988): Another great Carly Simon song that worked well in this 80s rom-com. Oh, and the sight of Melanie Griffith vacuuming. 😉
L-O-V-E – Quick Change (1990): Having Bill Murray kick off the film dressed as clown, serenaded by this classic croon by Nat King Cole, through Manhattan on his way to a bank robbery…well, let’s just say it had me at “Hello.”
In Your Eyes – Benny & Joon (1993): Yes, I’m well aware this was used earlier in Cameron Crowe’s ‘Say Anything’. His ’89 feature film debut. But, this was where I merged the Peter Gabriel’s song with something on celluloid — I’d eventually catch the former only years later.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story (1995): Ah, there are some fond memories tied to this. Randy Newman’s superb song working its wonders with the first Pixar film I ever saw. One of those special moments cut to music.
The director credited co-star Craig Bierko with suggesting this song for the excerpt.
She’s Not There – The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996): Few songs fit a sequence so well. The re-emergence of the CIA assassin Charlie Baltimore comes to the forefront in Atlantic City, NJ., in a steamed-fill shower, and all scored to the splendid Santana cover of The Zombies debut tune, ‘She’s Not There’.
When She Loved Me – Toy Story 2 (1999): Covered here, “I admit I mist right up whenever I watch this sequence in the John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, and Lee Unkrich sequel to Toy Story. Written by Randy Newman and sung by Sarah McLachlan, it’s a heartbreaking scene crystallized by this ballad.”
“It’s catchy and cool, and the lyrics seem to capture the essence of who Jason Bourne is and his extreme journey, even though it was not written specifically for the film.”
Put On Your Sunday Clothes: A song that reverberates from its initial use, during the opening scenes, in Pixar’s gem of a film. By the end, it will come all the way back to settle warmly home, and in my heart.
The Jazz pioneer was born this week in 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
La Vie En Rose: Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong’s classic cover of Édith Piaf’s signature tune will have to close this post out. Can’t think of a better song, and one from my favorite Pixar movie, now on my iPod, to do so.
How about you? Any featured songs you’ve collected because of a non-Musical movie?
The entire series can be found here.