There are certain movies that are made infinitely better by their fantastic soundtrack. The Academy Awards even introduced a category for this very reason in 1934, and we have been serenaded by brilliant musical scores ever since. Here are six iconic movies, and their most famous songs; each are fine independently, but work impeccably together.
The Graduate (1967) – Mrs Robinson
Written by Paul Simon and performed by American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs Robinson” was one of a number of Simon & Garfunkel songs that featured on the soundtrack for The Graduate. It is said that Simon had been working on a song called ‘Mrs Roosevelt’, but it had never gone anywhere. So, when asked to write another song for the movie, he changed Roosevelt to Robinson and the rest is history! The song features as no. 6 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Songs list.
Rocky III (1982) – Eye of the Tiger
The perfect song to throw some punches to, it’s no surprise that Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” was written for a film in the Rocky franchise. Sylvester Stallone wanted Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” in the movie, but unable to acquire the rights to use it, he had to figure something else out. So, Stallone went to a rather unknown rock band at the time, Survivor, and asked them to make something similar, and “Eye of the Tiger” was born. It ended up spending six weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100 chart.
Titanic (1997) – My Heart Will Go On
Despite being such an iconic song in the world of cinema, it initially seems as though no one wanted this song to be made! The music was composed by James Horner, originally meant to be used during an instrumental. When adding vocals, although director James Cameron did not want such a song within the film, and only conceded because he thought he should have a theme song. Celine Dion did not want to sing it, as she had already appeared on the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast. Luckily, all parties were convinced in the end, as the song, as well as the film, ended up being a massive hit, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Record of the Year.
Saturday Night Fever (1977) – Stayin’ Alive
The entire soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever is pure disco heaven (or hell for some), but “Stayin’ Alive” is one of the most iconic hits from the seventies. This was the second of what was to become six consecutive number-one singles for the Bee Gees. Perhaps something the Bee Gees did not anticipate was the song’s use in medical training, providing the perfect rhythm for chest compressions per minute during CPR.
The Lion King (1994) – Can You Feel the Love Tonight
1995 was a great year for Elton John, as he won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It perfectly fits this Hamlet-inspired animal family drama, one of Disney’s most famous animated movies, The Lion King. Elton John also composed “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” for the film.
The Breakfast Club (1985) – Don’t You (Forget About Me)
One of the most iconic songs of the eighties, the song was written by the composers of The Breakfast Club, as they were both fans of the band Simple Minds, who rejected the song initially. When they eventually conceded, they believed it wouldn’t go anywhere, and the movie would flop. Of course, they were wrong, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” ended up as one of Simple Minds’ most popular songs, and The Breakfast Club as an instant teen classic.
Let us know in the comments what your favourite original song from a film is.
Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.