A well placed piece of music in a film can alter the meaning of that song for all eternity. Try and listen to Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now" without envisioning Rocky Balboa's run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some will think of Gord Martineau, but most will think of Rocky. Here are my favourite film songs from a life time of movie watching.
The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" from Fight Club - Shortly after that memorable scene when the building collapses, Fight Club bursts into "Where Is My Mind?" and the combination is perfectly haunting.
The Crystals' "Then he Kissed Me" from Goodfellas - One of my favourite scences in cinema is that one when Henry enters the restaurant from the kitchen and the entire scene is done in one take. This is the song that plays during this fantastic scene.
The Geto Boyz' "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster" from Office Space - This song juxtaposed with the white collar life of a cubicle warrior made my day when I first saw it. It's become the feel-good anthem of Dilberts everywhere.
-M-'s "Belleville Rendez-Vous" from Les Triplettes de Belleville - This is a great animated flick with an opening sequence set to this tune. It's catchy, jazzy fun that you'll be singing for weeks.
Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" from Saint Ralph - I've probably said enough about this one already.
Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" from Trainspotting - I could have gone with Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" or Underworld's "Born Slippy", but "Lust For Life" almost seemed to have been written for this flick. Hearing it always reminds me of what a great movie Trainspotting is.
Pearl Jam's "State Of Love And Trust" from Singles - This is another movie with several notable songs on the soundtrack, but this was a song from one of my favourite bands that seemed way too good not to appear on a studio album. How much better would Vs. have been with this sucker on it?
Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from Almost Famous - I had never heard this song until I saw Almost Famous, an almost perfect little movie. Now, whenever I hear "Tiny Dancer", I'm back on that bus singing right along.
Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" from Do The Right Thing - This song and movie made a statement, and it's difficult to imagine one without the other. Always do the right thing.
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Wayne's World - Aurora, Illinois was a thinly veiled Toronto, right? The sing-a-long in Wayne's shitty hatchback to this classic is classic in its own right. Let me go!
Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" from Grosse Pointe Blank - This cool flick also had a number of great tunes on the soundtrack, but none suited it better than "Blister in the Sun".
Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from Apocalypse Now - I don't really need to explain this one, do I?
Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" from Closer - I liked the movie, but when it was over I kept hearing this song in my head. It's chilling and perfect for one of the closing scenes of "Closer".
Michael Andrews' "Mad World" from Donnie Darko - Sometimes a cover of a song is more enjoyable than the original. That's the case for me and this Tears For Fears song. Donnie Darko was a dark gem of a movie and "Mad World" sums it all up perfectly.
The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." from Teen Wolf - Okay, this is a guilty pleasure from my youth. We had Teen Wolf on tape and practically wore it out playing that last basketball game over and over again. "Surfin' U.S.A." plays while Scott as a werewolf surfs on the van and I always thought that was a pretty cool stunt to pull.
Stealers Wheels' "Stuck In The Middle" from Reservoir Dogs - This is a seriously sadistic scene that seems all the more sadistic when contrasted with this silly little Dylan-esque ditty. Try imagining this song without this scene and vice versa.
Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" from Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Sure, this list is a little heavy on the Tarantino, but for my money there is no better director. Kill Bill Vol. 1 opens with this song and Kill Bill Vol. 2 wraps up shorty after The Bride's baby guns her down. Bang bang.
Eddie Vedder's "Man Of The Hour" from Big Fish - I promised myself I wouldn't cry. This song about that man... damn, I can't do this.
Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" from Pump Up The Volume - For a fifteen year old kid, Pump Up The Volume seemed pretty cool. The guy ran a pirate radio station and said cool stuff like "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks" and "eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark". After seeing this movie at the Humber Odeon, I felt like a changed man and Cohen's "Everybody Knows" was my theme song. Of course, all the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.
The Soggy Bottom Boys' "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Are Thou? - I don't think this movie would have been as effective without a tune you'd believe was a hit. I believe in "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" and it made a great movie greater.
Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" from Pulp Fiction - We'll finish things off with a song used brilliantly in my favourite movie of all time. It's one of my ten tracks and I first heard it in this flick. I'm going to spin it right now.