A Few Favorite 80s Soundtrack Themes

Last year’s Academy Award for best song went to Randy Newman, for his Toy Story 3 song “We Belong Together”.  This was a long overdue award for Newman, whose previous Toy Story songs (“You Got a Friend in Me” from the original movie, and “When She Loved Me” – Sung by Sarah MacLaughlin – from the first sequel) were overlooked by the Academy.  I’m ready to stop filling out my ballot altogether I’m so angry.

Lots of kids’ movie have great songs, which I am discovering now that I watch movies with two toddlers.  Toy Story 3 was good enough to be considered for Best Picture, which is a lot more than you can say for most kids’ movies.  When I was a kid I lied the soundtrack to An American Tale, with its mousy anthem “There Are no Cats in America” and heartbreaking ballad “Somewhere Out There”.  Our three year old loves to sing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” with the sort of joy only a toddler free from all self-consciousness can.

When I got a little older I had a lot of favorite TV themes from the movies that we taped off television and watched over and over.  I think I was a grown adult before I saw an unedited version of National Lampoon’s Vacation and realized Audrey was a pothead.  You may have similar memories of the movies of the era, maybe you remember Navin R. Johnson’s dog being named “Stupid”.

hollywood road

“Hollywood Road” by Lindsay Buckingham, from National Lampoon’s Vacation.  This is a great song – I bought this LP entirely for this track, and I guess I take back anything I said about not liking a single Fleetwood Mac track.

And, back to the “edited for television” version of this movie, there are some jokes that got sliced that were really fucked up!  Sorry, there’s not another way to put it, especially after seeing Cousin Vicki say, “My daddy says I’m the best french kisser in the whole county.”

the power of love

“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News, from Back to the Future.  Its got a great chorus that I love to sing (“Don’t need no credit card to ride this train…”) but like nearly all Huey Lewis and the News hits, its plagued by a campy solo and a terrible bridge.  The only Huey Lewis and the News single not marred by the News’ three unoriginal guitarists?  “Stuck with You” – It has an organ solo.  It’s also their best video.

Yeah, I own a 12″ single of “The Power of Love”.  What?

i’m all right website

“I’m Allright” by Kenny Loggins, from Caddyshack.  You know, ’cause I’m allright.

And “Footloose” is also by Kenny Loggins.  He also had two songs on the Top Gun soundtrack and, um, one in Caddyshack II.  All in all it was a pretty good decade for Kenny Loggins, but I think they’re all pretty good decades for Kenny Loggins, aren’t they?

footloose website

“Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop.  Remarkably, this song has already appeared on our website.

axel f

“(Don’t You) Forget About Me” by the Simple Minds.  A pretty memorable 80s soundtrack song, although I have always preferred the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink”.

By and large, I am too young to have identified with any of John Hughes’ film characters in any kind of contemporary way, although really only by a couple of years so these kids are more like older siblings to me.  Older siblings whose record collections I probably wouldn’t raid, I guess.

John Hughes himself once came into Hymie’s.  You’re probably going to believe me because if I made this up I probably wouldn’t choose John Hughes.  He bought a huge stack of country 45s.


Totally missing from this playlist: “Pet Cemetery” by the Ramones.  And I guess the Dirty Dancing song.

And the “Batdance”.

Tomorrow:  One more post about movie soundtracks, and then no more of them for a while, I promise.

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