Smoke ’em If You Got ‘em. 20+ runaway music hits from the… | by Emile R. | FanFare | Oct, 2021

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20. “Alice (Underground)”

  • Artist: Avril Lavigne
  • Film: Alice In Wonderland (2010)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 71/100

Sample Lyrics: I found myself in Wonderland / Get back on my feet again / Is this real? Is this pretend? / I’ll take a stand until the end

Movie Quotes:

Alice: This is impossible.

The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.

From the voice that brought us “Complicated”, “Sk8er Boi”, “I’m With You”, “Smile”, and “Girlfriend”, to name a few — here’s another delightful treat worth exploring. And down the rabbit hole we go…

The hypnotic melody of “Alice (Underground)” is the brainchild of talented song-writer/performer Avril Lavigne. The song was specifically written for the dark fantasy adventure film Alice In Wonderland (2010), and was approved by the mad-hatter director himself, Tim Burton.

Did you know? This rare gem can also be found as a hidden track in her “Goodbye Lullaby” CD.

Avril Lavigne • Alice (Underground) • Alice in Wonderland • Disney UK / YouTube

19. “Gangsta’s Paradise”

  • Artist: Coolio feat. L.V.
  • Film: Dangerous Minds (1995)
  • Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death / I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left / ’Cause I’ve been blastin’ and laughin’ so long that / Even my momma thinks that my mind is gone

Movie Quotes: “Sometimes it gets a lot of wrong answers to get to the right one.” MICHELLE PFEIFFER as LouAnne Johnson

“Gangsta’s Paradise” was rapper Coolio’s breakthrough performance, earning him a spot at the top of the Billboard charts. The song was so popular at the time that even Weird Al Yankovic did his own parody of the hit single.

Did you know? The 90s throwback song was later revisited in the hilarious superhero action film The Green Hornet (2011).

Coolio • Gangsta’s Paradise • Dangerous Minds • Tommy Boy / YouTube

Related: Weird Al Yankovic’s hilarious parody of the classic cut.

Al Yankovic / YouTube

18. “Wild Thing”

  • Artist: Tone Lōc
  • Film: Uncle Buck (1988)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 2/100

Sample Lyrics (outro): Say what? / Yo love, you must be kidding / You’re walkin’ babe / Just break out of here / Hasta la vista, baby / Wild thing

Movie Quotes:

Miles: You have much more hair in your nose than my dad.

Uncle Buck: How nice of you to notice.

Miles: I’m a kid, that’s my job.

With all that’s come and gone, Tone Lōc’s vision still holds true. The rapper’s raspy voice and clever lyrics are still the bee’s knees and cat’s pajamas. And thanks to that killer soundtrack, John Candy couldn’t be more in charge waltzing down the school hallways to that jazzy jungle beat.

Tone Lōc • Wild Thing • Uncle Buck • Dance Pop4U / YouTube

17. “Danger Zone”

  • Artist: Kenny Loggins
  • Film: Top Gun (1986)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 2/100

Sample Lyrics: Revvin’ up your engine / Listen to her howlin’ roar / Metal under tension / Beggin’ you to touch and go / Highway to the danger zone / Ride into the danger zone

Movie Quotes: “I feel the need… the need for speed!” — Maverick & Goose

Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” captures the energy and excitement of the film (starring Tom Cruise) in this electrifying roller coaster ride.

The classic cut peaked at №2 on the charts, bested only by his №1 hit “Footloose” (1984). The Top Gun soundtrack was a best seller in 1986, and is still one of the greatest selling albums of all time.

Kenny Loggins • Danger Zone • Top Gun • Kenny Loggins / YouTube

16. “Don’t you (Forget About Me)”

  • Artist: Simple Minds
  • Film: Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: Now don’t you forget about me / I’ll be alone, dancing and you know it, baby / Going to take you apart / I’ll put us back together at heart, baby

Movie Quotes: “Dear Mr. Vernon, We Accept The Fact That We Had To Sacrifice A Whole Saturday In Detention For Whatever It Was We Did Wrong. But We Think You’re Crazy To Make Us Write An Essay Telling You Who We Think We Are…” Brian Johnson

The Breakfast Club is said to be the quintessential John Hughes film, and has often been described as “the ultimate high school comedy-drama of all time.” But the magic would not be complete without a hit single to coincide with the film…

“Don’t you (Forget About Me)” was a monster hit for the Scottish rock band Simple Minds, and reportedly still gets plenty of airplay on American radio.

Simple Minds • Simple Don’t You (Forget About Me) • The Breakfast Club • HD Film Tributes / YouTube

15. “Shakedown”

  • Artist: Bob Seger
  • Film: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: It’s a given L.A. law / Someone’s faster on the draw / No matter where you hide / I’m comin’ after you

Movie Quotes:

Axel Foley: You just hit a squad car!

Billy Rosewood: It’s okay, I know the guy. He’s a jerk.

If this one doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what will. “Shakedown” was a #1 hit for Bob Seger in the U.S. and Canada. The blistering track is performed during the wild chase scene in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Alex “Axel” Foley with flying colors, and the film, arguably the best one of the series, is explosive and a whole lot of fun.

Bob Seger • Shakedown • Beverly Hills Cop II • DjLara Mexico / YouTube

14. “Ghostbusters”

  • Artist: Ray Parker Jr.
  • Film: Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: If it’s somethin’ weird / An’ it don’t look good / Who ya gonna call? / (Ghostbusters!)

Movie Quotes:

Peter Venkman: He slimed me. I feel so funky.

Ray Stantz: Spengler! I’m with Venkman! He got slimed!

Egon Spengler: That’s great, Ray! Save some for me!

Here’s one ghostly special that refuses to fade away. Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” is infectious and wildly entertaining, one that’ll have you bouncing off the walls and chanting right along: “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”

Check out cameo appearances in the music video by Chevy Chase, John Candy, Melissa Gilbert, Peter Falk, and Danny DeVito, among others.

RAY PARKER JR. • Ghostbusters (1984) • Video Hits / YouTube

13. “Day-O” (Banana Boat Song)

  • Artist: Harry Belafonte
  • Film: Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Original recording/release: 1955–56
  • Top 40 Weekly Rating: 5 (9th March, 1957)

Sample Lyrics: Come, mister tally man, tally me banana / (Daylight come and me wan’ go home) / Come, mister tally man, tally me banana / (Daylight come and me wan’ go home)

Movie Quotes: “I’m a ghost with the most, babe.” Beetlejuice

Enter the “King of Calypso”! Harry Belafonte hit it out of the park with his recording of “The Banana Boat Song” and signature lyric “Day-O”. The Jamaican folk song remains a fan favorite, especially around the holidays, particularly on Halloween.

The award-winning film Beetlejuice was a runaway hit, grossing over $73 million dollars in the box office. Kudos to director Tim Burton for his visionary approach on everything he touches.

Harry Belafonte • Day-O (Banana Boat Song) • Beetlejuice • Lipebianc / YouTube

12. “Here I Am” / “You Can’t Take Me”

  • Artist: Bryan Adams
  • Film: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 23/100

Sample Lyrics: It’s a new world, it’s a new start / It’s alive with the beating of young hearts / It’s a new day, it’s a new plan / I’ve been waiting for you / Here I am

Movie Quotes: “Take care of her, Spirit who could not be broken.” Little Creek

If you’re into the spirit of the Old West: Saddle up, pardner, you’re in for a ride! Beautifully written and scored, “Here I Am” and “You Can’t Take Me” recall the (unique) adventurous journey of a hero unlike any other.

Alternate (updated) versions (of this double-whammy) can also be found in other Bryan Adams CD compilations.

Bryan Adams • Here I Am • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron / YouTube

11. “Two Steps Behind”

  • Artist: Def Leppard
  • Film: Last Action Hero (1993)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: Take the time to think about it / Just walk the line, you know you just can’t fight it / Take a look around you’ll see what you can find / Like the fire that’s burnin’ up inside me

Movie Quotes:

Slater: I’ll be back! Ha! You didn’t know I was gonna say that, did you?

Danny: That’s what you always say!

Slater: I do?

Danny: Everyone keeps waiting for you to work it in. It’s kind of like your calling card.

In a time when hard-rock was no longer considered relevant (or relatable), Def Leppard managed to keep up the pace with this classic track. “Two Steps Behind” (acoustic version) was originally released as a B-side single and re-released for the Last Action Hero soundtrack (as well as the band’s Retro-Active compilation album).

Though the film tanked at the box office, the soundtrack was a hot seller and featured the likes of: Aerosmith, Tesla, AC-DC, and Megadeth, among others. Last Action Hero (1993) later found its footing with its VHS release, and the satire action comedy is now considered a cult classic.

Def Leppard & Taylor Swift • Two Steps Behind (Live) • Last Action Hero • Xibalba Rock GT / YouTube

10. “Cry Little Sister”

  • Artist: Gerard McMahon
  • Film: The Lost Boys (1987)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 15/200

Sample Lyrics: Cry, little sister! (Thou shalt not fall) / Come, come to your brother! (Thou shalt not die) / Unchain me, sister! (Thou shalt not fear) / Love is with your brother! (Thou shalt not kill)

Movie Quotes: “I think I should warn you all, when a vampire bites it, it’s never a pretty sight. No two bloodsuckers go the same way. Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them.” — COREY FELDMAN as Edgar Frog

The Lost Boys is arguably the best (and coolest) vampire film in cinematic history. With rockin’ anthems and heart-stopping action, this humorous cult classic pumps new blood into an already ill-faded sub-genre. Like the film, “Cry Little Sister” is truly a thing of beauty that has endured the test of time.

Gerard McMahon • Cry Little Sister • The Lost Boys • tryptychUK / YouTube

9. “I Disappear”

  • Artist: Metallica
  • Film: Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
  • Top Billboard Rating (Mainstream Rock Airplay): 1/100

Sample Lyrics: Do you bury me when I’m gone? / Do you teach me while I’m here? / Just as soon as I belong / Then it’s time I disappear

Movie Quotes: “Good morning, Mr. Hunt. Your mission, should you choose to accept it…” — Mission Commander Swanbeck

Metallica may have started out playing thrash-metal, but this explosive track is more hard-rock driven than anything else. While James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich forged its creation, it was Bob Rock who brought it to life.

Metallica • I Disappear • M:I 2 • M1z44h / YouTube

8. “One Of The Living” / “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”

  • Artist: Tina Turner
  • Film: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 15/100, 2/100

Sample Lyrics: They always said that the living would envy the dead…

Movie Quotes: “But he’s just a raggedy man!” — Tina Turner as Auntie Entity

Co-starring with Mel Gibson, Tina Turner delivers a tour de force performance (as the villainous femme fatale with a conscience) in the post-apocalyptic dystopian action epic… Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

From the opening moments of the film, we were hooked. Tina Turner was at the top of her game, and her music is still as relevant (and iconic) as it ever was. Both singles were critically acclaimed, and are, hands down, two of her greatest hits of all time.

Tina Turner • One of the Living / We Don’t Need Another Hero HD • Mad Max • John Stone / YouTube

7. “Cruisin’”

  • Artist: Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis
  • Film: Duets (2000)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: You’re gonna fly away, glad you’re goin’ my way / I love it when we’re cruisin’ together / Music is played for love, cruisin’ is made for love / I love it when we’re cruisin’ together

Movie Quotes: “I can’t go back to who I was. I’m different now. I sing.” — Todd Woods

“Cruisin’” was a surprise hit by singing duo Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis. Who would’ve thought the beautiful and talented young actress could hold her own in the presence of “rock royalty”?

The single went to №1 in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, and settled to the №4 spot in Iceland. Can you say: frábær? Need I say more? This one is a keeper!

Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis • Cruisin • Duets • Gabriel Moreno / YouTube

6. “You’re The One That I Want”

  • Artist: John Travolta & Olivia Newton John
  • Film: Grease (1978)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: I got chills, they’re multiplying / And I’m losing control / ’Cause the power you’re supplying / It’s electrifying

Movie Quotes: “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes.” — Vince Fontaine.

Snagging up the №6 spot on our list… a classic tune that is sure to raise your spirits while rocking “the hand jive” to the original high school musical.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John had such a blast (during production), they sure had no reservations when it came to later collaborations. “Tell me about it, stud…”

John Travolta And Olivia Newton John • You’re The One That I Want • Grease • VideosMusicaVEVO / YouTube

5. “Hungry Eyes” / “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”

  • Artist: Eric Carmen / Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  • Film: Dirty Dancing (1987)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 4/100, 1/100

Sample Lyrics: Now I’ve got you in my sights / With these hungry eyes / Now did I take you by surprise / I need you to see / This love was meant to be

Movie Quotes: “Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” Frances “Baby” Houseman

“Hungry Eyes” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” are timeless classics, for sure. With over 30 million copies sold worldwide, the Dirty Dancing original soundtrack is considered one of the best-selling albums of all time.

And to top it all off, the movie rocks, too! Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey star in the forbidden love story set in Catskills, NY in the summer of 1963.

Geographical Factoid: Believe it or not, the film was actually shot in Lake Lure, North Carolina, and Mountain Lake, Virginia.

Eric Carmen • Hungry Eyes (dance scene) • Dirty Dancing • mikimike / YouTube

Related:

Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes • Time of my Life (final dance) • Dirty Dancing • CPhillips92 / YouTube

4. “Stayin’ Alive” / “How Deep Is Your Love”

  • Artist: Bee-Gees
  • Film: Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100 (respectively)

Sample Lyrics: Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk / I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk / Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around / Since I was born

Movie Quotes: “Would ya just watch the hair. Ya know, I spend a long time on my hair and he hit it; he hit my hair.” — JOHN TRAVOLTA as Tony Manero

For our fourth & final double-whammy on the countdown, I present to you… “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love” by the 70s sensational musical act, the Bee Gees.

Featuring material from various artists, the Saturday Night Fever original soundtrack is a treasure trove of golden hits and hidden gems waiting to be unearthed and (re)discovered all over again.

Much can be said of “The Disco Kings” and the celebrated film starring John Travolta. But for this one, we let the music do the talking…

Bee Gees • Stayin’ Alive • Saturday Night Fever • BetaAquilae / YouTube

3. “Eye of the Tiger”

  • Artist: Survivor
  • Film: Rocky III (1982)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: It’s the eye of the tiger / It’s the thrill of the fight / Rising up to the challenge of our rival / And the last known survivor / Stalks his prey in the night / And he’s watching us all with the e-y-e of the tiger

Movie Quotes:

Clubber Lang: I’ll bust you up!

Rocky Balboa: Go for it!

Survivor’s #1 hit single “Eye of the Tiger” is the ultimate (hard-rock) fight song — as shown in the opening sequence of Rocky III. The film is thrilling and engaging, and like the previous other two, this action-drama (written and directed by Sylvester Stallone) is never shy of expressing emotion.

Survivor • Eye of the Tiger • Rocky III • HD Film Tributes / YouTube

2. “Blaze of Glory”

  • Artist: Jon Bon Jovi
  • Film: Young Guns II (1990)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics:

Each night I go to bed

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

No, I ain’t lookin’ for forgiveness

But before I’m six foot deep

Lord, I got to ask a favor

And I’ll hope you’ll understand

’Cause I’ve lived life to the fullest

Let this boy die like a man

Starin’ down the bullet

Let me make my final stand

Movie Quotes:

Doc: William H. Bonney, you are not a god!

Billy the Kid: Why don’t you pull the trigger and find out!

Young Guns is the western biopic of William H. Bonney (aka Billy the Kid) set in New Mexico during the (late-1870s) Lincoln County War. The 1988 film proved to be a smart venture for Emilio Estevez and his brother Charlie Sheen.

In the wake of a new decade, screenwriter John Fusco churned another great script for the boys –Young Guns II, the continuing adventures of the notorious gunman and his affiliated gang. But by then the industry was changing, and Morgan Creek Productions was in need of a miracle fast.

In his attempt to recapture the magic of the original, Emilio reached out to his pal and confidant Jon Bon Jovi. Jon, the gifted songwriter that he is, was more than happy to assist and went to work right away.

There was a lot riding on this, and many wondered if the Jersey rocker was capable of the challenge. Within moments of their meeting, however, Jon had all the makings of a bona fide hit (on a piece of napkin, no less) — the title reading: “Blaze of Glory”.

As the legend goes… Emilio and his Regulators scored big with audiences, and Jon’s creative efforts would not go unnoticed for long. The hit single was to be the “biggest draw” in Jon Bon Jovi’s solo career, reaching #1 on the charts and earning him a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

R&R Factoid: The award nominated album also features the great talents of Elton John, Little Richard, and Jeff Beck.

Jon Bon Jovi • Blaze Of Glory • Young Guns II • JonBonJoviVEVO / YouTube

1. “The Power of Love”

  • Artist: Huey Lewis & The News
  • Film: Back To The Future (1985)
  • Top Billboard Rating: 1/100

Sample Lyrics: You don’t need money, don’t take fame / Don’t need no credit card to ride this train / It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes / But it might just save your life / That’s the power of love

Movie Quotes:

Doc Brown: One point twenty one gigawatts! Great Scott!!

Marty McFly: What? What the hell is a ‘gigawatt’?!

gig-a-watt

noun

:a unit of power equal to one billion watts

The year was 1985, and Hollywood icons Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale were up to no good — something wickedly fun and out of this world! Back To The Future, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, was taking the world by storm with its (wacky) sci-fi/fantasy adventure.

Suddenly “time-traveling” was all the rage, and its appeal was not without its merits. Here we had young Marty McFly and his friend Doc Brown travel back in time to the 1950s. Their mission: To rectify a personal family matter and restore “the space-time continuum”.

From start to finish, the film is a dazzling display of endless fun and cinematic ingenuity. It is masterful storytelling at its best! Who knew time-traveling could be so perplexing (yet so entertaining)?

And now on with the music: Rounding up our countdown for the №1 spot, another blast from the past, this time by Huey Lewis and the News.

“The Power of Love” peaked at #1 in the U.S. before gaining traction across the map. By then, Huey and the boys were a force to be reckoned with, scoring not one, but two smash hits on the original soundtrack.

Written specifically for the film, “The Power of Love” (and “Back in Time”) proved to be a major feat for the songwriter-performer, considering he initially had rejected the idea for fear of treading unfamiliar waters.

Check out the throwback music video of the greatest time-traveling adventure ever told…

Huey Lewis & The News • The Power Of Love • Back To The Future • hueylewisofficial / YouTube

This concludes our countdown of runaway hits from the motion picture category. Did I hit all the notes or did I miss a beat? Let us know in the comments section. Thanks.

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