The 30 Best Movie Songs of the Last 40 Years – Part III

17 Aug

The 30 Best Movie Songs of the Last 40 Years – The Meryl Streep Tier (10 – 1)

Oh boy, we’ve made it to the ten best songs made for movies in the last 40 years. The anticipation is almost too much. It makes me want to express myself through song. Who will take the crown? Click below to find out… (Or click here to go back to see the start of the list.)

10. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, by Bryan Adams, from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Any time a song’s Wikipedia page starts with the descriptor “a soft rock power ballad by Canadian singer Bryan Adams”, you know you’re on to a winner. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack, was an absolute powerhouse, with Adams robbing chart position from the rich and giving it to himself. It was a mainstay in the number 1 position all over the globe, spending a Little John sized 16 consecutive weeks at the top in the UK and being the biggest US single of the year.

Stats: Number 1 in the US, UK, and Australia; Grammy win; Academy Award nomination; Golden Globe nomination.

Penalty Points: It doesn’t feature a Morgan Freeman spoken interlude.

Bonus Points: It doesn’t feature a Kevin Costner chorus.

9. Lose Yourself, by Eminem, from 8 Mile (2002)

If you had one shot, one opportunity, to release a lead single from your debut film, would you capture it? Eminem certainly did with the release of Lose Yourself, a record breaking song argued by many as Eminem’s best ever. After being number 1 in 24 countries, including 12 week stints atop the US and Australian charts, Lose Yourself became the first rap song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It might also have been the first rap song to use the phrase “mom’s spaghetti”.

Stats: Number 1 in the US, UK, and Australia; Grammy win; Academy Award nomination; Golden Globe nomination.

Penalty Points: Eminem will need a new sweater.

Bonus Points: Sung the song and starred in the film; Eminem wrote the song during breaks on set, and you can see his actual notes as his character, B-Rabbit, is writing raps in the film. Pretty cool.  (The name B-Rabbit?  Not so much.)

8. End of the Road, by Boyz II Men, from Boomerang (1991)

Boyz II Men’s mega hit spent so much time at number one on charts around the world that one could be forgiven for thinking that the end of the road was never going to come for the song. Incredibly, End of the Road became Motown’s biggest hit ever, overtaking song 22 on this list, after setting a record for the most weeks at number 1 on the US charts with 13, breaking Elvis Presley’s 36 year record. (Spoiler alert: this record would be broken by the song that would reach number one only 2 weeks later. A song that may or may not make a forthcoming appearance on this list…) A heart wrenching, emotional journey, End of the Road remains a favourite of karaoke singers, anybody doing a musical salute to the end of an era, and people who love performing rumbling, deep bass spoken interludes.

Stats: Number 1 in the US, UK, and Australia.

Penalty Points: Ten bucks says you didn’t know what film End of the Road came from.

Bonus Points: The spoken interlude by band member Michael McCary; The music video is magic!  It should be called, ‘Four Guys With Flattops, in Various Matching Outfits, Getting Insanely Emotional.’  What the hell are they wearing at the 2.20 mark?!?!

7.  Flashdance…What a Feeling, by Irene Cara, from Flashdance (1983)

Irene Cara only ever had a single number one track, but what a barnstormer it was. The soundtrack to Flashdance, the film about a female welder/stripper named Alex who wants to dance for a living (we’ve all been there), was hugely successful and produced several hits, including Maniac, but Flashdance…What a Feeling was the enduring success. It’s played at the beginning of the film, but it will always be remembered for its use at the movie’s climax, where Alex auditions for dance school. When she totally nails it? What a feeling!

Stats: Number 1 in the US and Australia, number 2 in the UK; Academy Award win; Golden Globe win.

Penalty Points: Did we really need the word ‘Flashdance’ in the title when it’s not even a lyric in the song? We know what movie it’s from. (Maybe Boyz II Men should have named their track ‘Boomerang…End of the Road’?)

Bonus Points: Phenomenal spoofability; phenomenal leg warmers.

6.  Don’t You Forget About Me, by Simple Minds, from The Breakfast Club (1985)

Don’t You Forget About Me and The Breakfast Club are as synonymous as a movie and its signature song can be, to the point where some call the track ‘The Breakfast Club Theme Song’. One of legendary ‘80s writer/director John Hughes’ most loved works, The Breakfast Club is a comedy drama about a bunch of teens from different walks of life stuck in detention together and slowly realising that they have more in common than they would have thought. (A film that, were it made today, would just be 90 minutes of kids on their smartphones not talking to each other.) Billy Idol was asked to record the song but declined, and eventually the gig was given to Simple Minds, who took some convincing to accept the job. In fact, even after the song became their biggest hit they distanced themselves from it, not even featuring it on their album (they finally put in on their greatest hits album Glittering Prize 81/92 in 1992). No matter what the band does, however, Don’t You Forget About Me and The Breakfast Club will forever be intertwined. We won’t forget about Simple Minds for sure.

Stats: Number 1 in the US, number 6 in Australia, number 7 in the UK (although it remained on the UK charts from 1985 to 1987).

Penalty Points: Come on Simple Minds, just accept the fact that your best song was one written for you for a teen movie.

Bonus Points: Being on a John Hughes film soundtrack is always an honour; that climactic image of Judd Nelson on the football field, fist up.

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