Since I’m a pop culture sponge, this will be a first in a series of playlists from me. I felt it was only fair since we just recently passed the Oscars. I felt it was time to highlight the music of the movies.
1: The Theme From The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly – Ennio Morricone
I decided to start this playlist off with a bang from a six shooter. Ennio Morricone’s most recognizable work of all time still resonates as one of the best film themes of all time.
2: Django – Luis Bacalov
Like the prior track on this list, the opening song from Django Unchained sets the table for the grizzly spaghetti western to come.
3: You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
Take a hyper stylized diner then proceed to add a hitman, the wife of a crime boss, a waiter dressed as Buddy Holly, a dead on Ed Sullivan impersonator, a twist contest that ends up with of all things a Batusi and you get one of the most memorable music usages in film history.
4: Harlem Shuffle — Bob & Earl
If Quentin Tarantino wins the gold for his soundtracks then you might as well give Edgar Wright the silver. This selection from the Baby Driver soundtrack is a deft usage of this 60’s soul hit not only sets the style but the comedic tone for the rest of the movie. Also as a side note, if I hear this song’s iconic first three notes and it ends up being House Of Pain’s “Jump Around”, I’ll be very upset.
5: Goody Two Shoes – Adam Ant
Another one of the great selections from the Edgar Wright’s film catalogue, this song sets the perfect tone for Nicholas Angel character in “Hot Fuzz”. It plays under some funny exposition and highly stylized visuals during the film’s opening scene.
6: Jump (For My Love) – Pointer Sisters
One of the funniest film moments in recent film history is Hugh Grant’s dance scene from Richard Curtis’s Love Actually. This energetic 80’s dance hit makes you want to dance in your bedroom, down your front stairs, through a hallway and ending up in your front foyer before you comedically get caught.
7: Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
From it’s epic opening to it’s torrid pace, what’s not to love about the first song from Purple Rain which is one of film’s most memorable soundtracks.
8: You’re The Best Around – Joe “Bean” Esposito
This earworm from the original Karate Kid is as cheesy as it is weirdly inspiring but what can I say I have a soft spot for montage music.
9: Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
Speaking of montage music, this perfect example of mid 80’s hair metal is put perfectly on display during the opening montage of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky III. A little piece of trivia, this music was briefly Hulk Hogan’s theme music before Real American.
10: Training Montage – Vince DiCola
When you thought this list couldn’t get any cheesier, I pull out the synth montage theme from Rocky IV. I debated putting in Gonna Fly Now from the original Rocky but I felt this ridiculous score track added a certain piece of nostalgia from my childhood that I could not forget.
11: The World Of The Heart – Randy Edelman
The main theme from 1996’s Dragonheart has done everything from being the score from your favourite trailer to being used during the occasional in-memoriam section.
12: Last Waltz – Cho Young-Wuk
Seeing as Oldboy is one of my favourite foreign films, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this sweet twisted little ditty from its score to the list.
13: The Baddest Man Alive – The Black Keys ft. Rza
If you haven’t seen The Man With The Iron Fists please do so, if only for the glory of watching Russell Crowe at his scenery chewing best. This song is a perfect reflection what this film is. It’s a dirty, grimy joint, that’s glossy and well produced.
14: Another Way To Die – Jack White feat. Alicia Keys
Best part of Quantum of Solace period. End of Sentence.
15: Fox On The Run – Sweet
You might recognize it as a track from Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2 but I remember this as a track that played before shows at Yuk Yuk’s when I was starting out.
16: All The Stars – Kendrick Lamar feat. Sza
All apologies to Jay-Z but this is “Black Superhero Music.” The end credits track from Black Panther, is a glossy callback to the superhero soundtrack tunes of yesteryear.
17: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmeralda
This song plays during the build up to the climatic scene in “Kill Bill: Volume 1”, this song’s flamenco groove will make you forget about it’s endulgent length.
18: Jai Ho – A.R Rahman
If you’re going to listen one version of this song, let it be this one and not the abomination of a remix with the Pussycat Dolls. Its lush Bollywood rhythm sets the tone for the last images of “Slumdog Millionaire”.
19: The Lonely Shepherd – Zamfir
A little pan flute infused spaghetti western music never hurt anybody. It’s sort of the instrumental cigarette you needed after the climax of Kill Bill: Volume 1.
20: Ecstasy Of Gold – Ennio Morricone
We bring it back home on the range to finish off this musical journey. You don’t have to go frantically searching around a graveyard like Eli Wallach at the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly because this song is readily available on Spotify.