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Top 10: 80’s Film Songs

In one of my most tenuous reasons for a Top 10 List – Ghostbusters had one of the best theme songs of the Eighties. Here is my top 10!

The remake of Ghostbusters opens  today, and that reminded me just how much I love the original. I’m pretty optimistic this fresh take will be entertaining in its own right, but the one area it will definitely not be able to match the 1984 version is in its theme tune. Now, acknowledging that the role of a theme song has changed – basically another marketing tool to allow easier promotion on musical channels and radio, and I can’t believe anyone actually makes any money on single song releases anymore – the Fall Out Boy song featuring Missy Elliott…

… although decent, just doesn’t match up to the original

Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters is one of the very best film songs of the 80s, so I decided to make a Top 10 of my other favourite songs from 80s films.

To qualify for this prestigious list, songs had to be released as a single (Huey Lewis’ Back In TIme was never released), had to be “original” (so not an already popular song used on a soundtrack, but I’ve been a bit lenient with some songs not written specifically for a certain film) and… well, had to be in a film in the 80s, I guess! And it has to be a proper song that would get played on a normal radio station – so Gonna Fly Now from Rocky missed out for example.


Just missing out – Hearts On Fire by John Cafferty

It doesn’t get much more 80’s than that! Burning Heart also just missed making the cut.

I guess maybe you can have too much Rocky IV

10. Rock Me Amadeus by Falco 

A personal favourite due it appropriation into The Simpsons’ Planet Of The Apes musical, this is from the Mozart biopic Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984).

9. Shakedown by Bob Seger

Just a really cool song, from Beverly Hills Cop II (Tony Scott, 1984). And if you’re wondering, yes The Crazy Frog DID ruin Axel F for me.

8. You’re The Best by Joe Esposito

From The Karate Kid (Joihn G. Avildsen, 1984), it was originally written for Rocky III, but got replaced by…

7. Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor

I think they made a good choice. In case you’re wondering, Rocky III (Sylvester Stallone, 1982) is the one with Clubber Lang (Mr T), and ends with the fight with Apollo Creed in the gym. Hulk Hogan’s cameo as Thunderlips also launched his wrestling career into the stratosphere, propelling the WWF to bigger heights than ever.

6. Weird Science by Oingo Boingo

Probably my least favourite film on this list, Weird Science (John Hughes, 1985) kind of loses it’s way about half way through. The Oingo Boingo song is brilliant though, and if you didn’t know, the lead singer is Danny Elfman, film composer extraordinaire, whose work includes most of Tim Burtons’ soundtracks, the Spiderman films, and of course, the theme tune to The Simpsons.

5. I’m Alright by Kenny Loggins

I only actually saw Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980) many, many years after hearing this song, and even then, I thought it was a well known song being used in a film. I always assumed this was a pop/rock classic. I suppose it is, but you get my point.

4. Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins

And another Kenny Loggins song! I don’t particularly like Footloose (the film or the song), I’m not sure why, but I just don’t. Maybe it’s my love for Archerbut Danger Zone was always making it to the upper reaches of my list. It’s from Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986) in case you’ve clicked on this website by accident and have never watched any films ever!

3. Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds

Iconic because of its placement in the finale of The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985), Simple Minds famously aren’t fans of it, despite the huge success it brought them. It was also used at the end of the pilot episode of Communitywhich was dedicated to John Hughes. And, do it with me… fist pump… freeze frame!

2. We Don’t Need Another Hero by Tina Turner

Maybe a surprising choice, especially this high? I just really, really like it! Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome (George Miller and George Ogilvile, 1985) was the last of the original Mad Max series before Tom Hardy took over the mantel in last years excellent Mad Max: Fury RoadThe kid’s choir included future England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio!

1. Living In America by James Brown

So, I reckon James Brown in The Blues Brothers is probably my favourite music performance in film (or at least in my Top 5… hey, there’s a potential article!), and so I’m happy to give him the number 1 for this song. Like so many song in this list, I was absolutely shocked that it was actually written for a film, and not a popular classic shoehorned into a film. Rocky IV (Sylvester Stallone, 1985) is a ridiculously over the top, patriotic film, and Living In America is the perfect song at the perfect time. And I’m not even American!

And that is my list! Let me know what I’ve overlooked in the comments!

Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.

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About James is Outta Bubblegum

Favourite Film: This Is Spinal Tap (1984)



  1. Pingback: 56 Days, 56 Christmas Films: Day 2 – Rocky IV | The Snooty Ushers - November 1, 2016

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