A good movie theme song will take you back to the movie every time you hear it. How many times have you heard a song on the radio and could envision, not only what was happening on the movie screen at that moment, but exactly where you were as well? Music has the ability to transport and transform. Here are some movie theme songs that have made their way into our lives forever:
*”Jump in the Line (Shake Senora)” by Harry Belafonte. This is the song from “Beetlejuice” at the end of the movie where they are having a seance.
*”In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Who doesn’t remember this scene from “Say Anything”, where John Cusack is holding the boom box above his head, waiting for his lover to come back to him? It has become the anthem of jilted lovers (and would-be stalkers) everywhere.
*”Rocky’s Theme (Gonna Fly Now)” by Bill Conti. This theme from “Rocky” and “Rocky II” will forever conjure up images of conquering hardship. When you hear this song, you know good things are about to happen!
*”Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights from National Lampoon’s “Animal House” brings up images of debauchery and frat house mayhem.
*”Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” has been performed by countless singers over the years, but none will ever match the poignancy and heart of Judy Garland’s performance. It is the one etched into the heart of our nation.
*”Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel brings to mind coming of age and loss of innocence when we remember Dustin Hoffman in the pool scene with Anne Bancroft in “The Graduate”.
*”Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield brings to mind a very hip John Travolta and a mod Uma Thurman dancing in “Pulp Fiction”.
*”Twist and Shout” by the Beatles brings us to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and a big parade celebration of youth conquering age once again.
*And, “If You Were Here”, by the Thompson Twins has us sitting on a table over softly glowing birthday candles with Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles”.
Some movies transport us, but some seem to change entire generations. John Williams made magic twice with the soundtracks to the “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” trilogies, and it is impossible to know whether the movies were such landmark successes because of the music, or if it was the other way around. We can all sing along with music from movies like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “The Sound of Music”, and we’ll never see Tim Curry or Julie Andrews in any other way.
Some movies, though, can take us to the heart and feeling of another time. Forrest Gump took a new generation to the sixties and seventies with songs like “Break on Through To the Other Side” by The Doors, “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and “All Along the Watchtower” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They gave a young generation a glimpse into their parents’ experience. It seems there is no job too big for a good piece of music.