The music of summer movies past

Movies and music go hand in hand

Summer movies are often the catalyst for introducing a new song or popularizing lesser known tracks. Mixing dramatic or pivotal moments of a film with emotional or soaring music, can help transcend a particular scene and make the moment unforgettable to an audience.

I was thinking back to some of my favorite 80s movies and the songs that left an impression on me. While I could mention probably a dozen or so, I’ve narrowed them down to my personal top 5.

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

“Don’t You (Forget About Me),” has sort of become the official anthem for anyone who was a teenager in the 1980s. The song of course is remarkable, in that it captures the spirit of the movie; after we’re gone, we all want to be remembered. But this makes sense. The song wasn’t written by Simple Minds, rather the producer and composer who were scoring The Breakfast Club in late 1984. Both were big fans of Simple Minds and after a lot of chasing and convincing, the reluctant band recorded the song for the film and soundtrack. The song also appeared on the soundtrack for the 2004 film, Along Came Polly. starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Anniston.

4. “If You Leave” by O.M.D. (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark)

Honestly, were there any movies made in the 80s that Molly Ringwald didn’t appear in? Of course, but she was in quite a few biggies, including Pretty In Pink. O.M.D. perfectly captures the angst and pain of teenage heartache. I remember listening to this song quite a bit during one particular bad high school breakup.

3. “I Melt with You” by Modern English

For New Wave and Punk kids around America, who often felt ridiculed by the “popular” kids in school, 1983s Valley Girl gave us (at least it did for me) some shred of hope. Popular girl “Julie” meets “punk” Randy and the struggle to form a relationship ensues. They find love in the end and this song plays as the final scene fades and credits roll. Modern English had previously released the song the year before the film was shot, but after a producer on Valley Girl heard it on the radio, she decided to put it in the film. And, in the movie trailer.

2. “Caught Up in You” by .38 Special

By no means am I suggesting the 1983 movie Spring Break is a classic 80s flick. Trust me, it’s not. But, it did show a young impressionable kid like myself, what college spring break looks like in Ft. Lauderdale. The film’s story-line is flimsy and silly but one song appearing in movie captured my attention. It was my first introduction to .38 Special and it’s been a favorite ever since. Just don’t go looking for it on the movie soundtrack, for some reason they didn’t add it to the album.

1. “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne

For me, when I think of summertime movies from my youth, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is the first to come to mind. I guess I relate to the film because of the character Mark “Rat” Ratner. He was a “nice guy” who worked at the mall movie theater and really struggled with talking to girls. That was totally me. But, in the end, he was able to muster up the courage to ask out Stacy Hamilton. To me, this song by Jackson Browne, personifies being a teenager and longing for someone who seems out of reach. Which for me, what just about every girl in high school.

What movie songs do you remember from the 1980s?

Todd Hollst

Listen to Todd weekdays from 4 PM to 7 PM on The Eagle.

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