Tag Archives: Music

Footloose (1984)

Those involved with making movies dream of having that unexpected small-budget movie reap big box office numbers.  The rarer feat is when the soundtrack equals the success of the movie, and, in some cases, exceeds it.  When one thinks of iconic soundtracks in the 80’s, one of the first to spring to mind is Footloose.

FootloosesoundtrackalbumcoverFootloose has all of the ingredients needed to be a successful soundtrack in the 80’s:

  • Kenny Loggins – He accounts for 2 of the original 9 tracks, including the title song that has become the one thing Kevin Bacon dreads hearing at parties.
  • Pop tunes mixed in with what passed for rock in the 80’s
  • Several radio singles – 5 songs were bona fide hits, most notably the title track and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero”

Footloose also benefits from being one of the few soundtracks that was reissued at least 15 years after its initial release.  The reissue added 4 tracks that, while decent, really didn’t do much to add value to this soundtrack.

Here is the track list:

  • Footloose (Kenny Loggins) – An infectious party song that still gets people tapping their toes and feeling good about the event they are attending.  This is one of a handful of songs that Loggins provided the late 70s and 80s that made him a go-to artist for soundtracks.
  • Let’s Hear It For The Boy (Deniece Williams) – An easily forgettable pop song that did well over the summer of its initial release, but not a song that endures.
  • Almost Paradise (Mike Reno/Ann Wilson) – The love ballad of the movie powered by the strong vocals of the lead singers from Loverboy and Heart.  You could not avoid this song for most of the 80s at weddings and dances.
  • Holding Out For A Hero (Bonnie Tyler) – Strong music combined with a raspy, sultry voice, this song became a double-threat.  Introduced in Footloose, Hero took on a life of its own by becoming the title song for the TV show, Cover-Up.  Even David Copperfield got into it by using it as the music for his levitating over the Grand Canyon trick.
  • Dancing In The Streets (Shalimar) – Another pop song that proved a one-hit wonder for its singers graces the list.
  • I’m Free (Kenny Loggins) – Loggins’s second contribution to the soundtrack is actually the better song of the two.  This was used to help showcase Ren’s gymnastic montage.
  • Somebody’s Eyes (Karla Bonoff) – I had to go back and listen to the track to remember this forgettable song.  It was most likely used as filler in one of the malt shop scenes.
  • The Girl Gets Around (Sammy Hagar) – Used to introduce the wild side of the preacher’s daughter, I enjoy this song whenever it pops up on the old playlist, particularly driving down the road.  One cannot forget seeing Ariel riding two trucks down the road like a water skier at Crystal Springs.
  • Never (Moving Pictures) – This was also used in the gymnastic montage.  While not a bad choice to end the soundtrack on, it definitely is not a song you remember for long.

My advice:  Pop this on the next time you are driving or doing housework – the fast nature of most songs will help speed up time while letting you enjoy a trip to the 80’s…

Musical Memory for 11/14 – 11/20

In other reviews and editorials, I think I have made it pretty clear about how important I feel music is to a movie.  There are some directors that even agree with me, going so far as to treat the soundtrack as another character to be woven into the story.  Today’s memory has to do with one such director: Quentin Tarantino.

Just the mention of his name evokes strong reactions regarding his movies.  When being interviewed after the release of Pulp Fiction, he talked about how he wanted a certain sound to go with what was on-screen.  He had done this previously with Resevoir Dogs, the subject of this memory.  In the movie regarding a heist gone sour, Tarantino used 70s music to create links to movies like Dog Day Afternoon.  In arguably the most famous scene of Resevoir Dogs, Michael Madsen is in the process of torturing a cop.  Steven Wright, our “radio” narrator, introduces another classic from the 70s, “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheels.   As the song plays, Madsen starts dancing around and ends up chopping off the ear of the cop.

Just to give you an idea of how powerul this imagery is, I was watching Morning Glory the other day and heard Michael Buble’s version.  As soon as it started playing, I flashed for a second on Resevoir Dogs before returning focus to the movie.

So, whenever I hear “Stuck In The Middle With You,” I think of Resevoir Dogs…

Musical Memory for 9/12 – 9/18

This week’s musical memory takes us into the realm of disco and sci-fi….

Whenever you go to certain events, those tasked with “keeping the party going” know that there are a handful of songs that get people up and full of energy.  To most people’s embarrassment, that includes a number of songs from the age of Disco.

“Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry has been used a number of times on TV and in movies to underscore parties and other events.  My first memory of the song was actually hearing it on the radio as I was doing small chores growing up.  But any memories I may have had of hearing the song were wiped away by the one made watching Evolution.  For those not wanting to click the link to read my review, Evolution was a sci-fi comedy about Earth being overrun by a rapidly developing alien race.  In one part of the movie, David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, and Sean William Scott have just brought down an alien creature in a shopping mall.  As the scene switches to a desert highway, the familiar opening guitar riffs of “Play That Funky Music” blast the audience as we see the Jeep with our heroes and their dead trophy head towards the army base.  Everyone is happy and celebrating.  Nice scene with a great choice of music to keep the energy up.

So, whenever I hear “Play That Funky Music,” I think of Evolution…

Musical Memory for 9/5 – 9/11

Over the years, I have made mention of how important I feel music is to movies.  Play the wrong song at the wrong time and you could end up with some of cinema’s greatest scenes never existing.  Since I have tied those together so much, I find myself flashing instantly on certain scenes from movies whenever I hear certain songs.

As a new feature, I will periodically post a new entry in this category.  Now, I am ruling out traditional musicals, such as Chicago, Grease, and The Sound of Music; non-traditional musicals, such as Footloose and Empire Records, are allowed.  Take a look at my entry and feel free to share yours….

My first selection comes from Grosse Pointe Blank.  For those that have not seen the movie, it involves a hitman going to his 10-year high school reunion.  At one point during the reunion, John Cusack is holding a baby and Queen’s “Under Pressure” begins playing.  At the height of the song, Cusack comes to terms with certain things.  Great moment visually.

So, whenever I hear “Under Pressure,” I think of Grosse Pointe Blank….

That Old Familiar Tune

Back in November, I wrote an editorial as a response to CNN.com’s article about the death of the movie theme song.  TAM readers easily noted that movie music means a lot to me.

So why does movie music deserve a second editorial?

Well, this one deals with the reuse of music within movies and TV.

Don’t get me wrong — I am aware of music having a finite number of ways of being arranged.  It is also unavoidable in movie series such as Star Wars.

So, I am sitting there one night, watching Moonlight on my DVR.  For those that do not know what that is, Moonlight was a show on CBS last season that dealt with a vampire detective that helped people (Hmm sounds like a show called Forever Knight or even more recently, Angel).  As the two lovebirds are enjoying a romantic moment, a song starts playing and it took me a few minutes to realize that it was from the Buffy TV soundtrack (not the musical) and was used in a similar situation.

Of course I got upset at this and started thinking about all of the times it has happened in movies.

At this point, I cue the rolling eyes of Spaldy since she knows what I am going to discuss next.

In movies, there is one example that rises above all others: John Williams.

I love his music and own several of his soundtracks.  One of those CDs is the Hook soundtrack.  Great music that really works with the music.  Which brings me to Harry Potter.  As much as I do enjoy the music, I can’t help but be irritated each time I hear the main theme, which is very similar to Hook.  I guess he figured that since Hook did not do well at the box office or in the music business, that no one would notice him ripping off major portions of it.

So why discuss this stuff?

Because, as an audience, we should care.  As much as we get upset at recycled movie plots, we should be equally upset at obvious recycling of music.  The music helps tie the story together and, at times, helps flesh out the emotions the director and writer wanted us to feel.

Think about that the next time you hum a tune from your favorite movie…