Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 FAVORITES (43) - The Movies In My Songs

It has been over a year since I first started this blog with my 100 Favorite Movies, so I thought that one of my 10 FAVORITES should be dedicated to another aspect of Movies I just love: the Music (especially the Songs!).  If you remember from my list, a lot of the films that were featured on it were musicals.  And just like any typical "Broadway Baby," I do believe songs help move the story along or enhance a feeling the movie's story has given the audience.  There are so many songs that appeared in some of my favorite movies and I want to go over some of them.  This week's 10 FAVORITES is about the Best Songs from Movies.  Two quick notes: None of the films featured in this list are Disney Movies, because Disney has used Music and Songs so well that they are deserving of their own (soon-to-be-published) list!  And Eight of the films featured on this list appeared in my Top 100 Movies of all-time, you'll just have to see which of those 100 films received this "extra special" honor.  With that out of the way, on with the list!  Here are:


"Fame" from Fame (1980)
This song has been a constant presence in my life as I have spent a lot of time around artists and actors who are all in the pursuit of the song's title.  Every time I hear those opening chords and Irene Cara's velvet-y voice I want to get up and start dancing...just not as well as the dancers in Fame.

SONG #10
"Springtime For Hitler" from The Producers (1968)
With quite possibly the funniest song I have ever heard, Mel Brooks had storm troopers and ladies with pretzels on their heads dancing in my brain ever since I first saw this hilarious movie.

"My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic (1997)
I know, I know, you're probably extremely annoyed now, but I just cannot deny the power this song had.  I mean, it was everywhere in 1997-1998.  And when you get past all of the hoopla and radio play this song received, you realize that there was something about it that people just couldn't resist. 

"Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
When you end your movie with your title character getting crucified, how do you want to fade to black?  Only Eric Idle could deliver a sprightly tune that could lift up our hero's spirits.

"Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail (1986)
Just because I said Non-Disney, doesn't mean I meant Non-Animation!  Don Bluth (who left the Disney Company in 1982) teamed with Steven Spielberg for his 1986 hit An American Tail, and the song "Somewhere Out There" (which was featured both in the film and at the End Credits) was one of those songs every kid wanted to hear.  I went even further, I had the soundtrack, the single, the music video and the sheet music! 

"The Way We Were" from The Way We Were (1973)
When it comes to popularity both in films and on the music charts, we cannot forget Ms. Barbra Streisand.  Her #1 hit made weepy audiences everywhere want to remember lost loves and happy memories.

"The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie (1979)
For the first scene in the Muppets' first motion picture, they could not have done better.  When you have Kermit the Frog (sweetly performed by the late Jim Henson) singing a song about his hopes and dreams, the child that is in all of us is awakened.

"Mrs. Robinson" from The Graduate (1967)
I almost chose "The Sound of Silence" to be a part of this list, but the movie and this song almost go hand-in-hand that I simply had to give it precedence on the list.  People think the song pre-dated the movie, but actually Simon & Garfunkel sang the song first for the movie and then expanded it for their album the next year.

"Singin' In the Rain" from Singin' In the Rain (1952)
When you think of iconic songs in movies, you cannot hesitate to mention Gene Kelly singing the 1929 radio hit in his fantastic 1952 MGM song-and-dance extravaganza.  The jaunty melody and his (seemingly) improvised choreography are such a part of our culture that we will never forget them.

"As Time Goes By" from Casablanca (1942)
The command is in the song: "You must remember this."  Though the song was originally written over a decade before the film was ever made, now we cannot think of this song without a flood of images from this movie (trenchcoats, French police, Nazis, seedy Moroccan bars, etc.) and "on that you can rely."

"Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It has been named the "Song of the 20th Century" by both the Recording Industry and the National Endowment for the Arts.  It's one of the few songs to be honored on a U.S. Postage Stamp (when lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg was honored in 2005, pictured right). And it was the #1 song on the American Film Institute's list of Greatest Movie Songs, so who am I to argue with such distinguished organizations?  Whenever I hear this song (especially Judy Garland's wistful original version), I am immediately brought back to my childhood (just like I believe everyone else is when they hear it!).

In a few weeks, I will cover the Disney songs (and, believe me, there are plenty to choose from!!).

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