Is there a song that every time you hear it, you always associate it with a movie? Or have you ever wondered why a song that came out decades ago is suddenly circulating the airwaves again? Sometimes, it’s because of their perfect placement in a popular movie. There are plenty of iconic songs that have become hits after being written specifically for a movie. Yet, there are also others that just happened to be used perfectly for a scene and rose on the charts thanks to the exposure. So, which songs were given the spotlight thanks to their use in movies? Here a few we’ve found.
1. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer
While “Kiss Me” was released in 1997 with the rest of their self-titled album, the song didn’t reach much success until 1998 when it was released as a single. It charted in the top 5 in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. However, it didn’t chart as high in the US until it was used in the romantic comedy, She’s All That. The use of “Kiss Me” in the makeover reveal scene propelled the song back into the spotlight. The band even did another music video for the song where they sat on a bench watching scenes from, She’s All That. The song was also later used in the hit TV show Dawson’s Creek, giving it even more notoriety.
2. “All Star” by Smash Mouth
When Smash Mouth released their album Astro Lounge in 1999, they released “All Star” as their first single. The release was received well and some even went as far as to call it one of the best songs of 1999. The prominent use of the song in the 1999 film Mystery Men helped propel it to popularity. The song’s music video even features characters from the film.
Then, when it was used for the opening scene in the 2001 movie Shrek, the song was thrown back into the spotlight. Its association with such a popular and iconic franchise kept its notoriety. It was in fact associated so much with Shrek, that it became part of many memes made about the film in the 2010s.
3. “Oh Yeah” by Yello
When the Swiss group Yello created “Oh Yeah” in 1985, they never expected it to become a staple used for many movies, especially in the 1980s. The song propelled its way to popularity after being featured in the iconic comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to accompany a scene showing off a shimmering red Ferrari. It fit so well with the moment, other movies started using it for scenes, as Yello put it, “to underline the jaw-dropping impact of a hot babe or sleek auto, that synth-drum starts popping and that deep voice rumbles, 'Oh yeah…’” (Bernstein). Fun fact: Yello claims to have never seen the movie that brought their song into the spotlight.
You can watch the group talk about how they came up with the popular tune 35 years later below.
4. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
Ah, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A song that always seems to maintain relevance and notoriety no matter the decade. One big reason for this is because of its features in movies. To be clear, the song was a hit without movies. At its release in 1975, it was number nine in the Billboard Hot 200. However, it didn’t make it to number two on the chart until it was featured in the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World. The iconic car ride with Wayne and his buddies signing while it blasted through the radio brought a new wave of popularity for the song. In more recent years, the song was brought back onto the charts with the release of the Freddie Mercury biopic named Bohemian Rhapsody. Even 40 years later, the song is loved and known by millions. You can see the use of it in Wayne’s World below.
5. “Old Time Rock & Roll” by Bob Segar and The Silver Bullet Band
In 1973, Bob Segar released “Old Time Rock & Roll” as an ode to the original sound and feel of the rock & roll era. While the album it was released on (Stranger in Town) charted fine, it didn’t really gain its popularity until it was used for the legendary scene in Risky Business in 1983. Tom Cruise’s character jamming to the song in a button-up shirt, tube socks, and no pants made it unforgettable. Since its use in Risky Business, the song has become a timeless hit that’s still played lovingly today. Haven’t seen the scene? Check it out
6. “Hooked on A Feeling” By Blue Swede
While this version of the song was in fact a cover of a 1963 song written by BJ Thomas, it was Blue Swede’s version that hit number one in the United States in 1974. While it was hit in its own time, it was when the 2014 superhero movie Guardians of the Galaxy heavily featured the song that it saw an incredible spike in recent sales. It was also listed on the soundtrack that did amazing numbers after the movie’s release.
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While there are many more out there, these were some of our personal favorites. What about your favorites? What songs do you always associate with a movie?
Written by Adam Savage