Top 10 Songs Famous Because Of A Movie

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Wednesday night, surf-guitar hero Dick Dale played to a packed Continental Club, in what Rocks Off's buddy Lonesome Onry and Mean and several others have since said was one of the best shows they've ever seen. The song that sent everyone home with their ears ringing and their fingers on fire was, of course, "Misirlou."

"Misirlou" is a pretty old song, believed to have been composed around 1927, but it may be older than that. Although Dale's version has a distinct Spanish flair, its origins are in the Greek urban folk style of rebetiko. Most people in America, of course, know it as the song that plays over the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

This got Rocks Off thinking about other songs that are famous because of their cinematic connotations. We put out a call on Facebook to see what our friends would come back with, and were impressed with the results (41 comments). Some of those, and some we came up with in our own research, follow. We tried to limit the list to songs that were not specifically written for the screen, a la "Over the Rainbow" or "Lose Yourself," but we make the rules around here, so we feel free to break them too.

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Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"

Film: Rocky III (1982)

This is what we were talking about. Because he couldn't get the rights to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," Sylvester Stallone asked Survivor to write a song for the third Rocky flick (the one Mr. T nearly steals), and the Chicago rockers obliged with a tune with such a catchy riff "Eye of the Tiger" might well have been a hit on its own. As it was, it was the most popular song of 1982, the single sold two million copies, and Survivor picked up a Grammy and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.


The Shins, "New Slang"

Film: Garden State (2006)

Have the Shins ever actually changed anyone's life? For the better? No matter - Natalie Portman's endorsement of this song from the jangly New Mexico/Portland indie-rockers' 2003 album Oh, Inverted World was not only the most memorable thing about Garden State, it helped the band's next album, 2007's Wincing the Night Away, debut in the Billboard Top 10. And then... hey, what the hell ever happened to the Shins, anyway?


Stealer's Wheel, "Stuck In the Middle With You"

Film: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Slice somebody's ear off, slowly and grotesquely, put a forgotten AM hit from the '70s back in heavy rotation.


The Proclaimers, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

Film: Benny & Joon (1993)

Perpetually grinning Scottish brothers Craig and Charlie Reed's catchy (if stalkerish) song first appeared on 1988's Sunshine on Leith, but didn't take off in America until it was featured in the offbeat Johnny Depp romantic comedy Benny & Joon. Then it really took off; Rocks Off estimates we heard the song two or three times on the way to and from our high-school graduation in May 1993. Since then, the Proclaimers (who are still around) went country, sort of, but no one cared.


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10 comments
scooterbabe
scooterbabe

'In Your Eyes' by Peter Gabriel from the movie Say Anything.  And 'Danger Zone' by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun.  Crazy!

Rusty Riders
Rusty Riders

Less Than Zero - Hazy Shade of Winter - the Bangles

Chase Hamblin
Chase Hamblin

 Bananarama - "Cruel Summer," first Karate Kid and let's not forget Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun. Yeah.

Raul
Raul

What about "Paper Planes?"

April Dupree7
April Dupree7

Sweet disposition- the temper trap

I first heard it on the 500 days of summer trailer/soundtrack and now it's everywhere. I'm not gonna lie, this song led me to catch their set at ACL last year

KING
KING

"It'll change your life, I swear." - worst movie line ever?

Ryan
Ryan

agreed.

Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" - Dangerous Minds

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