The 12 Best Songs in '80s Movies

Categories: Lists, Pop Life

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For many of us Generation X and Y-ers, much of our adolescence can be directly linked back to '80s cinema. Thanks to writers and directors like John Hughes, '80s teen movies were accurate depictions of suburban (non) happenings. Furthermore, the '80s were a special time in film history thanks to movies' soundtracks.

Sure, sometimes it dawns on us, now twenty years later -- usually when we catch a rare late-night cable-friendly showing of our former favorite '80s flick on TBS or when someone decided to remake Footloose -- how downright corny most of the dialogue and song montages were, but we appreciate them just the same. Here are some of our favorite songs in '80s movies.

12. Bananarama, "Cruel Summer," from The Karate Kid: Because getting jumped by a herd of karate-fighting, skeleton costume-wearing black-belt assholes makes for a cruel summer, indeed.

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11. Psychedelic Furs, "Pretty in Pink," from Pretty in Pink: Serving as the inspiration for John Hughes' 1986 film of the same name, the song was rerecorded for the movie's soundtrack; it originally appeared on the Psychedelic Furs' 1981 album, Talk Talk Talk.

10. Prince, "Partyman," from Batman: Prince's entire 1989 album Batman doubles as the soundtrack to the Tim Burton movie. "Partyman" is particularly memorable, appearing in the scene during which Joker dances through the art gallery defacing artwork.

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9. O.M.D., "If You Leave," from Pretty in Pink: Because it's impossible not to feel excited flutters and memories of Pretty in Pink's Andie and Blane kissing in the rain to this song.

8. Lindsey Buckingham, "Holiday Road," from National Lampoon's Vacation: The Fleetwood Mac guitarist wrote the song for this 1983 comedy; it later became one of Buckingham's most successful singles as a solo artist, reaching #82 Billboard's Hot 100. Fans of the movie will know the track also reappears in National Vacation sequels including 1985's European Vacation and 1997's Vegas Vacation, as the soundtrack to Clark's recurring roadtrip run-in with dream girl, supermodel Christie Brinkley.

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7. The Bangles, "Hazy Shade of Winter," from Less Than Zero: The Bangles covered this Simon and Garfunkel tune for 1987's film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' L.A./drug-centric debut novel, Less Than Zero -- and we dare to say their version nearly trumps the original...but the film adaptation of Ellis' book? Not so much.

6. Gerard McMann, "Cry Little Sister," from The Lost Boys: The recurring musical theme of Lost Boys, the track is a memorable, eerie standout for any '80s kid. The entire Lost Boys soundtrack is worthy of a mention; INXS and Echo & the Bunnymen also recorded tracks for the 1987 album.

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8 comments
MamboKing
MamboKing

Nothing from Top Gun or Footloose? In fact, no Kenny Loggins at all? I'm Alright doesn't make the cut? Not to mention one of the most underrated songs of the 80's soundtracks, Dan Hartman's I Can Dream About You from Streets of Fire.

MASSMURDERMEDIA
MASSMURDERMEDIA

the aforementioned "repo man", and another alex cox film, "sid and nancy", are glaring omissions...  do they and the songs on "the blues brothers" soundtrack not suck hard enough?...  maybe it's because they are all covers of originals that predate 1980...  but that doesn't excuse overlooking the "heavy metal" soundtrack, not the greatest, but still far superior to the dreck represented in this so called best list... then there's "true stories", which i've heard maligned by many talking heads purists, but again, most songs on that soundtrack blows away anything on this list...

Hyena
Hyena

No Ghostbusters?  Do titletracks count?

DAC
DAC

Nothing from Some Kind of Wonderful or Repo Man, but Cyndi Lauper from Goonies? Surely you jest...

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

His name is Blane?  Sounds like a major appliance.

Chris D
Chris D

The Cars/ Moving in Stereo- Fast Times at Ridgemont High...The pool scene...The first boobies I ever saw.

wolvercrawlerus
wolvercrawlerus

probably a better recommendation than almost any other track on this list

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

I think all men of a certain age could agree, Phoebe's may just be the most perfect set in my lifetime.

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