Recently, we asked Twitter and Facebook followers about their fave 80s
We got some great responses, because, after all, there were tons of
bodacious soundtracks in the eighties. Here’s a rundown of the most
bitchin’ movie scores of the 80s, with many thanks for all the tweets
and Facebook votes that helped us compile it.
A FOUR-WAY TIE FOR SIXTH PLACE!
6: Valley Girl
1983’s Valley Girl is about
the blossoming romance between Julie, a girl from the San Fernando
Valley of Los Angeles, and Randy, a punk from Hollywood. It’s an
80s-style Romeo and Juliet story, bedazzled with a radical new wave
The Valley Girl soundtrack has the one song most likely to make
80s girls get all swoony and say, “Ohhhh, I love that song!”
I’m referring to Modern English’s I
Melt with You, of course. LT80s had the extreme pleasure of
both seeing Modern English in concert recently as well as sitting down
with lead singer Robbie Grey for a chat.
Check out the movie trailer for rad soundtrack snippets as well as clips
of a super-cute 80s Nicolas Cage as Randy:
6: St. Elmo’s Fire
In 1985, we were treated to a contender for “the ultimate Brat Pack
movie.” This coming-of-age drama starred Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe,
Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare
Winningham. (It also featured Andie Macdowell, aka
she-of-the-fabulously-curly-hair-I’ll-always-covet.) The characters are
fresh graduates from Georgetown and are working on finding their places
in the world. Romantic entanglements ensue. (Like, duh!)
The soundtrack included the song Give Her a Little Drop More by jazz
trumpeter John Chilton and Shake Down by Billy Squier. Love Theme
from St. Elmo’s Fire was a
#15 Billboard hit. We also loved Just For a Moment (aka Love
Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire with lyrics), performed by Amy Holland and
John Parr’sSt. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion), however, was the #1 song from the
movie that 80s kids everywhere know and love. If you loved this song, be
sure to check our recent interview with John Parr.
1983’s Flashdance was
a natural choice for best soundtrack. The movie features music “videos”
embedded in its dance-centric plot. Jennifer Beals portrayed Alex, a
welder with dreams of being a professional dancer. Alex falls in love
with her steel mill boss, saves her friend Jeanie from the sleazy
Zanzibar club, eats lobster like a ravenous animal in a tuxedo bib (and
not much else), and auditions for a coveted spot at the Conservatory.
Michael Sembello, was nominated for an Oscar. Other
gems from the soundtrack
include Lady, Lady, Lady, sung by Joe Esposito, Gloria and
Imagination sung by Laura Branigan, and I’ll Be Here Where the
Heart Is, sung by Kim Carnes.
Flashdance... What a Feeling, performed by Irene Cara, deservedly won
an Academy Award. It’s impossible to not love this video: the
fast-moving taped feet, the exuberant lyrics, and that spectacular dive
across the floor!
6: Top Gun
Rounding out our sixth-ranked soundtracks is Top Gun.
This 1986 drama starred Tom
Cruise as Maverick, the reckless Navy pilot, and Anthony Edwards as
Goose, Maverick’s friend and RIO, or Radar Intercept Officer. (Like,
whatever that is. I thought he was a navigator, but what do I
Kelly McGillis played Charlie, Maverick’s love interest and one of his
instructors at Fighter Weapons School. Val Kilmer was the Iceman, a
rival pilot despised by Maverick because he was able to chomp his teeth
in an irritatingly threatening manner.
Top Gun soundtrack
is TOTALLY bitchin’. I don’t even know how to pick a favorite here. I
love Berlin’s dreamy-hot Oscar-winning Take My Breath Away. Kenny Loggin’s
with the Boys, also known as
“beach volleyball song”, was another huge hit. Great Balls of Fire
by Jerry Lee Lewis and You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling by the
Righteous Brothers are part of the fab soundtrack as well.
Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins hit #2 on the Billboard charts. Now
there’s a fabulous commercial for the Naval flight program, amirite?
Interestingly, Bryan Adams and Toto were both in the running to perform
this song for the movie, but Kenny won out.
5: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Ah, yes, Fast Times.
wiki-sleuthing reveals that Cameron Crowe went undercover at a high
school in San Diego and then penned the script for Fast Times. So,
one might gather that there’s a grain or two of truth in the 1982
goofball teen comedy.
Fast Times starred Jennifer Jason Leigh as Stacy and Brian Backer as
Mark, two San Fernando Valley high school kids with older friends
(played by Phoebe Cates and Robert Romanus) that give plenty of
questionable romantic advice. Throw in stoner Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn),
history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), and Stacy’s brother Brad (Judge
Reinhold) for a totally memorable cast.
That soaring moment when Baby runs into Johnny’s arms for the flying
eagle pose! The rowdy, racy dance scenes! Those limber hips rolling all
over the place! And, of course, Johnny’s setting the record straight:
“NOBODY puts Baby in a corner.” Oh, Johnny.
Dirty Dancing was set in the 1960s at a summer family resort in New
York state. Many of the songs were genuinely from the sixties, including
Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
and Hey Baby by Bruce
Channel. There are also a few
timeless originals on the
notably Hungry Eyes by
Eric Carmen and She’s Like the Wind
by Patrick Swayze.
The climactic song of the movie, however, has got to be I’ve Had)
the Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Oh, Baby.
4: The Lost Boys
Before Twilight and True Blood bit into our national
consciousness, we had plenty of hot modern vampire action in the 80s.
1987’s The Lost Boys starred Jason Patric as the newbie vamp, Kiefer Sutherland as the undead
gang leader, Jami Gertz as the object of affection, and the Coreys (Haim
and Feldman) as comic relief. These eighties vampires weren’t
cape-wearing, operatic castle skulkers; they were motorcycle-riding,
leather-jacket wearing badasses.
Just the clarify, the movie’s tagline was “Sleep all day. Party all
night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire."
As the first of two John Hughes movies on our soundtrack countdown,
1986’s Pretty in Pink starred
Brat Packers Molly Ringwald as Andie and Andrew McCarthy as Blane, along
with Jon Cryer as lovable, kooky Duckie. Andie is a working class girl
and Blane is a rich kid, but Cupid’s arrow finds them both anyway.
Blane’s snobby friend Steff, played by James Spader, tries his best to
derail the blossoming romance, but it’s the Duck man who gets his heart
broken in the end. Andie, hurt but standing tall after Blane pushes her
away, creates her own Cinderella gown out of two vintage dresses and
heads to the prom to confront her schoolmates and her future.
Check out this fascinating page of
trivia about Pretty in Pink - I loved learning about all
the stars who were considered for the roles. Jodie Foster or Justine
Bateman as Andie? Robert Downey Jr. as Duckie?
Prince was and is utterly fabulous. There are just no two ways about it.
It follows that any and all of his creative projects, including
Purple Rain, are
awesome. Part of his allure was that he exuded this wild, mystical,
super-sexed vibe 24/7. His band and backup singers seemed like this
amazing entourage of similarly-styled cool kids who were all part of his
fantasy musical party-family. I got the impression that all of Prince’s
days were spent in a fabulous alternate reality of wildly intense
experiences with a crazy-cool cast of characters.
(Okay, I still have that impression. IS IT TRUE, PRINCE? And
would you, like, take me with u...?)
1984’s Purple Rain was filmed in Minneapolis and stars Prince (“The
Kid” in a dysfunctional family) and Appolonia as lovers in a tumultuous
romance. But plot, schmot,
Purple Rain is all about the music.
The movie score won both an Academy Award and a Grammy. We’re talking
mega-hits by Prince like When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy,
Darling Nikki, and
Take Me With U, as well as Morris Day & the Time’s Jungle Love,
which I find infectiously
awesome in every way.
(psssst – guess which soundtrack got my vote...)
2. The Breakfast Club
John Hughes, director of teen mega-hits like Ferris Bueller’s Day
Off and Sixteen Candles, hit another one out of the park with 1985’s
The Breakfast Club. Like
Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club featured prominent members of the
Brat Pack: Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael
Hall, and Molly Ringwald.
The plot centered around a single day of high school detention for the
five students, all of whom are from different social strata. They seem
to have nothing in common at first. They confront stereotypes. They find
common ground and even (gasp!) romance, all in a single day of punitive
We loved it, obviously. We could relate to all the characters – the
princess, the rebel, the jock, the geek, and the basket case. The
included Fire in the Twilight by Wang Chung,
Waiting by Elizabeth Daily, and
We Are Not Alone by Karla DeVito, but there’s one shining star from the movie score that 80s kids
hold dear to our hearts. It’s Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About
Drum roll please...
And the number one 80s movie soundtrack, according to a landslide
vote by Like Totally 80s Facebook friends and Twitter followers, is none
Yeah, Baby. In 1984, we all wanted to cut footloose. Kevin Bacon
starred as Ren McCormack, the teen who brought dancing back to the
repressed town of Bomont. Uptight preacher John Lithgow had somehow
convinced everyone that dancing led to all sorts of evil behavior, so it
was banned in the town. Ren fights back against the ban, falls in love
with the preacher’s daughter (Ariel, played by Lori Singer), and
succeeds in holding a senior prom for the dance-deprived teenagers.