Songs That Made the Movie: Noovie Soundtracks

In honor of Rex Manning Day we salute the iconic songs that transcended both scene and movie. These are songs that really made the movie.

Matt Lissauer

By Matt Lissauer

Maxwell Caulfield as Rex Manning in "Empire Records."

© Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

Today is Rex Manning Day and we celebrate the day with a look at songs that made a powerful impact on the movies in which they appear. Songs that have gone on to make the movie. What is Rex Manning Day? Well, it's only the day that the employees of Empire Records have been preparing themselves for all week! Today, past-his-prime superstar Rex Manning (Maxwell Caulfield) is supposed to come to their store to sign autographs. However, this is the least of the concerns for the clerks at Empire Records. As it turns out, owner Joe (Anthony LaPaglia) is considering selling his indie record store to a big chain.

As should be expected from a movie about record store employees, "Empire Records" features one of the most iconic soundtracks of its era. It's a soundtrack that Gen-Xers and older Millenials most definitely had on constant rotation in their car's CD-changer. In honor of the day and the music behind it, we (the Noovie editorial team), each pick one song from one movie; a song that has gone on to define it. In other words, a song that really made the movie.

As we highlight three picks below, we also went over to Spotify and complied a jukebox playlist that features over 100 classic tunes from classic movies. Jam out, favorite it if you please, and share it with your movie-loving pals. We'll be keeping it ever fresh with new movie tunes. And, of course if you want to keep the movie music going, head on over to our recent list of iconic instrumental movie themes.

Chuck's Pick: "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel from "Say Anything…"

The soundtrack for Cameron Crowe's debut feature, 1989's teen film "Say Anything...," is a keeper for all kinds of music fans, with acts as varied as Cheap Trick, Depeche Mode, Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers mixing it up with Steely Dan, Aerosmith, The Replacements, and Seattle stalwarts Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone. In the end, though, this classic John Cusack movie is immortalized by his character Lloyd Dobler's defiant act of romance, standing outside the house of the girl who broke up with him, holding a boombox above his head, and playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" as a sign of his devoted love for Ione Skye's Diane Court. It doesn't matter what stands in the couple's way. What's left is a truthful, committed feeling, and a song/scene that defines the entire film.

Say Anything... Poster

Say Anything...

Romance / 1989 / PG-13

Watch on

Matt's Pick: "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds from "The Breakfast Club"

After spending a Saturday in detention, the five teens that make up "The Breakfast Club" – a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal – realize that no matter how different their lives may be, at the end of the day, deep down they're all the same. It's not clear if such a revelation will last past the weekend, but for now the five are indelibly connected. There's no better summination of that feeling than in Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff's lyrics to "Don't You (Forget About Me)."

The producer and songwriter looked all over for the perfect artist or band that could add the right kind of music and emotion to the lyrics and the final scene. After approaching everyone from Bryan Ferry to Corey Hart and Billy Idol, Forsey was finally able to convince frontman Jim Kerr and his band Simple Minds to record the song. The Scottish band just wanted to record their own songs, but had grown frustrated at not being able to break into the U.S. market. After giving up some pride and recording the tune, they realized they had something with a lot of commercial potential.

It's not their own tune, but it has become their signature song. Equally so, it's become synonymous with the teen classic and the genre itself. It's hard to separate song from movie, and everyone involved can truly raise their arm in the air in success, just as John Bender (Judd Nelson) does as he crosses the football field after kissing Claire (Molly Ringwald).

The Breakfast Club Poster

The Breakfast Club

Comedy Drama / 1985 / R

Watch on

Jesse's Pick: "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger from "Risky Business"

This pairing of song and film is one of the most iconic choices because of a couple factors. Not only is it a song that when you hear it, you immediately think of "Risky Business" and Tom Cruise doing his epic slide into the living room in only his socks, button-up shirt, and undies, but the song itself does a great job of capturing the tone of the film's "say wtf" ethos.

The pairing only becomes more memorable as time goes on, with references in new media via parodies and various advertising tie-ins. It may be "Old Time Rock and Roll," but it still rocks as much if not more than anything produced since this classic tune and film.

Risky Business Poster

Risky Business

Comedy / 1983 / R

Watch on

Noovie's Songs That Really Made the Movie - Complete Track Listing

Keep the rock rollin' with our Spotify playlist of modern and classic songs -- songs that really made these movies.

  1. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" - Simple Minds - "The Breakfast Club"
  2. "In Your Eyes" - Peter Gabriel - "Say Anything..."
  3. "Old Time Rock and Roll" - Bob Seger - "Risky Business"
  4. "Power of Love" - Huey Lewis & the News - "Back to the Future"
  5. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers - "Benny & Joon"
  6. "Misirlou" - Dick Dale - "Pulp Fiction"
  7. "Footloose" - Kenny Loggins - "Footloose"
  8. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Huston - "The Bodyguard"
  9. "Stayin' Alive" - Bee Gees - "Saturday Night Fever"
  10. "Lose Yourself" - Eminem - "8 Mile"
  11. "Holiday Road" - Lindsey Buckingham - "National Lampoon's Vacation"
  12. "The Heat Is On" - Glenn Frey - "Beverly Hills Cop"
  13. "Danger Zone" - Kenny Loggins - "Top Gun"
  14. "Hooked on a Feeling" - Blue Swede - "Guardians of the Galaxy"
  15. "Twist and Shout" - The Beatles - "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
  16. "If You Leave" - OMD - "Pretty in Pink"
  17. "Take My Breath Away" - Berlin - "Top Gun"
  18. "Cruel Summer" - Bananarama - "The Karate Kid"
  19. "Love Is a Battlefield" - Pat Benatar - "13 Going on 30"
  20. "Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker Jr. - "Ghostbuters"
  21. "Stuck in the Middle with You" - Stealers Wheel - "Reservoir Dogs"
  22. "Purple Rain" - Prince - "Purple Rain"
  23. "Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor - "Rocky III"
  24. "Tiny Dancer" - Elton John - "Almost Famous"
  25. "Sister Christian" - Night Ranger - "Boogie Nights"
  26. "Somebody to Love" - Jefferson Airplane - "The Cable Guy"
  27. "If You Were Here" - Thompson Twins - "Sixteen Candles"
  28. "Glory of Love" - Peter Cetera - "The Karate Kid Part II"
  29. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - "Dirty Dancing"
  30. "I'm Alright" - Kenny Loggins - "Caddyshack"
  31. "Come As You Are" - Nirvana - "Captain Marvel"
  32. "Immigrant Song" - Led Zeppelin - "Thor: Ragnarok"
  33. "Mad World" - Michael Andrews, Gary Jules - "Donnie Darko"
  34. "Let It Go" - Idina Menzel - "Frozen"
  35. "Kiss Me" - Sixpence None the Richer - "She's All That"
  36. "My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion - "Titanic"
  37. "The Stroke" - Billy Squire - "Blades of Glory"
  38. "Mrs. Robinson" - Simon & Garfunkel - "The Graduate"
  39. "Where Is My Mind?" - The Pixies - "Fight Club"
  40. "Wake Up" - Rage Against the Machine - "The Matrix"
  41. "Streets of Philadelphia" - Bruce Springsteen - "Philadelphia"
  42. "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová - "Once"
  43. "Born to Be Wild" - Steppenwolf - "Easy Rider"
  44. "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen - "Wayne's World"
  45. "La Bamba" - Los Lobos - "La Bamba"
  46. "Tracks of My Tears" - Smokey Robinson - "Platoon"
  47. "Theme from Shaft" - Issac Hayes - "Shaft"
  48. "Gangsta's Paradise" - Coolio - "Dangerous Minds"
  49. "A Real Hero" - College, Electric Youth - "Drive"
  50. "Just Like Honey" - The Jesus and Mary Chain - "Lost in Translation"
  51. "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" - John Parr - "St. Elmo's Fire"
  52. "The Goonies 'r' Good Enough" - Cyndi Lauper - "The Goonies"
  53. "To Live and Die in L.A." - Wang Chung - "To Live and Die in L.A."
  54. "I Can Dream About You" - Dan Hartman - "Streets of Fire"
  55. "Wooly Bully" - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs - "Full Metal Jacket"
  56. "I'm A Believer" - Smash Mouth - "Shrek"
  57. "Everything Is AWESOME!!!" - Tegan and Sara, Lonely Island - "The LEGO Movie"
  58. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams - "Despicable Me 2"
  59. "That Thing You Do!" - The Wonders - "That Thing You Do!"
  60. "Layla" - Derek and the Dominoes - "GoodFellas"
  61. "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler - "Beaches"
  62. "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers - "Ghost"
  63. "Circle of Life" - Carmen Twillie, Lebo M. - "The Lion King"
  64. "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" - The Byrds - "Forrest Gump"
  65. "Jump Into the Fire" - Harry Nilsson - "GoodFellas"
  66. "Most of the Time" - Bob Dylan - "High Fidelity"
  67. "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" - Kenny Rogers & the First Edition - "The Big Lebowski"
  68. "That's Life" - Frank Sinatra - "Joker"
  69. "Smile" - Jimmy Durante - "Joker"
  70. "Without You" - Rosario Dawson, Adam Pascal - "Rent"
  71. "Love You I Do" - Jennifer Hudson - "Dreamgirls"
  72. "Can't Take My Eyes off You" - Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons - "10 Things I Hate About You"
  73. "Kiss the Girl" - Samuel E. Wright - "The Little Mermaid"
  74. "Kiss from a Rose" - Seal - "Batman Forever"
  75. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" - Aerosmith - "Armageddon"
  76. "Suddenly, Seymour" - Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene - "Little Shop of Horrors"
  77. "Father and Son" - Cat Stevens - "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
  78. "Somewhere Out There" - Linda Ronstadt, James Ingram - "An American Tail"
  79. "Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland - "The Wizard of Oz"
  80. "You'll Be in My Heart" - Glenn Close, Phil Collins - "Tarzan"
  81. "Beauty and the Beast" - Angela Lansbury - "Beauty and the Beast"
  82. "Moon River" - Andy Williams - "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
  83. "Stand By Me" - Ben E. King - "Stand By Me"
  84. "Oh Yeah" - Yello - "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
  85. "Up" - Sing Street - "Sing Street"
  86. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" - Christopher Cross - "Arthur"
  87. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" - Julie Andrews - "Mary Poppins"
  88. "The NeverEnding Story" - Limahl - "The NeverEnding Story"
  89. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" - B.J. Thomas - "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
  90. "Everybody's Talkin'" - Harry Nilsson - "Midnight Cowboy"
  91. "Live and Let Die" - Wings - "Live and Let Die"
  92. "Gimme Shelter" - The Rolling Stones - "GoodFellas" / "Casino" / "The Departed"
  93. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" - Dropkick Murphys - "The Departed"
  94. Flash's Theme - Queen - "Flash Gordon"
  95. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys - "Love Actually"
  96. "Try a Little Tenderness" - The Commitments - "The Commitments"
  97. "Sunflower" - Post Malone, Swae Lee - "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"
  98. "Stir It Up" - Patti LaBelle - "Beverly Hills Cop"
  99. "Stay Gold" - Stevie Wonder - "The Outsiders"
  100. "Rapper's Delight" - Sugarhill Gang - "The Wedding Singer"
  101. "Fight the Power" - Public Enemy - "Do the Right Thing"
  102. "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" - Three 6 Mafia, Paula Campbell - "Hustle & Flow"
  103. "Derezzed" - Daft Punk - "TRON: Legacy"
  104. "Jai Ho" - A.R. Rahman, Sukhwinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalakshmi Iyer - "Slumdog Millionaire"
  105. "Who's Johnny" - El DeBarge - "Short Circuit"
  106. "9 to 5" - Dolly Parton - "9 to 5"
  107. "Summer Nights" - John Travolta, Olivia Newton John - "Grease"
  108. "Flashdance...What a Feeling" - Irene Cara - "Flashdance"
  109. "Up Where We Belong" - Joe Cocker, Jennifer Warnes - "An Officer and a Gentleman"
  110. "You've Got a Friend in Me" - Randy Newman - "Toy Story"

About the Author

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.

More from Matt Lissauer

Advertisement