Dick Clark once said that music is the soundtrack of our lives. We can always remember specific events like your first kiss or hanging out with friends because of a simple song. Movies are no different. Whenever a specific song pops on the radio or at a party, you immediately think of that specific movie or particular scene. What song is always used at a toga party? What song comes to mind when you see a pottery wheel with a hunk of clay on it? Ever want to tuck your penis between your legs? Well you already know of a song to do it to.
These are the songs that are so iconic other movies or television shows use for their soundtrack as mnemonic devices so you’ll remember the original and the feelings you had for it. These are the songs that when you are doing something mundane in your life you start singing or humming the tune because it’s the exact same thing you saw from your favorite flick. Some of these are the songs that you have absolutely no idea who sings them or even the title of the song, but you know the movie it came from.
To make this list, I had to come up with some stipulations. No musicals or I’d have a whole list from Grease and Rocky Horror Picture Show. No Disney movies. Sorry to all those fans of “Circle of Life” or “You Got a Friend in Me.” No songs from obscure movies that even the general public has not seen. They may be cult classics, but if your grandma never heard of the movie, then it’s not that iconic. Lastly no orchestra theme songs. Pretty much every John Williams score would be its own list.
So other than #1, here are 20 of the most iconic songs from movies in no particular order.
20) “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News from Back to the Future
Get your hoverboards out and charge up your flux capacitors with this song. Huey Lewis and the News had a ton of popular hits off of their album “Sports,” but no song was more iconic than “The Power of Love.” Admit it, every time you hear this song, you immediately think of the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown.
Another iconic song from Back to the Future is Marty Mcfly playing Johnny B. Goode at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Even with suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, Michael J. Fox wows the crowd at the Waldorf-Astoria. This live version is really inspirational.
19) “Tequilla” by The Champs from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
This may have been a one hit wonder by the Champs, but Pee-Wee Herman immortalized it on his way to the Alamo to find his stolen bike. I can remember DJs at weddings playing this song and everyone breaking out with the Pee-Wee Herman dance.
Even big football players were caught breaking out in the Pee-Wee Herman dance to celebrate sacking the quarterback.
18) “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston from The Bodyguard
This is so iconic of a movie song, it was sung in two different movies by Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston. Of course Whitney’s version is the most well known and one of the best selling singles of all time.
This is the original sung by Dolly Parton to Burt Reynolds in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
17) “Oh Yeah” by Yello from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The 1961 Ferrari GT California. Less than 100 were made. It is his pride and joy and it was showcased by the the song “Oh Yeah” by Yello. When ever you hear it, you immediately think of Ferris Bueller or Principal Rooney walking on the bus during the end credits. This song has become synonymous with fast cars and truancy.
Even last year’s Superbowl ad featuring Matthew Broderick showcased the song. When the teaser hit, everyone thought it was going to be a sequel, but it ended up just to be a commercial of Honda. But once that song hit, you just knew it was Ferris.
16) “Time of my Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes from Dirty Dancing
Nobody puts Baby in a corner with this song. Bill Medley, one half of the Righteous Brothers, teamed up with Jennifer Warnes to perform the iconic song that was the background music to erotic hip grinding, abortions from unqualified physicians and consensual statutory rape. I’m only kidding, but seriously, every girl’s ears perk up to this song and hope their dancing partner can lift them off the ground for that once graceful flying pose.
One song on the soundtrack was well known, but highly outshadowed by “Time of my Life” was “She’s like the wind, by the Dirty Dancer himself, Patrick Swayze.