5 Songs that Made the Movie
We’re all used to hearing music in our movies, most of which nowadays is provided by popular music that we can find on the radio. Most film music tends to be either overlooked or simply there to provide some kind of background sound. But in these five films, the songs did more than just that. Each of them adopted or created a song that goes beyond simply being part of a film score. It is appreciated as its own song and often made the film that it was from.
Even though the full song wasn’t used in the film itself, people remember well the song that marked one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Sung by Celine Dion and featured over the end credits of the film, the song became one of the biggest selling hits of all time. It was originally developed from some smaller instrumental pieces that James Horner wrote for the film, and was put to lyrics. Interestingly enough, James Cameron didn’t want the song to be developed or fit with lyrics. He was eventually overruled, and the record-breaking song was created. It also inspired the idea that films should feature a love ballad as their major piece (something that The Three Musketeers attempted to do years earlier with their song “All for One” featuring Rod Stewart, Sting, and Bryan Adams). Films inspired by this idea include Armageddon‘s Aerosmith song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and Pearl Harbour‘s “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill.
Find me a karaoke bar full of people and I’ll show you at least one person willing to take a crack at this song. Often considered the greatest love ballad of the 90’s (in or out of film), the song was featured in the hit Romantic Drama The Bodyguard. Something interesting to note is that, unlike “My Heart Will Go On”, this song was not written exclusively for the film. The original was sung by Linda Ronstadt years earlier. When the director was looking for a feature song to capture the drama of the film, Kevin Costner suggested the Ronstadt song. Needless to say, Whitney knocked it out of the park, and many consider it to be her signature song to this day.
Considered by the American Film Institute as the greatest movie song of all time, “Over the Rainbow” was written for the film and sung early in the film by the protagonist Judy Garland. Recorded in 1939, it was an incredible success for Garland, who was only 17 at the time that she recorded it. For the rest of her life, Judy Garland would sing it in the exact same way each and every time. She said later that she felt it kept true to the character of Dorothy that everyone remembered from the film. In any case, the film and the song were both a smashing success, and you can’t think of one without the other.
Everyone knows the famous tune that has become synonymous with the film Casablanca, but that’s not how the song initially started. Written in 1931 and featured in the musical “Everybody’s Welcome”, it was nabbed by Warner Brothers and used in the film Casablanca. The song plays its own role in the film, and is the song that connects Rick to his past love Ilsa. As a result of their dissolved love affair, it is the one song that is forbidden to be played at Rick’s. It recurs throughout the film, often as an emotional backdrop or soundtrack to a flashback. In any case, if it wasn’t popular before the film, it has certainly become a classic because of it.
To ensure that a more modern film made it to the list, I’ve included the popular tune from Pitch Perfect. When Anna Kendrick’s character decides to audition for the singing group, she pulls this song out as her audition piece. It’s been a long time since a song from a film has everyone singing, humming, or learning how to flip their cup in just the right way to the music. Youtube is full of dozens of covers and attempts at duplicating the song that gave new life to Anna Kendrick’s career. The song became so popular that it warranted its own music video, which features a diner full of people playing “Cups” in sync. If Pitch Perfect has a popular following of its own, so does the song in its own right.