Hands up if you remember a time when films had a theme tune! I’m talking Ghostbusters, Weird Science and Men in Black. This was a time when the theme song was already topping the charts weeks before anyone had even seen the accompanying movie. What on Earth happened to the days of old when you could see the film, wear the t-shirt and sing the theme tune while eating from a popcorn box with the lead actor on it? It seems that only James Bond movies have continued this grand tradition, but they would never consider having the main star record the song like most Will Smith films from the 90s.
It is time to bring back the music people!Recently Warner Bros have released Kong: Skull Island. This is the kind of popcorn movie fodder that a marketing agency adore. Big stars, big concept and a well-known franchise. But why hasn’t anyone thought of asking one of the latest chart-topping stars today like Drake or Sean Paul to cover Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ but changing the thong to well, Kong! “Let me hear you say – Kong, Kong, Kong, Kong, Kong Kong”. Now that is a song that needs to be recorded and would surely lead to thousands downloading the official soundtrack!
It was quite a surprise for fans of Ghostbusters to have their favourite film remade with a cast of female actors. Twitter was ablaze with fury at replacing their male heroes with stars of Bridesmaids and Saturday Night Live. If only Rhianna had covered Ray Parker Jr’s classic tune. Imagine the online rage, especially if she had eclipsed the original. An opportunity wasted.
Most of the big summer blockbusters at the moment have been super-hero related, and maybe Marvel Studios and Warner Bros feel they don’t need to cheapen their franchise by having anyone re-record the cheesy cartoon themes. Though the Sam Raimi directed Spiderman trilogy tended to have rock bands record a song inspired by the movie: Nickelback’s Chad Kroger & Josey Scott’s ‘Hero’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘Signal Fire’. But alas the new reboot will probably choose not to recordJustin Bieber’s a capella version of the 60’s much loved Spiderman theme. The 90’s Batman series were famous for their successful song tie-ins : U2’s ‘Hold Me Kiss Me Thrill Me’ and The Smashing Pumpkins’ The End Is The Beginning Is The End’ are two of the greatest singles of the era, but they were tenuously linked to the films. Could Batman V Superman not have had a track inspired by the rivalry? Maybe Limp Bizkit V Korn, with a video filmed on top of a burning skyscraper and a bagpipes solo? It would have been at least more entertaining than most of the film.
Something has to change and film studios need to get their act together and start getting music and film working together to make a brighter future. There may be an Ellie Goulding track written for the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack, but this is just one song rare example. There are just so many opportunities being missed. OK, not every movie song was a winner, Paul McCartney should probably have stayed clear of Spies Like Us and Vanilla Ice should never mix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with rapping. But let us remember the good times and here are the 5 great movie songs for your enjoyment.
Queen – ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’
No one can sing a ballad as well as Freddie. From the 80’s cult classic Highlander directed by Russell Mulcahy, who was more famous for his extravagant music videos at the time. The soundtrack by Queen was better than the actual film, which is pretty much what happened when the same band chose to record the soundtrack for Flash Gordon. Basically if you want your film to be eclipsed by the music, don’t bloody hire Queen.
Duran Duran -‘View To A Kill’
From the James Bond film of the same name, Duran Duran recorded this at the height of their eighties’ glory. They were so high on their ability and fame they could just ask the producers if they could record the next Bond theme and it would happen. Though as their fame faltered they had to put up with recording the theme tune to The Saint starring Val Kilmer, which is quite a coincidence as Roger Moore played The Saint and James Bond. And speaking of coincidences, fact fans, is that Russell Mulcahy also directed this video before moving on to making Highlander. How interesting!
Simon & Garfunkel- ‘Mrs Robinson’
Simon and Garfunkel penned this beauty decades before the term ‘milf’ was conceived and at a time when it was a rarity for a pop band to record a film soundtrack. The song has been covered to death by the likes The Lemonheads, Garth Brooks and Busted, but the original still rings true as a film classic.
The Psychedelic Furs – ‘Pretty In Pink’
One of the rare times when the song came before the film, Pretty In Pink appeared on The Psychedelic Furs’ 1981 album Talk, Talk, Talk and Writer/Director John Hughes used the tracks inspiration for the 1986 hit teen movie. The band re-recorded the single and it went on to be their first top 20 UK hit single. Another example of the song being greater than the film.
Eminem- ‘Lose Yourself’
Quite possibly his greatest track to date. It was written for the movie 8 Mile and is based on a young man in Detroit trying to make it as a white hip-hop artist and won the rapper an Oscar for best original song. Eminem wrote the track during breaks in between filming and is now on various gym playlists around the world, just after the theme from Rocky.
What will be the next great movie theme? Sadly to date there isn’t any news that the Gorillaz are going to be collaborating with the remaining members of The Monkees to perform the theme tune to the upcoming Planet Of The Apes movie, but we can still hope.