These Are The Absolute Best Songs Ever Made For Movies
The music in some films is what helps define the mood of the movie. Just think about it. “Eye of the Tiger” really took Rocky III over the top and Men in Black simply wouldn’t have been the same without its soundtrack. There are many more examples that you will learn about on this list. As you read through, just imagine what these movies might have been like without their trademark songs. Here are the best songs ever made for movies. See if your favorite made the cut.
Pharrell Gets Happy
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After this song was released, we all seemed to hear it everywhere and constantly. “Because I’m happy,” are the words that Pharrell Williams sings during the hook and it almost forces you to sing along. The song already prompts you to “clap along” if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Even if you didn’t see Despicable Me 2, this song more than likely found a way into your life. This song became number one in over 17 countries and was the best-selling single in 2014. “Happy” was impossible to avoid.
You’ve Got A Friend In Woody
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Toy Story is one of Disney’s most heartfelt children’s films. This movie tells the story of a young boy (Andy) who has a close relationship with his beloved cowboy toy, Woody. When the space ranger Buzzlighter comes, Woody thinks he must compete with Buzz in order to be Andy’s number one toy.
But by the time the film is coming to an end, Woody and Buzz end up putting their differences aside. Woody realizes they are friends and all of that competing nonsense doesn’t matter. The two have a friend in each other. Randy Newman’s song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is absolutely perfect for this sweet movie.
Ever Had The Time Of Your Life?
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Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, we owe it all to you. This song starts off solemn but quickly switches the tempo and takes on an entirely different life. This song puts a smile on plenty people’s faces and for good reason. The nostalgic tune just brings you back to the scene where it was played.
The chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze really comes to life in Dirty Dancing when this song starts. And that is all thanks to Medley and Warnes’s lovely vocals mixed with the closing sax riff. There aren’t many feel-good movie songs that are this cozy.
The Men Dressed In Black
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Will Smith perfectly illustrates the Men in Black film with the hit song “Men in Black”. It is as if he is rapping to the listener as his character from the film. He’s telling us all the heroic actions he and his partner perform as well as informing us it would be bad if anyone were to see him show up in their neighborhood.
Will glides on the track as we enjoy the smooth voice of Coko from SWV. No alien was safe when the Men in Black were on the prowl. They were the galaxy defenders for a reason.
Charlie And His Independent Women
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If you have seen Charlie’s Angels then you know there couldn’t have been a more fitting song than “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child. And if you haven’t seen it, just know the premise of the movie surrounds around three very capable women who are spies working for “Charlie.” Destiny’s Child represented three powerful women as well.
The song starts off with Destiny’s Child harmonizing the names of the actresses that play Charlie’s Angels. “Lucy Liu. With my girl, Drew. Cameron D. and Destiny. Charlie’s Angels, come on.” Perfect.
They Got This Feeling
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When Poppy from the Trolls movie told the rest of the trolls that they can be happy too and broke out into a full choreographed dance for “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” the movie got ten times better. Everyone began dancing and all the good times started flooding in.
The feeling was so infectious the whole community got in on the dancing. Justin Timberlake just brought his set of skills to this song and made it a family-friendly sensation for kids and adults to enjoy. So that is what’s so great about it… it isn’t only for children.
Dion Is Sleepless In Seattle
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Well before her song defined one of the most historic movies (we’ll get into Titanic a little later), Céline Dion was Sleepless In Seattle. Teaming up with Clive Griffin, the pair brought us “When I Fall in Love” which turned out to be the anthem for Sleepless in Seattle.
The original song was recorded by Nat King Cole but then everyone decided they wanted to cover it as well. The song greatly reflected the sentiments of the movie.
Take A Trip Down 8 Mile
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The 8 Mile movie was practically a short biopic of Eminem. It showed his fans how he navigated through the tough streets of where he grew up. It also revealed what he went through to gain respect as a rapper. And in the song “Lose Yourself,” we get a summarized version of the movie in rap form.
Eminem uses an angry yet controlled flow that almost gets you as hyped as he was in the film. This song is so thrilling and was the first rap song to win an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Who You Gonna Call?
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“Ghostbusters” might be the song that infiltrated pop culture the most out of all the movie songs. And did you know that Ray Parker Jr. only had a few days to come up with this song? After he watched a commercial late at night, he was inspired to write the song’s catchy hook: “who you gonna call”?! It was perfect in 1984’s Ghostbusters.
This song has been referenced on Key & Peele and many other TV shows. It is just one of those tracks that you can’t get out of your head after you’ve just listened to it.
Rocky Has The Eye Of The Tiger
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This song wouldn’t have been made if Queen had wanted their music used in the film Rocky III. Sylvester Stallone wanted “Another One Bites the Dust” to be the official theme song for the movie but he couldn’t get permission. That is when the rock band Survivor was called up.
Their bell was rung and they answered with one of the best original songs for a movie. “Eye of the Tiger” was on top of the charts for six consecutive weeks and even won a Grammy. This song has basically become the go-to song to pump you up.
Do You Believe You Can Fly
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In the opening scene of Space Jam, a young Michael Jordan is shooting hoops on the front lawn at his home. As he’s shooting, “I Believe I Can Fly” is playing in the background. The song was foreshadowing a couple of things. First, Jordan had a conversation with his dad in which he asks, “when you’re finished with that I suppose you’re going to fly, huh?” And also the last play of the game against the Monstars where he seemingly flies to slam the ball.
This song just sets the tone in a calm way that lets the viewer know that no matter how steep the challenge for Jordan, he will overcome it. He ended up flying.
Whitney Will Always Love You
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One of the most important and biggest movie songs in the past 30 years, “I Will Always Love You” is simply beautiful. This song is about a breakup and is a cover of Dolly Parton’s original. Whitney Houston really unleashed her amazing voice on this song and it’s an important part of The Bodyguard film.
This song deals with being in love with someone but also realizing that it is sometimes best for you to move on. We can just call this a mature goodbye song, one that you can sing when you’re feeling strong but still sensitive to a breakup. When you realize the love will always be there but things won’t get better, cut this song on.
The Streets Of Philadelphia
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This song is representative of the feelings of the era in which it was released. Some of the dialogue in the song is outdated but the nostalgic feeling it gives is always relevant. This song perfectly personified the feelings of the Tom Hanks character, Andy. And those feelings were grief, sadness, and quiet acceptance.
“The Streets Of Philadelphia” was the epitome of a melancholy song for a movie soundtrack. There was no way that you could feel one hundred percent joyous when you listened to this song. This song conveyed a powerful message and strong feelings.
The Weeknd Lets Her Know She Earned It
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When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, all of the fans who loved the book lost their minds. Although many were wondering how explicit they would choose to get in the movie, it ended up being better than many expected. And as the lead single for the soundtrack, “Earned It” couldn’t have been any more perfect.
As if The Weeknd’s music catalog doesn’t already consist of songs that would’ve fit perfectly on the soundtrack, he chose to make one specifically for the movie. The film’s producers could have just recruited him to make the entire sexy soundtrack.
Who’s All That?
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Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” was one of the highlights for She’s All That. Depending on whether you liked the movie or not, you might have been able to relate to “Kiss Me.” This romantic song that was defined by the question of whether or not you were a sure bet or not. And the song came on during the most iconic scenes.
“As the New Laney Boggs makes her glasses-free debut, we’re treated to the sweet sounds of Sixpence None the Richer, who accompany Freddie Prinze Jr.’s disbelief that a young woman who was objectively beautiful before, could, in fact, still be beautiful,” vulture.com reported.
Will Your Heart Go On?
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From the second that this song starts, you are immediately taken on an emotional journey. This instantly-recognizable song embodies a young Leonardo Dicaprio smiling and being affectionate on a giant cruise ship known as the Titanic. And because you know his fate, this song always pulls at your heartstrings when it comes on.
No other song has come close to embodying a film more than Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” The closest there has been was “Eye of the Tiger” for Rocky III. “My Heart Will Go On” went on to be the best selling single of 1998 and is one of those songs that can always bring the tears out.
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Kenny Loggins provided the Footloose soundtrack with a song (also called “Footloose”) that made the movie complete. This song instantly became one of the biggest songs of 1984. It even racked up a Grammy for Song of the Year.
“This single was released a few weeks ahead of the movie, and the video, which used scenes from the film, got a lot of airplay on MTV, building anticipation for the release,” songfacts.com reported. “By the time the film hit theaters, the song was already in the Top 40, and it went to #1 on March 31, 1984, where it remained for 3 weeks.”
Welcome To The Wild Wild West
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Much like his “Men in Black” track, Will Smith painted the perfect picture with the song “Wild Wild West”. Anytime Will was in a movie, the producers should have just asked him to make music for the soundtrack. This song may not have been as big as “Men in Black” was (it won a Grammy). “Wild Wild West” was nominated for a Grammy, at least.
But just like with any great thing, it had to end. Will’s days of making music that people loved slowly came to an end and this was one of his last songs that received a lot of recognition.
The Song That Speaks For Itself
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A song that is now commonly used as the demonstration tempo for giving CPR, “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees was a great fit for the disco flick Saturday Night Fever. This song did more than just resonate extremely well with this movie. It also defined the era of disco.
This is clearly one of The Bee Gees best songs. It became number one and it remained there for four weeks. Another song that was popular from the film and also helped define the disco era was “Night Fever” by The Bee Gees. You could really go either way when deciding which one was better but “Stayin’ Alive” is an all-time classic that many people recognize just from the rhythm in the intro.
Lana Brings The Nostalgia
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Hopefully, you are aware of the fact that Jay Gatsby from the Great Gatsby is a man obsessed with the past. So how fitting is it that the producers tapped Lana Del Rey, an artist who is particularly consistent with bringing us nostalgic songs. Thus, the theme of the movie was created: “Young & Beautiful.”
In the song, she asks whether her lover will still indeed love her when she is no longer young and beautiful… a question that many can relate to. If you aren’t in it for what a person has inside then chances are when the beauty isn’t there anymore, neither is your care.