Bring on the trumpets: The power of music in film

In our latest LF podcast we talk about some of our favourite music in film, a topic so rich in memories and nostalgia that we could have talked for days on the subject. So I decided at the very least - it needed a companion piece to discuss some of the films we didn't get a chance to mention (and some we did).

Music inspired by or actually featuring in a film: 

There are a lot of bands and DJs out there who seem to make a living from just featuring on film soundtracks, others that just adapt there own music or remix the music of others for film. Some director's such as Tarantino just seem to possess the unique ability to bring together incredible music that many will not have experienced before.

So lets kick of this article with music made famous for being in movies (usually previously unknown or unloved).

Stuck in the middle with you - by Stealer's Wheel (from Resevoir Dogs 1992)


And the ear cutting scene the music appeared (viewer discretion advised - this clip has sadistic gore and swearing):


Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (from The Exorcist)

This music wasn't written for the film, in truth director William Friedkin stumbled across it after rejecting Lalo Schifrin's original score. He even admitted to wanting Tangerine Dream to compose the music. On it's own Tubular Bells is an inspried composition, but only when you put it in the context of the film does it truly ascend to spine chilling greatness.

God Moving Over The Face of The Waters - by Moby (from the film Heat)

This one's from Imran, and as mentioned on the podcast the canny producer/DJ - managed to pimp the rights to every track on his 1999 album Play for either film or advertising use. Although in this instance the music was taken from 1995 album 'Everything is Wrong' and used in the epic cop vs gangster remake 'Heat'. 

Nightcall (featuring Lovefoxx) by Kavinsky (from the film Drive)

Drive is one of those recent films where the 1970s style sound track has become as memorable as the film itself. Kavinsky originally released Nightcall in 2010 and it features as a track on his recent pretty sweet album Outrun.

Wake Up - by Rage Against the Machine (from the Matrix)

Possibly the most badass musical end to any film (well the last twenty seconds and then credits), shame about the sequels themselves! The Wachowski's also used the band's song Calm Like a Bomb, on Matrix Reloaded.

Whilst in this zone I feel like I should give an honorable mention to the Will Smith film cannon, with tracks like Men in Black and Wild Wild West composed entirely for the films and more than delivering the PR needed for each of those intended movies.

Wild Wild West from the film of that title 


I liked this song better than the movie (ok I liked the movie as well but don't tell anyone).

The 1980s.........

The 80s was probably where the most obscure songs were dug up for some of the so bad they are almost awesome films of our impressionable childhoods.

Hold that thought............lets first begin in the 90s

Turtle Power - Partners in Kryme (TMNT the movie)

Another one from Imran who is Ninja Turtle obsessed (seriously, he still wears the pajamas, which are custom made as they really don't come in adult sizes.... honest i've looked) , but I defy any man currently in their 30s to have not sung along to this catchy piece of pop nonsense. I imagine it killed the career of Partners in Kryme though. I wonder if Jay Z or Kayne will score the upcoming remake? Interesting side note MC Hammer appeared on the soundtrack also, and luckily it did his career no harm at all......... oh wait.

Ok ok back to the 80s

Win in the End - Mark Safan (from Teen Wolf)

I still don't know who Mark Safan is, what? I should find out? Oh god dammit.... alright (moments later), erm well he's the brother of Craig Safan who was the composer on such stellar films as The Last Starfighter and Mr. Wrong (???) 

And Mark also wrote this.... honest he did...... god knows why? 

Some films are just greedy, if Terminator already didn't have an awesome enough score.


Then for the second film it also had this.......

Yes kids Axl Rose was once cool as f*ck, no honest he was!

Great songs not actually in the film?

So as Denis mentions in the podcast Seal's 'A Kiss From a Rose' only got added to the credits of the film - Batman Forever, so was never in the film itself (wiki explanation below):

Joel Schumacher ...... called Seal, and requested use of the song to play over a love scene between the characters played by Nicole Kidman and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever. Although the song was eventually not incorporated into this scene, it was instead used to play over the end credits; Seal believes this change contributed to the song's eventual popularity. 

But what about great songs in crap films?

1.) Judgement Night - This 1993 chase film staring Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding JR. As a bunch of guys wind up in the wrong neighbourhood crossing paths with local villain (Denis Leary) and his loveable goons. It's kind of a class war thing as the incredibly middle class group of liberal city folk have to man up to escape the badlands alive. The film is watchable but far from spectacular and barely registered in the cinemas at the time of release. Yet it's soundtrack brought together the cream of metal, hip-hop and grunge at that time, in one absolutely incredible cross over album.

Judgement Night - Onyx & Biohazard


2) Spawn - Jamie Foxx wants to reboot Todd McFarland's Spawn and please God someone let him as the original 1997 Mark A.Z. Dippé directed film was a terrible mess of CGI and awful plotting (I can't honestly remember one thing that happened in the film). But I do remember the soundtrack being strangely badass!

Trip like I do - Filter & Crystal Method


3) Blade (notably Blade 2) - Whilst all the Blade films have varied in quality, the soundtracks have always been pretty decent.

Mos Def and Massive Attack I Against I


4) Clerks - ok so this is in no way a bad film, but not many people think of the soundtrack when they think of this debut from Kevin Smith.

Stabbing Westward - Violent Mood Swings (Thread mix)

From this scene.

Oh and while we're at it................. Silence of the Lambs will never be the same

5. The Crow 2 - City of Angels - Not a terrible film by any means but not a classic either. The soundtrack on the other hand was pretty decent.

Hole - Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac cover)


Honorable good soundtrack/bad film mentions Escape LA, Blair Witch 2, Queen of the Damned and many many more bad horror films with half decent rock/metal soundtracks (their were hundreds of them in the late 90s early noughties).

Want more film music thoughts and opinions? Course you do, head over to the movie soundtracks podcast now.