Though we might see film as a fundamentally visual experience, the progression of sound in a motion picture is a huge and important development to movies. Whether a film is an action-packed adventure, a heartfelt drama or a laugh-out-loud comedy, the perfect song at the perfect moment will always improve the impact and composition of a scene. In the 80s particularly, music and movies worked hand in hand like prom king and queen.
We’ve searched through the archives to select 10 of the best, or at least most memorable and iconic, 80s movie songs for your delectation and delight:
10. “If You Leave” – Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark
– Pretty in Pink (1986)
By British new-wavers there is no better setting than the prom to make this impassioned plea: “Promise me just one more night, then we’ll go our separate ways.” Pretty in Pink let the song be the yearning, melancholic yet totally danceable, perfect prom song of the decade.
9. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” – Irene Cara
– Flashdance (1983)
This was the title song to the movie Flashdance, one of the first movies centered on integrating pop songs into films. It’s Irene Cara’s 80s synth-pop sound and triumphant message that defines the film.
8. “Mysteries Of Love” – Julee Cruise
– Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch is often credited as being really weird and super wacky, and I completely understand that. However, “Mysteries Of Love” playing as Jeffrey and Sandy dance and confess to each other that they’re in love is maybe the only conventional thing that fits the awkward teen romance in Blue Velvet. It juxtaposes chopped-off ears, homeless demons and the horror that awaits them just one scene later.
7. “Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins
– Top Gun (1986)
Top Gun wouldn’t be nearly as iconic without the film’s opening track, giving the entire movie a cool factor in just one song. The 80s synths mixed with electric guitar put such a prominent time-stamp on the movie, with the opening scene still being referenced and remade even today.
6. “The Power Of Love” – Huey Lewis & The News
– Back to the Future (1985)
“The Power Of Love” is the subtle theme song for Back to the Future, making several quirky appearances in the trilogy. Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and his band perform this song at the high school talent show auditions, only to have Marty change the rendition with his flashy heavy metal guitar soloing. Huey actually cameos in the film playing the judge that says they’re “just too darn loud”. But the time travel classic was not too loud for real life audiences, giving the group their first No 1.
Five more 80s hits on the next page…