Trepidation! Today, we're just going to take a short look at a few of my better-loved musical backings to movies that were made in the '80s (and one in the '60s)! Specifically, the non-symphonic songs. Forthcoming:
"Footloose", a 1984 flick about kids who just wanna dance, featured a song bearing the name of the film. "Footloose" the song, performed by Kenny Loggins, is the reason I always tell people I think Kevin Bacon should've danced to distract the graboids in "Tremors". Also on the track list was "Let's Hear it for the Boys" by Denice Williams. Though I've never actually paid any attention to the lyrics, I can't help but dance when I hear it come on.
Other than introducing me to Sean Connery, "Highlander" rocked my ears like nobody's business. Having grown up with parents who thought their music was the only good music, I listened to a lot of Queen growing up. The opening number, "Princes of the Universe", was a nice way to open the film. It tells of a man who's immortal, as he has "inside him blood of kings." A good way into the feature Connor McCleod (of the clan McCleod, played by Christopher Lambert) loses the woman he loves to the ravages of time while the emotional "Who Wants to Live Forever", written by guitarist Brian May, reminds us of the bittersweet pros and cons of immortality. Well, that and getting your head cut off. Yikes...
Time to buzz the tower. This Tom Cruise classic of the mid 1980s brings us back to Kenny Loggins with "Danger Zone", a song that continues to pound in my veins even as I sit here and write about it. It often leads to a lot of "We should take the highway. The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighway to the DANGER ZONE
!!!" jokes when I'm playing D&D with my friends. Also included is the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", sung in a bar by Maverick, Goose, and several others. I've never actually seen this movie, so I don't know much more about it. Blasphemy, I know.
Bringing back a formula that Disney had not fully employed for some time (Wikipedia tells me it hadn't been employed since the 1970s), 1989's "The Little Mermaid" was a bouquet of musical splendor. Songs by Alan Menken with lyricist Howard Ashman provided a world where music could blend seamlessly into most situations. Numbers like "Under the Sea" and "Part of That World" (reprised by "Part of Your World") are hopeful tales of a young girl from two different points of view, while the mellow "Kiss the Girl" is one of the better love songs I've heard ever. Counterbalancing, Ursula's "Poor Unfortunate Soul" captures the essence of her character perfectly: at first she's soft and gentle so as to pull one in, then she becomes brash and manipulating, revealing her ulterior motives. As a final note, "Les Poissons" (performed by Chef Louis) is a jaunty tune sprinkled with French 2 terms and ending in a rousing orchestral version of Jacques Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" (colloquially known as the "Can-Can") during a comical chase scene.
In this horrific tale of the vengeance of nature, the hills are alive, and only one man can... oh, wait. No. Wrong movie. This one has Julie Andrews as the nun-in-training Maria von Trappe (though I don't believe her name in the beginning of the movie is "von Trappe") who is sent from her abbey to care for the seven children of a former naval commander during the Nazi occupation of Austria. Determined to loosen the militaristic hold Captain Georg Ritter von Trappe holds over his household (due to the persistence to cast away anything that reminds him of his late wife), Maria teaches the children to enjoy life and how to sing, all the while teaching the captain that his children love him, as does she. From nuns pondering what to do with the adventures and un-nun-like Maria to a strong-hearted girl making plans with her best guy (Rolfe, a young Nazi hopeful), to a prancing musical lesson, down to a hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Edelweiss", all the songs were written by Rogers and Hammerstein, and most of them make me feel all squishy and wonderful inside.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, or even really my tops list, these are a few of the movies I loved to (and still love) watch as a child not only for the cinematic experience, but for the musical enjoyment as well. Until next time, my friends, may you all appreciate what music lends to the world a little more.