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Top 10 Songs Made Famous By Movies

Updated on October 11, 2014

Welcome to the Top 10 Songs Made Famous by Movies!

Here, I will be listing my top 10 favorite and most memorable songs used in films that dated back to as early as the 70s.

Through these films, these songs became hits and gained massive popularity.

I'm not talking about movie theme songs like Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On, but songs that are actually being played or used in any form during the film itself.

It could be a song that complements a scene in the film or a song being played on a radio in the background. Or even someone humming to the tune.

No 10. John Denver - 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' - Armageddon (1998)

John Denver's beautiful song 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' was sang during a scene in Michael Bay's 1998 disaster movie, Armageddon, where the Bruce Willis's heroic crew is about to leave for their epic mission.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

The original title of the song was "Oh Babe I Hate To Go" but Denver's then producer, Milt Okun, convinced him to change the title.

9 August 1973. Photo of John Denver from a television special where he served as the program's narrator.
9 August 1973. Photo of John Denver from a television special where he served as the program's narrator. | Source

No 9. Snap! - 'The Power' - Bruce Almighty (2003)

'The Power' by the group, Snap! was used in Jim Carrey's box-office comedy hit Bruce Almighty, during the funny sequence where Jim Carrey's character was having fun messing around in the streets with his new-found powers.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

The song opens with the somewhat enigmatic line in Russian. ("The American company Transceptor Technologies has started production of the 'Personal Companion' computer"). "Personal Companion" was a computer-like device for the blind and visually impaired.

No 8. Queen - 'Don't Stop Me Now' - Shaun of the Dead (2004)

'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen was used in Shaun of the Dead, the horror-comedy zombie film directed by Edgar Wright.

It is by far the wackiest zombie film I've ever watched. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

A must-watch for any zombie fans and comedy fans.

This clip shows the beginning of the bar fight scene where Queen's Don't Stop Me Now starts to play. Then it will continues the song with various scenes from the movie.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

Musically, the song is based around Mercury's piano playing, with John Deacon and Roger Taylor providing a bass guitar and drums backing track. The song also provides an example of Queen's trademark style of multitrack harmony vocals for the chorus lines. Several recordings were laid over each other to achieve the final sound. On the studio version, Brian May's only guitar playing is in his guitar solo, but on live versions performed on the band's 1978 and 1979 tours, May would also play rhythm guitar throughout the rest of the song to give more of a rock feeling to it.

Queen performing in New Haven, Connecticut, US in November 1978.
Queen performing in New Haven, Connecticut, US in November 1978. | Source

No 7. Aerosmith - 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' - Armageddon (1998)

'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith has an instrumental version played in the famous 'animal cracker' scene from Armageddon. Some say the scene is cheesy, but hey I kinda like it!

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

The song helped open Aerosmith up to a new generation and remains a slow dance staple. Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell labeled the song "one of the great songs of all time" during the show's seventh season.

Aerosmith performing in Arnhem, Netherlands on June 23, 2010 Aerosmith in Concert (Arnhem, Netherlands)
Aerosmith performing in Arnhem, Netherlands on June 23, 2010 Aerosmith in Concert (Arnhem, Netherlands) | Source

No 6. Stealers Wheel - 'Stuck in the Middle With You' - Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Stealers Wheel's 'Stuck in the Middle With You' can be heard during one my favorite scenes in Reservoir Dogs, the 1992 gangster film from writer-director Quentin Tarantino.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

The song was conceived initially by the band members as a parody of Bob Dylan's distinctive lyrical style in order to attain chart success, but the song became a hit in its own right and not because of its original intent. The single sold over one million copies, eventually peaking in 1973 at #6 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #8 in the UK Singles Chart.

Stealers Wheel in AVRO's TopPop (Dutch television show) in 16 November 1973.
Stealers Wheel in AVRO's TopPop (Dutch television show) in 16 November 1973. | Source

No 5. The Bee Gees - 'You Should Be Dancing' - Saturday Night Fever (1977)

'You Should Be Dancing' from The Bee Gees was featured in John Travolta's 1977 drama, Sturday Night Fever, where John Travolta gracefully doing his groove thang on the dancefloor.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

The Boston Celtics also play this song when they are about to win a basketball game accompanied by the ever popular "Dancing Gino" video from the television show American Bandstand. Recently, the Tampa Bay Rays have started playing the song at home games between innings.

Taken in 1992 in Los Angeles, the Bee Gees.
Taken in 1992 in Los Angeles, the Bee Gees. | Source

No 4. Berlin - 'Take My Breath Away' - Top Gun (1986)

The hit song, 'Take My Breath Away' by the American band Berlin was used in the late Tony Scott's 1986 aerial action movie Top Gun. And below is the scene where the song is played.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

"Take My Breath Away" was re-released in October 1990 to coincide with the first television showing of Top Gun (by ITV, on the evening of October 6) as well as Peugeot's new television advertising campaign for the 405 model range. The re-release reached number three in the UK singles charts.

Photograph of Berlin (1982).
Photograph of Berlin (1982). | Source

No 3. Louis Armstrong - 'What A Wonderful World' - Good Morning Vietnam (1987) & Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong's 'What A Wonderful World' was used most notably in 2 films, and both used the song in an ironic way by playing the song over a montage of various scenes of violence.

They are Good Morning Vietnam, a 1987 American comedy-drama film and Michael Moore's documentary, Bowling for Columbine.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was initially offered to Tony Bennett, who turned the song down. Thereafter, it was offered to Louis Armstrong.

It was re-released in America shortly after Armstrong's death in 1971 and became a top ten hit.

A picture of Louis Armstrong. Short-haired, black man in his fifties blowing into a trumpet. He is wearing a light-colored sport coat, a white shirt and a bow tie.
A picture of Louis Armstrong. Short-haired, black man in his fifties blowing into a trumpet. He is wearing a light-colored sport coat, a white shirt and a bow tie. | Source

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

No 2. The Righteous Brothers - 'Unchained Melody' - Ghost (1990)

'Unchained Melody' by The Righteous Brothers is the song that made the provocative 'pottery scene' from the romantic movie Ghost, famous.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 popular song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. Rerecorded in 1965, it became one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages.

The Righteous Brothers performing at Knott's Berry Farm.
The Righteous Brothers performing at Knott's Berry Farm. | Source

No 1. The Doors - 'The End' - Apocalypse Now (1979)

'The End' by The Doors was used in two scenes from Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 anti-war film, Apocalypse Now, starring Martin Sheen and Lawrence Fishburne (Morpheus) during their younger days. One scene is the intro sequence(the clip below), while the other is the scene near the end of the film, which I will not mention more as it will be a huge spoiler for those who have not watched the movie.

Some interesting Wikipedia Facts about this song:

Originally written by Jim Morrison as a song about breaking up with his high school girlfriend, it evolved through months of performances at Los Angeles' Whisky a Go Go into a nearly 12-minute opus on their self-titled album. The band would perform the song to close their last set. It was first released in January 1967.

Reader's Feedback

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    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 

      7 years ago

      I had to stop back to bless this lens :)

    • TopMovieSoundtr profile image

      TopMovieSoundtr 

      7 years ago

      Great compilation. Love the Top 10 Format.

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      Love most of these songs.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      the right song can add so much to a movie! (and vice versa!) thumbs-up and blessed by the soundtracks angel :)

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      the right song can add so much to a movie! (and vice versa!) thumbs-up and blessed by the soundtracks angel :)

    • profile image

      mockingbird999 

      7 years ago

      I love the Louis Armstrong song.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      7 years ago

      This is a great selectyion and I agree with Jeremy, they were wonderful songs when I was growing up. Featured this on How to Make good Music. Norma

    • LawrenceTekk profile imageAUTHOR

      LawrenceTekk 

      7 years ago

      @MisterJeremy: You're absolutely right!

      Lol, I've realised I've strayed off-topic from the title actually. I should have called it Top 10 Popular Songs.

      But I do believe that some of the songs won't be as well-known to the younger generation, if not for these movies.

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 

      7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Showing my age here maybe, but a lot of those songs were very famous well before the movies you mentioned.

    • LawrenceTekk profile imageAUTHOR

      LawrenceTekk 

      7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks musicaldreamer. Glad you like it! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Very interesting lens! My favorite is Mrs. Robinson also :)

    • LawrenceTekk profile imageAUTHOR

      LawrenceTekk 

      7 years ago

      @kerbev: Thanks for the suggestion, kab!

      Added to the list!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 

      7 years ago

      This is great! What are you next 10? ;)

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 

      7 years ago from Upstate, NY

      And, Mrs. Robinson on The Graduate.

    • LawrenceTekk profile imageAUTHOR

      LawrenceTekk 

      7 years ago

      @ChemKnitsBlog2: LOL! Good question.

      My mind is thinking of Top 10 Places To Relax My Overloaded Brain! :D

    • LawrenceTekk profile imageAUTHOR

      LawrenceTekk 

      7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! Appreciate your comments :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Great lens - I wish you the best of luck with this as I think it will do well. Congrats.

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