A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article listing six songs that weren't specifically written for a movie, but are now forever associated with that film. Now it's time to go full circle. Which songs were written for a certain movie, but have since stood apart from the movie on their own merits? I began the last post by listing a few, and I'll include a couple of those here, along with a few others.
By the way, this doesn't mean you can't still associate them backwards to their origin. Last time, you knew that "Johnny B. Goode" actually came from Chuck Berry first, right? Likewise, the theme of this article means you can listen to these songs on their own, without immediately needing to see the movie. Here they are, in no particular order:
Bob Dylan - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
It may seem hard to believe that such a classic song was ever anything else but a hit from one of Dylan's studio albums, but it was in fact written for a little known 1973 movie called Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The Western, in which Dylan also had a minor role, was directed by Sam Peckinpah. After editing was complete, the movie was taken out of Peckinpah's hands by production company MGM, heavily re-edited, and then released, where it become a box office bomb. I guess if there's a silver lining to the story, it's that Dylan still made out good on the movie's failure.
Songs written for the soundtrack of a movie often become huge hits. I'm thinking about blockbusters like Elton John's "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, and "Don't You (Forget About Me)," written for The Breakfast Club. All of these are songs that, although written for a movie, developed a reputation outside of their respective films.
What about the other way around, songs that were popular long before appearing in a movie, but gained a second life as a crucial part of the film? It doesn't always happen, as directors and composers like to use original music, but sometimes it does and make the movie that much better. Here are six classic songs that you cannot help but associate with the popular film they were in:
Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode", Back to the Future
George just kissed Elaine, Marty's family is restored from non-existence, and Biff is out cold (for the moment). Time to go home, right? Not before one more song, of course, celebrating the achievement. Marty's rendition of the classic Chuck Berry hit (or was he playing the original version?) is what I think of whenever I hear "Johnny B. Goode."