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."
The Beatles - "Twist and Shout", Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The car, the get-well campaign, the Cubs game, and the attempts by his sister and school administrator to catch him in the act. All of these are things that might cause you to think of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but probably not. Put on "Twist and Shout," however, and the film instantly comes to mind. In one of the movie's most iconic scenes, Ferris crashes and completely takes over the Von Steuben Day parade in Chicago, resulting in a perfectly choreographed dance sequence.
Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody", Wayne's World
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a perennial favorite, but Wayne World gave it new life. Set early in the film, the scene establishes the rest of the movie, including Wayne's desire for a guitar he can't afford, and the fact that these guys are sort of rocker wannabes, with their minds still set in the '70s and '80s. Mildly interesting fact: The film helped bring "Bohemian Rhapsody" back to #2, twenty years after it was released.
Sonny and Cher - "I Got You Babe", Groundhog Day
The key to this one is repetition. We heard it so much in the movie that it's almost impossible not to connect the two. However, very little of the song is actually heard in the movie, because the alarm clock it plays on either gets turned off, smashed, pushed off the nightstand, or thrown. I don't blame Phil — if I had to hear the same song over and over until I got my life straightened out, I too would hate it.
Bob Seger - "Old Time Rock and Roll", Risky Business
Another early-in-the-film moment, it's nearly impossible to listen to "Old Time Rock and Roll" and not imagine Tom Cruise sliding into frame in a dress shirt and underpants. Like what "Bohemian Rhapsody" did for Wayne's World, the combination of the song and visual helps set the tone of the rest of the movie.
Harry Belafonte - "Day-O", Beetlejuice
Probably once of the most remembered scenes from Beetlejuice was the dance scene set to Harry Belafonte's "Day-O." As the Deetez's host a dinner to prove the supernatural occurrences in their home to Charles' boss, they get their wish as the dinner party starts singing and dancing uncontrollably. The song also acts as something of a secondary theme to the movie, and foreshadows the possession scene, as the refrain is played before the opening credits.