Rock songs from famous films you need to know

vincentandmiaThere are lots of films with amazing soundtracks, but the most iconic films are the ones with a signature rock ‘n’ roll theme song. Since you don’t want to be the one fuddy-duddy who doesn’t recognize “Danger Zone” while the rest of your friends are singing along lustily in the bar, here’s a quick primer on five rock songs from famous films you need to know.

1. “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III

When “Rocky III” hit theaters in 1982, its theme song was “Eye of the Tiger,” which Survivor released as the single from its third album the next day. “Eye of the Tiger” topped the charts worldwide and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. If you don’t know this song, you might have been living under a rock for the past 30 years. Time to crawl out and get some culture.

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2. “Danger Zone” from Top Gun

Anyone who hears the opening riff of “Danger Zone” immediately thinks Skyhawk jets and Tom Cruise. Giorgio Moroder composed the song while Tom Whitlock wrote the lyrics, but it was Kenny Loggins who recorded the song for the 1986 film “Top Gun.” Moroder is best known for composing music for performers like David Bowie and lending his recording studio to bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Elton John, and Electric Light Orchestra, so it’s no wonder “Danger Zone” was and instant hit. Moroder and Whitlock also collaborated on “Take My Breath Away,” another iconic single from “Top Gun.”

3. “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future

Huey Lewis and the News recorded “The Power of Love” for the 1985 film “Back to the Future,” but the song quickly became a hit single on its own. In the film, Marty McFly tries to play a hard rock version of the song for a high school Battle of the Bands audition, but Huey Lewis — who plays a judge — tells him he’s “too darn loud.” The song was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 58th Academy Awards.

4. “You Never Can Tell” from Pulp Fiction

This song is famous primarily because it’s the music for the dance scene between Uma Thurman and John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction.” Chuck Berry wrote “You Never Can Tell” in the early ’60s while in federal prison, then released the song in 1964. It was later re-recorded by big names like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger. Regardless of the “Pulp Fiction” dance scene, it’s a great song, and one you need to know.

5. “That Thing You Do” from That Thing You Do!

“That Thing You Do,” an angsty, Beatles-style rock ‘n’ roll song, was written especially for the 1996 comedy of the same name directed by Tom Hanks. The ’60s throwback flick tells the story of a small-town rock band that is catapulted to fame when one single — “That Thing You Do — climbs the charts. The film pokes fun at rock ‘n’ roll stereotypes and is jam-packed with rock and pop songs specifically composed for the movie that resemble ’60s classics. The single “That Thing You Do” was released after the film and peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Special Mention: British rock band Queen composed much of the soundtrack for the 1986 Scottish fantasy film “Highlander,” and most of the songs in the film appeared on Queen’s album “A Kind of Magic,” since no official soundtrack for the film was released. If you’re a dedicated Queen fan, it’s worth checking out.

Photo via Wikipedia/Miramax Films

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