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1. Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith, 1975) – Dazed & Confused, (1993)
This movie was directed by Richard Linklater. Sweet Emotion was used in the intro scene as the 1970 Pontiac GTO pulls in slow motion on the last day of school in 1976.
2. Hip to Be Square (Huey Lewis & The News, 1986, Fore!) – American Psycho, (2000)
This song was used during scene where Patrick Bateman is about to murder Paul Allen, played by Jared Leto.
Bateman Quote: “Yes, it is. In ’87, Huey released this; Fore!, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip To Be Square“. A song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends.”
3. American Girl (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) – Silence of The Lambs, (1991)
Used in a scene when they introduce Catherine Martin as a kidnap victim. This song goes to depict the ultimate wholesomeness of the character. Singing in the car.
4. Tequila (The Champs, 1958) – Peewee Big Adventure, (1985)
The 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure featured a scene in which Pee-wee Herman knocks over a row of motorcycles, then proceeds to win over the angered bikers by selecting “Tequila” from the jukebox and comically dancing to it. The “Pee-wee dance,” as well as the character himself, have since been closely linked with the tune in popular culture. This usage of the tune was further referenced in rapper Joeski Love’s track “Pee-wee’s Dance”, which also utilized “Tequila”‘s melody.
5. Old Time Rock & Roll (Bob Seger, Stranger in Town 1978) – Risky Business, (1983) Tom Cruise in his underwear…need I say more.
6. In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel, 1986 So) – Say Anything, (1989)
Cameron Crowe directed this movie.
7. Tiny Dancer (Elton John, 1971 – Madman Across The Water) – Almost Famous, (2000)
sing along in bus
8. Dry the Rain (The Beta Band, 1998) – High Fidelity, (2000)
Also amazing soundtrack – Newest song on this list. It shows how good music – is good regardless of era.
9. Stuck In The Middle With You (Stealers Wheel, 1972, debut album of Gerry Rafferty) – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Could be the best or worst torture scene ever, depending on how you look at it.
10. My Sharona (The Knack, 1979) – Reality Bites, (1994)
When at the register the group of friends start dancing to this song, which was playing in the gas station, after using dad’s credit card for snacks.
11. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen, 1975) – Wayne’s World, (1992)
In 1992, the song enjoyed renewed popularity in the United States after being featured in a scene in the film Wayne’s World. The film’s director, Penelope Spheeris, was hesitant to use the song, as it did not entirely fit with the lead characters, who were fans of less flamboyant hard rock and heavy metal. Mike Myers insisted that the song fit the scene. According to music scholar Theodore Gracyk, by 1992, when the film was released, even “classic rock” stations had stopped playing the almost six-minute song. Gracyk suggests that beginning the tape in the middle of the song after “the lyrics which provide the song’s narrative … forces the film’s audience to respond to its presence in the scene without the ‘commentary’ of the lyrics”. Helped by the song, the soundtrack album of the film was a major hit.
In connection with this, a new video was released, interspersing excerpts from the film with footage from the original Queen video, along with some live footage of the band. Myers was horrified that the record company had mixed clips from Wayne’s World with Queen’s original video, fearing that this would upset the band. He said, “They’ve just whizzed on a Picasso.” He asked the record company to tell Queen that the video was not his idea, and that he apologised to them. The band, though, sent a reply simply saying, “Thank you for using our song.” This astonished Myers, who responded, “Thank you for even letting me touch the hem of your garments!”
The Wayne’s World video version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” won Queen it’s only MTV Video Music Award for “Best Video from a Film“. When remaining members Brian May and Roger Taylor took the stage to accept the award, Brian May was overcome with emotion and said that “Freddie would be tickled.” In the final scene of the video, a pose of the band from the video from the original “Bohemian Rhapsody” clip morphs into an identically posed 1985 photo, first featured in the “One Vision” video.
In the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Myers has a cameo as a fictional record executive who plans the song and refuses to release it as a single, proclaiming that it is too long for radio and that it is not a song that “teenagers can crank up the volume in their car and bang their heads to”, a reference to the iconic scene in Wayne’s World.
12. I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher, 1965) – Groundhog Day, (1993)
Used as alarm clock to show that the day is still Groundhog day.
13. Where Is My Mind (Pixies, Surfer Rosa 1988) – Fight Club, (1999)
In the final scene of this David Fincher film, everything is falling apart aka the collapse of life as Edward Nortan’s character. There is a theory that all the characters are one person (Tyler Durden, Marla Singer, Bob Paulsen, etc.)
14. Magic Man (Heart, 1975 Dreamboat Annie) – Virgin Suicides, (1999)
Sophia Copalla’s debut film, once again perfect use of introducing the character, Trip Fontaine.
16. Banana Boat (Day-0) – Beetlejuice, (1988)
Tim Burton Film, dinner scene where it was supposed to convince them home is haunted…instead they think it’s hilarious.
17. Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf, 1968) – Easy Rider, (1969)
Another introduction scene where the song sets whole tone for the film. Fonda and Hopper played two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South, carrying the proceeds from a cocaine deal. Real drugs were actually used in scenes.
18. Down In Mexico (The Coasters, 1957) – Death Proof, (2007)
Lapdance scene, nothing more to say here besides there were so many iconic scenes in this film with good song choice. It was pretty hard to pick.
19. Try A Little Tenderness (Otis Redding, 1966) – Pretty In Pink, (1986)
Another film with a great soundtrack…this is an iconic scene with Ducky dancing in the record store, but didn’t make the actual soundtrack!
20. The End (The Doors, 1967) – Apocalypse Now, opening scene.
Once again setting the tone of the whole film. The scene feels very apocalyptic (obviously) Transitions are unique (using ceiling fan to show memories of helicopters) During the Vietnam War, U.S. Army has apparently gone insane and is waging a brutal but successful guerilla war against terrified NVA and PLAF forces without permission, directions or resupply from his commanders.