The Best Songs in Movies

pulp-fiction-dance-200Good music to a film is kind of like tomato sauce on a meat pie… it’s not essential but definitely makes it better.

There are so many awesome soundtracks out there, some better than others. Blues Brothers, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Dazed & Confused, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and High Fidelity, just to name a few.

And when it comes to individual scenes and songs, does the perfect song make a particular scene better, or does the film make a song more memorable?

I guess it’s just like the chicken and the egg because in the end, who really gives a shit? They’re both good individually, and BBQ chicken in scrambled eggs makes a pretty damn good breakfast.

So to celebrate good music in good films, here’s my list of the best of the best. This playlist is based on a post I did back in 2008, with a few new songs added in the mix. There are literally millions of good songs in film, so I’ve narrowed my list with the only criteria: it has to be a great song AND feature in a great movie (and I’ve tried to only include good bands).

Anyway, it makes for a pretty good mix-tape. Enjoy!

And for those people playing at home, here’s the list again but with the film reference included:

  1. You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry (Pulp Fiction)
  2. Hip To Be Square – Huey Lewis and The News (American Psycho)
  3. Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up To Boston (The Departed)
  4. Kenny Rogers – Just Dropped In (The Big Lebowski)
  5. Nightcall – Kavinsky (Drive)
  6. Born Slippy – Underworld (Trainspotting)
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (Wayne’s World)
  8. Where Is My Mind – The Pixies (Fight Club)
  9. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (Withnail & I)
  10. Little Green Bag – George Baker Selection (Reservoir Dogs)
  11. Twist & Shout – The Beatles (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
  12. Porcelain – Moby (The Beach)
  13. Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine (The Matrix)
  14. Red Right Hand – Nick Cave (Scream)
  15. Long Tall Sally – Little Richard (Predator)
  16. Tiny Dancer – Elton John (Almost Famous)
  17. Romeo & Juliet – Dire Straits (Empire Records)
  18. I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels)
  19. New Slang – The Shins (Garden State)
  20. She’s A Lady – Tom Jones (Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas)
  21. It’s Your Thing – The Isley Brothers (Out Of Sight)
  22. You’re Gonna Miss Me – 13th Floor Elevators (High Fidelity)
  23. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Forrest Gump)
  24. The Tracks Of My Tears – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (Platoon)
  25. We’re Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes (Napoleon Dynamite)
  26. Hold Tight – Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mitch and Tich (Death Proof)
  27. The Weight – The Band (Easy Rider)
  28. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones (The Big Chill)
  29. Get Up (Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine – James Brown (City Of God)
  30. Fuckin’ In The Bushes – Oasis (Snatch)
  31. Slow Ride – Foghat (Dazed & Confused)
  32. Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel (The Graduate)
  33. These Days – Powderfinger (Two Hands)
  34. Gimme Some Lovin’ – Spencer Davis Group (Days of Thunder)
  35. Paper Planes – M.I.A. (Slumdog Millionaire)
  36. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan (Watchmen)
  37. The Seeker – The Who (American Beauty)
  38. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry (Back to the Future)
  39. Mad World – Gary Jules (Donnie Darko)
  40. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong (Good Morning Vietnam)

Any missing?

If there’s any you think I’ve missed or perhaps intentionally forgotten any good songs, leave a comment below.

3 thoughts on “The Best Songs in Movies

  1. Great list. Always feel there’s things I would have put in but, before I mention them, I like to acknowledge the effort made here.

    1. I would have gone with “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel, as the more memorable song from RESERVOIR DOGS. Can never get that scene out of my head whenever I hear the opening strums.

    2. “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates, in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, is a “recent” one that has made it into my personal “favourite movie scenes with song” list.

    1. Cheers Travis! I swapped Stuck In The Middle With You for Little Green Bag at the very last minute. Both good tracks.

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