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