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Music That Defines Movies: The Song Remains the Same... As the Movie Title

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By Chris Kavan - 11/17/10 at 01:19 PM CT

You have to give credit - not all movies can pull of the feat of having a song with the movie title in it and still make it work. I mean, the vast majority of movies don't need a catchy song and others get by with a great soundtrack with no need for an original song. But for the few that dare, you can get by with some gems.

1) Live and Let Die - Every James Bond film opens with the title song. Yet I would bet that if I asked you could only recall a handful because, let's face it, most of them just aren't that good. Yet Paul McCartney came up with a theme song that is not only great - it's memorable. In fact, it's so good sometimes I forget it's associated with a James Bond movie. Runner up: Goldfinger, the big and brassy Shirley Bassey title track.

2) The Theme from Shaft - There's a good bet you've probably never seen the original version of Shaft, but I also bet you've heard this song somewhere before. Isaac Hayes created a soul/funk classic with a great beat and unforgettable hook - one that made him the first African American to win a non-acting Oscar. Can ya dig it?

3) Footloose - There may be better films that define the 80s, but Footloose has got to be near the top. There are plenty of other songs to go along, but the dance finale at the end is still the best part of the movie and thanks to Kenny Loggins (an 80s staple if there ever was one) there is also a suitably upbeat song to go with the dance moves.

4) Ghostbusters - "Who ya gonna call?" - with those immortal words Ray Park, Jr. officially coined a phrase that will never go away, ever. Inspired by an advertisement on late night TV (and maybe a little too much of "I Want a New Drug") Ghostbusters was born and the world is better because of it.

5) Viva Las Vegas - Once again a song whose grandeur completely overshadows the movie as most Elvis films are pure fluff, but gives a chance to showcase some great singing. This is one of The King's most playful songs - also one of the more up-tempo and overall enjoyable in my opinion.

You can probably come up with a few more films that follow this pattern. And yes, Oingo Boingo's Weird Science just missed the top 5 - the 80s were a heyday of original song titles.


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