The Neverending Story from The Neverending Story (surprise!)
TNS is part of the Great 80′s fantasy trifecta. Along with Labyrinth and Legend it was in the afterschool movie rotation of my entire childhood. What’s not to love? Luck dragons, rock eaters, boys that look like girls, pretty nameless princesses and this song. I’ve watched the video three times in a row now marveling at Limahl’s dramatic lipsyncing and even more dramatic hairstyle. You probably still know all the words.
Loved By the Sun from Legend
To be fair, this is the song that taught me that I want nothing to do with Tangerine Dream. Ever. But it’s so perfect in context, Jon Anderson’s falsetto guiding you through magical forests and clouds of glitter and unicorn love fests. I still sing along when I watch the movie. Note- this video is the last few minutes of the movie, so if you have never seen this cinematic greatness you should stop immediately and rectify that situation.
Dancing in Heaven from Girls Just Want to Have Fun
This is the song that sparked the idea for this whole post. I have no words for how much I love it. If you aren’t familiar, GJWTHF is the greatest dance competition movie OF ALL TIME. Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt and some dude that looks suspiciously like Joey Lawrence and full on 80′s dance jams. It is perfection.
A Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid
Don’t make a face. This song is possibly the finest brain worm ever crafted. A point which was proven by a beer-fueled sing-a-long on my front porch last summer when 4 girls who hadn’t seen the movie since childhood sang it out remembering all the words and inflection without missing a beat. It was kind of amazing. I could go on about how this song taught me new words (reprimand!) and about how it’s important to be “fine young women, sick of swimmin, ready to stand” but Rakesh Satyal said it better than I ever could. I can’t encourage you strongly enough to watch the video of his APOYW rendition. It’s fucking delightful.
The Goonies R Good Enough from The Goonies (obviously)
First of all, if you don’t love The Goonies you are a hopeless shell of a human being and should give up now. The song is a classic and the video is possibly the greatest use of the form ever. A two part epic full of Wrestling Superstars, dancing pirates, tentacled sea creatures, the Goonies kids, Cyndi in all of her adorable greatness and Andre the Giant kicking some ass. If you don’t love this, I don’t know why you’re here. Seriously. Get off our website, you aren’t awesome enough to hang.
As the World Falls Down from Labyrinth
This was a tough call. Labyrinth is the greatest movie of all time and the soundtrack is nothing short of life changing. You may be thinking, “What about Magic Dance?” and you would have a point. It is, no doubt, the most recognizable song from the film and I’m willing to bet if you were to say “You remind me of the babe” in a group of people someone will always answer “What babe?” That is the magic of Labyrinth! ATWFD addresses the other magic of Labyrinth, the Bowie magic. Not for nothing, Jareth and his pants are counted by many as a first movie crush. Every girl I know cited this scene as a childhood dream wedding. It was the pinnacle of romanticism and we all wanted to look as pretty as Jennifer Connelly. I mean, sure, as an adult you’re all “um he roofied her peach and this is a weird sexual awakening fantasy sequence and I’m really freaked out by the phallic thing in the box and I’m pretty sure this is a warm up for an Eyes Wide Shut style masked orgy” but it’s soooooooo goooooooooooooood.
Honorable mention is due to Within You for being my favorite.
Dare from Transformers: The Movie
If you were a male child of the 1980′s and did not cry your eyes out when (OMG SPOILER) Optimus “Jesus Robot Christ” Prime dies in this 90-minute toy commercial*, then you probably lack a soul. Stan Bush, patron saint of the power-pop synthesizer, recorded this song specifically for the TFTM soundtrack. Everytime this song plays, you can be certain that somewhere, in the mind of an American male born between 1974 and 1982, one of three things is happening:
- The Decepticons are Blitzing Autobot City (We’re really taking a pounding, I’ve got better things to do tonight than die, etc.)
- Hot Rod is fighting Galvatron for control of the Autobot Matrix inside of a planet that eats other planets!
- There is a persistant thought that if only mom hadn’t thrown out that box of transformers, I could be flossing serious baller status on ebay right now – Omega Supreme is worth like five large, yo.
*Mind you, this remains an epic 90-minute toy commercial, one of the greatest ever conceived by humans. How do you improve upon it? Outside of watching it in a double feature with a movie that contains the phrase “Waaasssssss oncccccce a maaaaaaaaannnnn”, you probably don’t.
The Touch from Transformers: The Movie
I’ll level with you: This is a terrible song. I mean, like wretchedly awful. And as much as my inner nerd wants to discuss Spectre General (aka Kick Axe)’s “Hunger”, containing some of the most grammatically incorrect lyrics ever written (Ahem: “If it’s against the law, you can bet I’ll break it”), The Touch is better known, was originally recorded for Stallone’s Cobra (though it never made it into this equally awful movie!), and was famously covered by Mark Wahlberg in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. You can even get this song for Rock Band or Guitar Hero. As stated, this song is bad – really, really bad. Like not even “Final Countdown” so-bad-it’s-good bad, no, this song is terrible. So why has it persisted in American society, being heard on NBC’s Chuck and Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad, just to name a few? Fret not, pop culture consumer, here is your answer: It is because if you have both The Touch and The Power (Yeah!), as this song assures you is the case, then you could save the world. Or maybe *a* world. Maybe an animated world full of robots that turn in to guns and cars. Because nerds can wisfully reminisce over the the golden age of hair metal – the 80s – just as much as everyone else.
Dream Warriors From A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: The Dream Warriors
Yeah, I might have had a twisted childhood. But even if you can’t handle the soul-searing awesomeness that is Dokken, you have to admit that the video is a piece of genius. Interspersing footage from the movie with clips of the band playing on the movie’s sets was a master-stroke, I remember the video scaring me almost as much as the actual film did. And with good reason: the message of this fine piece of cinema is that Dokken’s music is so terrible that it even scares Freddy Kruger.
Danger Zone from Top Gun
Kenny Loggins is the undisputed master of cheesy 80s pseudo-rock, and nothing makes me want to don a pair of Aviator sunglasses and look longingly at Val Kilmer like Danger Zone. Electric drums? Check. Pointless synthesizers? Check. A white-as-the-driven-snow man trying to rough his voice up to sound like a blues singer? Oh baby, you better believe check. This song fueled every boy’s desire to be a fighter pilot. Then Iron Eagle came out and we all pretty much lost all interest in the job.