Soundtracks I Have Loved: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Soundtrack: Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Year Released: 1987
I Bought It On: Vinyl
Do I Still Own It?: Yep.

Track List:

I Can Take Anything (Love Theme from "Planes, Trains And Automobiles") - E.T.A. featuring Steve Martin and John Candy
Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo - Westworld
I'll Show You Something Special - Balaam and the Angel
Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes) - Book of Love
Power To Believe - The Dream Academy

Six Days on the Road - Steve Earle and the Dukes
Gonna Move - Dave Edmunds
Back in Baby's Arms - Emmylou Harris
Red River Rock - Silicon Teens
Wheels - Stars Of Heaven

I was going to space out the Hughes soundtracks but, after a closed-door meeting of the Tinsel and Rot Board of Governors, the decision was made to cover them all in a row. And I figured the next in the series might as well be what's probably my favorite John Hughes movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I can find almost nothing bad to say about this movie. The best I can do is tell you that the decision to not use the serial comma in the title rankles me. Other than that, it's just about perfect. And it has one of the all-time great movie scenes, now presented in English and German (NSFW language if you're dumb enough not to have seen the movie yet).

But I'll try to stay focused on the soundtrack as best I can. It's split into two sections, Town and Country. The Town side is the weaker of the two, and I can't say I recall where "Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo" or "I'll Show You Something Special" appear in the movie. But the leadoff track was the first song I remember when the movie came out. I could swear there was an actual MTV video, but I can't find it on YouTube, so you'll have to settle for this fan-made one.

The other two songs on the Town side are also prominent in my mind, though I can't quite place "Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes)" (a search on the Internets says when they're on the train, so I'll believe that). "Power to Believe" is easier to place, because it comes in at the end of what might be John Candy's best moment on film.

The Country side is why I bothered buying the soundtrack in the first place (in case you were wondering, I bought it well after the movie came to VHS at a since-closed liquidator store on W. 27th St.). "Six Days on the Road" was probably the first time I heard Steve Earle sing, and definitely the first time I heard that song, which I've probably heard roughly a hundred times since (there's another Earle song, "Continental Trailways Blues," in the movie but not on the soundtrack...more on glaring omissions from the soundtrack later). It was also the first time I heard "Red River Rock," and it took a few years before I realized it wasn't a Silicon Teens original. And no disrespect to Johnny and the Hurricanes, but I still prefer this soundtrack's version.

And, lucky for Emmylou Harris, her version of "Back in Baby's Arms" serves as the background music for the best-known scene in the movie.

The Dave Edmunds and Stars Of Heaven tracks don't do much for me, though they do fit in well with the overall theme of the movie, so I can't really fault their inclusion. But I can most definitely fault the exclusion of two songs from the movie. And, no, I'm not thinking of these two, though I wouldn't have objected if they made it. (And, by the way, I'm still waiting for the bus ride in which a singalong breaks out.)

No, I am more concerned with the exclusion of the final scene's "Every Time You Go Away" (not the Paul Young version), which is particularly bizarre because it comes at such an important part of the movie, and, more egregiously, the decision to leave this off the soundtrack.

What the hell? That's almost as disheartening as the fact that there wasn't even a soundtrack released for Uncle Buck. That's just crazy. So many great songs in that movie--"Tweedle Dee,", "Jukebox Baby," "Laugh, Laugh" (which I just learned wasn't called "Fly, Fly Before I Die"...you learn something new every day, huh?), and so on--and yet no official soundtrack. Forget about Stonehenge; the lack of a UB soundtrack is one of the great mysteries of life. I'll never understand it.

Anyway, "Mess Around" would've knocked the Planes, Trains and Automobiles soundtrack up a few notches, but, as it stands, the Country side makes it a pretty decent companion to a pretty phenomenal movie that served as the start of a series of stellar Hughes/Candy collaborations.

More on that next time. I'll try not to bemoan the lack of an Uncle Buck soundtrack any further during that post. But I can't promise anything.

No comments: