Soundtrack Songs I Have Loved

You might think I spent all of my youth buying soundtracks. This is completely and utterly wrong. You're clearly not as smart as you think you are, with your fancy book learning and alleged keen insight into what I spent money on when I was younger.

I will have you know, Mister or Miss Smartypants (Mrs. Smartypants if you married into the Smartypants clan) that I very often bought 45s of songs that were on soundtracks. And sometimes I bought these 45s without ever seeing, or having any real intention to see, the movies in which they appeared. See, just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions (thank you, Rowdy Roddy Piper, star of Body Slam, whose soundtrack I, of course, have).

In any event, now that we've pointed out how stupid you are, let's look at some of the great soundtrack songs I own on 45s.

Who can forget the brilliant acting career of Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord? Or the amazing solo career of Duran Duran's Andy Taylor? Or the days when Wayne Gretzky's wife was a motion picture lead? What's that? Everyone, you say? Well, then let's all go back to those thrilling times and enjoy Andy Taylor's "Take It Easy," from the Gaylord/Jones vehicle American Anthem.

I cannot begin to tell you what compelled me to buy this 45 (it almost certainly wasn't the video). I can only guess that my sister's slavish devotion to Duran Duran (though she was more of a John Taylor gal) finally rubbed off on me. And I can't decide if that video makes me glad or sad that I've never seen American Anthem. That Mitch Gaylord seems like one hell of an actor.

Did you know that Bob Seger's "Shakedown" (from Beverly Hills Cop II) was nominated for an Academy Award in 1987? And that somehow it didn't win? It lost to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," which I guess I can understand. If it had lost to fellow nominee "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," that would've been a problem.

Fun fact: I still get a little excited when that song comes on the radio (i.e., twice a year).

Wikipedia tells me that Little Richard performed "Shakedown" at the Academy Awards that year, which enables me to make a nice segway into Mr. Penniman's "Great Gosh A' Mighty" from Down and Out in Beverly Hills, a movie I clearly remember falling asleep in the middle of after I rented it from the late, lamented Electronic Junction in Staten Island, NY. Oh well. The song's still good.

To be fair, the movie might be good. I get the impression it's not a film that a 10-year-old would find uproarious. For instance, neither Bobcat Goldthwait nor John Candy were in it. They were, though, both in Hot to Trot, whose soundtrack I have nothing to say about (if there even was one). And I probably shouldn't bring up that I did think that movie was funny when I was a kid. I'm gonna go ahead and guess that it's less funny than I remember. I will look for it on Turner Classic Movies and get back to you.

If memory serves, Innerspace was the first movie I saw at the sprawling UA movie multiplex in Staten Island. And, unlike, Hot to Trot, I think it holds up pretty well. Martin Short's great, Dennis Quaid is right in the heart of his cool period, and Robert Picardo's Cowboy was awesome (I will sometimes involuntarily break out into "I'm an Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande)" just because of his rendition). Screw it, let's watch that before we get to the song.

Rod Stewart's cover of Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" is just about as good as that, though, and one of the last cool things Rod Stewart ever did (there were a few more decent years after this, and "Forever Young" was my grammar school graduation song, so I've got a soft spot for that).

Innerspace was about as trippy as my young mind could handle, so there is absolutely no way that I would have had any interest in seeing Less Than Zero (and when I finally did get around to seeing it, I wound up being not that much more interested). So that might partially explain why I didn't buy the 45 of the Bangles' excellent cover (which I doubt I knew at the time) of "Hazy Shade of Winter." We were given a large dose (pun intended) of antidrug lectures in school, so I might've thought twice about buying a 45 from a druggie movie. But I eventually picked up the 45 a decade or so later. It stands as not only one of the better soundtrack songs ever, but also one of the best covers.

Speaking of buying soundtrack songs well after the fact, there is another category of Soundtracks I Have Loved and that is Soundtracks I Have Bought in My 20s and 30s Because I Loved One Song on Them and, Hey, This Record's Cheap, So I'm Gonna Buy It. So, let's look at those before we wrap this whole thing up (don't be sad).

I know what you're thinking. (Did you ever notice I know what you're thinking a lot? Either you are totally transparent and/or feeble-minded or I'm some sort of dark genius who can peer into the minds of all those around him. You choose the one that makes you more comfortable.) How can you have a series about great soundtracks and not properly salute the Almighty Lord of Soundtracks, Mr. Kenny Loggins? Well, you can't. And that is why I salute the first and greatest of the Loggins soundtrack oeuvre, "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack.

There is nothing bad about that song. Nothing. Now, should Mr. Loggins have accepted the invitation to repeat the magic for Caddyshack II? Probably not. But I still lie awake at night sometimes and think about how that movie got made, so I think there may have been some sort of black magic involved in that whole production.

Because I am a heartless ogre, Disney movies have never done much for me. There are a few exceptions, though, and of that bunch my favorite is the often-overlooked Oliver & Company, which, due to its utilization of the vocal skills of Huey Lewis and Billy Joel on the soundtrack, was right up my young alley (though I was a bit old for the movie when it came out). Mr. Joel voiced Dodger, my favorite character (I think we still have the McDonald's Christmas ornament), and sang my favorite song in the movie.

When it comes to the greatest soundtrack songs of all time, there is a healthy amount of competition, as you have seen and heard if you have followed along here. So, what's the best? It's a near-impossible question for me to answer, so thanks a lot for asking it, jerk. And you know what? I'm not giving you a definitive answer. So there.

But if you're compiling a Top 10 (are you? Are you stealing my idea? That's so like you), there's no way you can leave out Lindsay Buckingham's "Holiday Road" from National Lampoon's Vacation. It's a classic song from a classic movie. The video, which I'd never seen before, is odd, though.

And while you're compiling that Top 10 (could you at least give me a shoutout or something? I think I deserve that much), you may want to look at the soundtrack of one of the greatest cinematic achievements this or any other country has put forth. I am, of course, speaking of the Fat Boys' bravura performance in Disorderlies. Incredibly, they were able to take time off from acting in the film to record one of my all-time favorite soundtrack cuts, an ostensible cover of "Baby, You're A Rich Man" that puts the Beatles to shame.

See what I mean? The Human Beat Box's sword solo is incredible, no?

Well, that's all I have on soundtracks. Actually, it probably isn't. But this can't go on forever, so let's end the series here.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the movie soundtrack section of your local record store.

No comments: