A movie is only as good as its soundtrack. Well, at least that is how it was back in the 1990's. We all have a movie we remember not for the film itself, but for the iconic, sometimes, annoyingly catchy, hit song off the soundtrack.
10: When Doves Cry by Prince (1984)
Prince made an entire album off his film Purple Rain. The eponymous title hit song Purple Rain is and will always be a classic, but When Doves Cry is also a hit.
9: Don’t Let Go by En Vogue (1996)
This song was just one of many hits from the Set It Off soundtrack that included Chaka Khan, Brandy, Gladys Knight, and Busta Rhymes. The song is not as much a tear-jerker ad I’m Missing You, but it comes close. The movie was great too. I still have it on VHS.
8: Lose Yourself by Eminem (2002)
Mom’s spaghetti is the funniest damn line in the song. Boy I tell ya, this song has been quoted and rapped endlessly. The movie sucked, but the song is legendary. I think this was Eminem’s only film, but hey. Little white rappers all round my school playground got the honor of being called 4 mile.
7: A Song for Mama by Boys 2 Men (1997)
Soul Food. The movie was great. The soundtrack will make you cry at the drop of a hat. Boys 2 Men takes the cake with this ode to a loving mother. Other hits on the soundtrack include Usher & Monica’s Slow Jam and Dru Hill’s We’re Not Making Love No More.
6: I Want to Be Your Man by Roger Troutman (2000)
Love & Basketball is the best movie of all time. Debate your momma. The soundtrack went well with the film and my young mind thought Monica and Quincy were relationship goals. So Roger Troutman’s crooning, on I Want to Be Your Man as Monica and Quincy had sex for the first time filled me with butterflies and googly eyes.
5: Crazy by K-Ci & JoJo (2001)
Save the Last Dance was Kerry Washington’s second big movie role. KC & Jojo were R&B crooners and had all the hits in the late 1990's early 2000's. This song played after Derrick and Sarah had that big fight and were ignoring each other in the hallway. My sister loved this movie as much as I love Love & Basketball.
4: Eye to Eye by Tevin Campbell (1995)
Sung in the movie by Tevin Campbell and on the soundtrack by Rosie Gaines. Tevin played the superstar Powerline, whose concert Max went to see. A Goofy Movie is actually a good movie. I have it on VHS too. The soundtrack was grand and everyone remembers Tevin Campbell as Powerline. Stand Out was good too, sung by Tevin in the movie and on the soundtrack.
3: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (1997)
I may have been the only one laughing when the ship sunk, but you cannot deny Celine Dion hit the jackpot with My Heart Will Go On. The song is a tear-jerker. It won an Oscar and a Grammy for Best Original Song.
2: Fight The Power by Public Enemy (1989)
Do The Right Thing is one of Spike Lee’s most talked about films. Public Enemy was one of the hottest rap groups of the late 1980's, so having this song in the film did wonders.
Before I reveal my #1 movie song, here are a few honorable mentions:
Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (2007)
Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake (2016)
Glory by John Legend and Common (2014)
Ava Duvernay’s acclaimed film Selma featured this original song written and sung by John Legend and Common that won them an Oscar, bringing Legend one step closer to an E.G.O.T (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).
I’d Rather Go Blind by Beyonce (2008)
Beyonce had the honor of playing the legendary Etta James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records and sung the hell out of this song. The original is fantastic of course, but Beyonce does Etta James justice with this rendition. Although Cadillac Records was not nearly as successful commercially as Beyonce’s first musical film, Dream Girls, her cover of I’d Rather Go Blind was the highlight of the movie.
1: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (1992)
The incomparable Whitney Elizabeth Houston turned Dolly Partron’s 1974 song into a bona-fide hit for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. Whitney was everywhere in the early 1990's and had no problem lending those pipes to soundtracks for Waiting to Exhale (1995), The Preacher’s Wife (1996), Cinderella (1997), and The Prince of Egypt (1999). I am sure there are still people out there that did not know Whitney’s version of the song is a cover. She truly made this song her own.
RIP Queen of Soul
Aretha Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018. This post is dedicated to her. Aretha starred in the 1980 comedy The Blue Brothers and sung her hit Think. Her music has been featured in countless movies and TV shows including Scandal, Moonlight, Goodfellas, Crooklyn, Forrest Gump, and The Big Chill.