12 Famous Songs Written Specifically For A Movie
A great song never goes extinct.
It’s been 22 years since composer John Williams’ “Jurassic Park” theme song was first heard in movie theaters but last weekend’s release of “Jurassic World” propelled the instrumental tune to the top of the charts.
According to “Billboard,” the “Jurassic Park Theme” topped the magazine’s Classical Digital Songs chart on Thursday. It’s the first time the song has been number one on any “Billboard” chart since its release in 1993.
Songs written for movies have had great chart success since the 1960s, with many becoming bigger hits than the films they supported. Below are a dozen examples of songs written for movies that spent time atop the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart.
“Call Me” – Blondie
Movie: “American Gigolo” (1980)
The movie that made Richard Gere a star also featured one of the most memorable songs of the 1980s. Blondie’s “Call Me,” co-written by “American Gigolo” composer Giorgio Moroder, topped the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart for six weeks.
“Check on It” – Beyonce, featuring Slim Thug
Movie: “The Pink Panther” (2006)
When music fans picked up a copy of the soundtrack for 2006’s “The Pink Panther,” they were likely disappointed to see this track missing from the album. Beyonce’s “Check on It” was written for the film and appeared in its closing credits but was left off the soundtrack record. No matter, the song spent five weeks atop the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart.
“End of the Road” – Boyz II Men
Movie: Boomerang” (1992)
The top-charting song of 1992 was written and recorded for the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy vehicle “Boomerang.” “End of the Road” spent 13 weeks atop the “Billboard” charts, ending its reign just three weeks before Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was released.
“Endless Love” – Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
Movie: “Endless Love” (1981)
The movie “Endless Love” is noted for featuring Tom Cruise in his big screen debut but the film itself was surpassed in popularity by its theme song. “Endless Love” was number one for nine weeks in 1981 and “Billboard” magazine later named it the greatest duet song ever recorded.
“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” – Bryan Adams
Movie: “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991)
The songwriting credits for this power ballad are arguably more star-studded than the movie it was written for. Bryan Adams, producer “Mutt” Lange and late composer Michael Kamen penned the track, which would win a Grammy Award and be certified multi-Platinum.
“Flashdance… What a Feeling” – Irene Cara
Movie: “Flashdance” (1983)
During a decade of chart-topping movie theme songs, “Flashdance… What a Feeling” stands among the most successful. The song spent six weeks at number one in 1983, even if Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” is more closely identified with the movie.
“I Just Called to Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder
Movie: “The Woman in Red” (1984)
This signature track, recorded for the Gene Wilder flick “The Woman in Red,” was an example of a soundtrack selection surpassing the movie itself in terms of legacy. The song was one of Wonder’s biggest hits, topping the charts for three weeks in America and six weeks in the United Kingdom.
“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston
Movie: “The Bodyguard” (1992)
Houston’s signature song was a monster hit, topping the charts for 14 weeks in 1992. The film was also a success, collecting $411 million at the worldwide box office.
“Lose Yourself” – Eminem
Movie: “8 Mile” (2002)
Arguably the most memorable hit movie song of the current millennium, Eminem’s semi-autobiographical “Lose Yourself” topped the charts for 12 weeks in 2002. It was featured on the soundtrack of “8 Mile,” which starred Eminem, and would win an Academy Award and a pair of Grammys.
“Night Fever” – Bee Gees
Movie: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)
“Night Fever” spent eight weeks atop the “Billboard” pop chart, surpassing “Stayin’ Alive,” which is arguably the movie’s most recognized song.
“Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” – Percy Faith
Movie: “A Summer Place” (1959)
It’s still the biggest instrumental hit song in the history of “Billboard’s” Hot 100 chart. This cheerful, breezy tune spent nine weeks at number one.
“To Sir With Love” – Lulu
Movie: “To Sir, With Love” (1967)
This 1967 track, from the Sidney Poitier movie of the same name, spent five weeks atop the “Billboard” Hot 100 and was later named the top single of the year by the magazine. Scottish singer Lulu would later sing the theme song to the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”