FILMS… Reel Retro Soundtrack Songs For You

#1970s #1980s #1990s


I heard it through the movies…


Five favourite songs from film soundtracks.



In this latest blog collaboration with Banzai Retro Club, we’re looking back at those songs that made those retro movie soundtracks so memorable.  I was a big soundtrack fan in the 1980s and collected those rather than regular music albums. Even now, I can only remember iconic songs if you mention the movie they were in rather than the album. Luckily, Darlin Husband is a film buff so he can relate to this quirk quite easily.

So it was difficult for me,  in selecting just 5 from the enormous list of songs from movies made before 2000. So methodically, I excluded those from musicals, those much adored instrumental numbers and musical biopic films. So expect those songs in posts, on another day. I also excluded James Bond theme songs as so many good ones, they deserve a list on their own.

Here are my final 5, in no particular order.


Harold and Maude (1971) – Cat Stevens, If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

Harold & Maude – If you want to sing out, sing out – Ruth Gordon, nasdarovie

This black comedy is reviewed HERE. The film tells of Harold (Bud Cort), a 20-year-old who is obsessed with death, and his strong friendship and eventual relationship with 79-year-old, Maude (Ruth Gordon). The pair meet at a funeral. She is a lovely wee happy-go-lucky character and her enthusiasm for life rubs off on him.

This Cat Stevens song is a fantastic tribute to her inspiring character and was sung by Ruth Gordon in the movie. This scene combined with this uplifting song demonstrates Maude’s personality perfectly. Both this song and the plot demonstrate how her enthusiasm for life is slowly transforming Harold. 

However, this scene could have sounded completely different, as the original soundtrack artist was Elton John. He dropped out of the film and recommended Cat Stevens to replace him. This song is one of Cat Stevens’ original pieces and also makes an appearance at the end of the movie. But how…check it out to find out.


Conspiracy Theory (1997) – Frankie Valli, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Conspiracy Theory – AlicexJerry – Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, RockGemStar373

I’m not a huge fan of Mel Gibson – long story… and not his fault – but this is definitely on the to review list after rewatching this video. Mel kinda sings along to the track, in a kinda duet with Julia Roberts who’s lip synching it.

With Gibson in a sensitive and sweet portrayal of  Jerry. He is a cab driver obsessed with conspiracies who publishes a newsletter about uncovering them to his five followers. He’s stalking and madly in love with  Julia Roberts’ attorney Alice. She is trying to find out how her father was murdered.

Alice knows Jerry and sees his theories as a wee bit crazy, but is unaware of his stalking tendencies. An encounter leads to flashbacks for Jerry.. as it appears one of his conspiracies is true. And as his followers are murdered one by one, he asks for Alice’s help… as the bad guys target them.

Of course, this tune is the love theme, as love-lorn stalkers do get the girl in movies… see Passengers (2016). Gibson’s Jerry is much more likeable rather than Chris Pratt’s creepy character.  This song is again perfect for the movie, despite it sounding like a stalker’s anthem. There is lovely chemistry between Gibson and Roberts, and its movie and tune, make me sob.

Roberts does look more than pensive in most of her shots. Gibson looks as vulnerable as Leonardo DiCaprio’s Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island (2010). Similar questions are raised about the leading character’s mental health during the film. And there’s Patrick Stewart as a CIA psychiatrist for your mum. Or maybe not, after this movie…


The Big Chill (1983) – The Temptations, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

Big Chill Dance Scene (better quality), kagarris0n

This film, The Big Chill has one of my favourite movie soundtracks of the 1980s. But with songs from the 60s and 70s. The soundtrack included I Heard it Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) to Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harem).

The cast of this film was pretty fab too with Jeff Goldblum and Tom Berenger alongside Glenn Close, William Hurt and Kevin Kline. And more. The film tells how seven University friends, now baby boomers reunite fifteen years later at a friend’s funeral after his suicide (with this character, Alex played by Costner and his role on the cutting room floor, apart from the opening credits).

The group spend time together reminiscing, rebonding as past and present revelations are made. The film shows the camaraderie and friendship increase between them over a weekend. And in this scene with this tune, the cast dance together and you feel their natural rapport and friendship. This is in evidence so much more than those with the full cast in another 80s ensemble movie, St Elmo’s Fire (1985).

This may have been helped with the Big Chill cast living together for a short time before filming to promote this. This could have backfired terribly, but all the cast report it as a positive experience.

Tootsie (1982) – Stephen Bishop, It Might Be You

Tootsie “It Might Be You” movie scene 1982,  BaoziPork

Failed actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) gets a job on a daytime hospital soap, only after he masquerades as a middle-aged actress, Dorothy Michaels.

This kinda sums up the comedy plot of Tootsie, however, add to this the romantic complications when he falls for his co-star, single mum, Julie (Jessica Lange). Who only knows him as Dorothy. As Dorothy, he also becomes an object of affection for his co-star John Van Horn (George Gaynes) and Julie’s father Les (Charles Durning).

This song is one of my favourite film ballads and it’s just soppy and lovely. The song accompanies a soft-focus montage in the movie, it shows Dorsey’s growing romantic feelings for his soap co-star Julie. The lyrics and the stirring music accompanying them combine to make this one of my most much-loved tunes for this time. Making its inclusion in a taped compilation of movie tunes a must-buy for me around this time.

I’ve never heard of the man who sang it despite his numerous film appearances and movie musical contributions. And had mistakenly believed the Tootsie track to be from 70s crooner, Barry Manilow – responsible for Foul Play‘s Ready to Take a Chance Again – for years. Despite the song being nominated for an Oscar.

Mermaids (1990) – Jimmy Soul, If You Wanna be Happy

Mermaids “If You Wanna Be Happy” ending movie scene 1990, BaoziPork

Mermaids has another great soundtrack including this tune, a 1963 hit. The comic story tells of an unconventional mum, Rachel Flax (Cher) to two young girls. Rachel uproots them constantly, as they move from town to town due to her disastrous love life.

It’s a great coming of age movie, with Winona Ryder narrating as Cher’s 15-year-old daughter Charlotte. Charlotte wants to become a nun and disapproves of her mother’s antics. As she yearns for a normal life and the much older school bus driver Joe (Michael Schoeffling).

Her mother finds love too with Lou (Bob Hoskins). However, their lives become a wee bit more complicated… It also Christina Ricci as Charlotte’s 9-year-old sister, swimming obsessed Kate.

Although this song appears in the final scene of the movie, it shows, the three gals dancing away, the women all happy as a wee family. The song also features in Chances Are (1989) and My Best Friends Wedding (1997), but it is Mermaids I remember it for. With this nice fun, chirpy song accompanying the ending of the film and this post.

Finally, as with all these collaboration posts, the links to the other Banzai Retro Club member’s podcasts and blog posts… 



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