Thursday, March 8, 2007


From: Song of the Week #45 (Mark Steyn, SteynOnline, February 26th, 2007)

What do these five songs have in common?

“The Way You Look Tonight”, “Thanks For The Memory”, “Over The Rainbow”, “When You Wish Upon A Star” and “White Christmas”.

Answer: They were all Academy Award-winning songs from the Best Song Oscar’s first decade.

And what do these five songs have in common?

“When You Believe”, “You’ll Be In My Heart”, “Into The West”, “Al Otro Lado del Rio” and “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”.

Answer: They were all Academy Award-winning songs from the last decade.

We’ll spare you the curmudgeon’s obligatory rant on the putridness of modern music and simply ask whether anyone can think of a song from film or Broadway from, say, the last twenty years that he or she thinks is likely to endure in the repertoire of popular, memorable favourites.


Oroborous said...

I can think of several, but they're all from children's animated Disney films.

An example from slightly over twenty years ago would be Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight", which was used in exactly the right way, (i.e., the way that I had imagined using the song, should I have been a film producer), in the pilot episode of "Miami Vice".

erp said...

I can't think of a single song from the last 20 years. If my memory wakes up, I'll stop by later with an entry.

Oroborous said...

To fully expose my geekiness, when I was thirteen I had detailed an imaginary film clip based on a 1980 story arc from the X-Men comic books, and when I first heard "In the Air Tonight", I knew instantly that that was the soundtrack for my bit.

A year or so later, when "Miami Vice" premiered, lo and behold, they too had had the vision, and they nailed it. They NAILED it. The weapons check, the fatalism, the willingness to sacrifice, the farewell to loved ones...

Anyhow, here is the relevant 3 minutes of the show.

Susan's Husband said...

"Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Brit said...

I can think of at least three very obvious ones.

"My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. "Everything I do I do it for you" from Robin Hood. "I Will Always Love You" from The Bodyguard.

All still incredibly popular. All make me want to curl up and die because of their awfulness.

Duck said...

Maudlin sells.

Duck said...

I liked "Into the West". It's more of a dirge, it's not a snappy foot tapper.

Duck said...

You could argue that the success of a movie soundtrack lies in it's ability to enhance the experience of watching the movie, and not the success that it enjoys in its own right. So it's not surprising that some of the picks haven't translated to top 40 status.

Lord Grattan said...

The theme song from "Titanic" is memorable and powerful IMO.

Duck said...

lord g,
I liked it too. My quip about maudlin music isn't an insult, not coming from me at least. But to certain Duckians it is a sign of, well, something different.

Harry Eagar said...

"Walking in the Air" as sung by boy soprano Stephen Van Dyck with the Cincinnati Pops.

I cannot understand the lyrics and I never saw -- or even heard of -- the movie it's from, but I gave copies of the CD ("Christmas with the Pops") all over the place this past December. "Chicken skin" as we say in Hawaii.

Brit said...

I don't know who the Cincinatti Pops are on your CD, but Walking in the Air is originally from the classic British animated film The Snowman.

It was a monster hit for a 13 year old choirboy called Aled Jones in 1985 (though he didn't sing it in the film).

Harry Eagar said...

Amazon reviewers make it sound as if Aled Jones's Xmas album will be a must-have at our house.

I am not, however, persuaded that music has declined so much. The promo for today's Met broadcast promises to let us hear Wagner's "most joyous" work.

Well, let's see. What was Wagner's second-most-joyous work?