CoS Exclusive FeaturesList 'Em Carefully

The 30 Best Songs from Movie Soundtracks

on February 28, 2014, 12:52am
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Artwork by Kristin Frenzel

Film is the closest thing to religion in my life. I’m no Gregg Turkington, but my obsession in the area dates way, way back. I guess it helps that my parents never held back, either, granting me the freedom to watch fluff like Runaway Ralph alongside Rated-R comedies starring Eddie Murphy. Because these were my escapes, and so much of my life revolved around the VCR, my earliest introductions to music were tied to film soundtracks. In fact, the first album I ever received was the Back to the Future soundtrack, which I eventually warped to dust.

Back in the era of Peaches Records and Sam Goody, soundtracks carried an important role for young listeners. Their curatorial abilities introduced countless minds to acts that would otherwise go unnoticed for many, many years to come. If I loved a particular song in the film, I’d wait until the end of the credits, scribble all the song titles down, and try and see if my parents or friends had any of the records. If they didn’t, I was off to the record store in hopes of finding the soundtrack. (I recall the non-existent Ferris Bueller’s Day Off soundtrack giving me the runaround until Napster.)

In honor of these oft-forgotten vessels, we’ve assembled a list of the 30 best songs from soundtracks both new and old. We made a few conditions, however, and refused to include any covers, scores, or musical numbers, while also focusing solely on tracks exclusive to the soundtrack. That way we aren’t just listing any random classic song used in any number of movies. No, these are original tracks specifically tailored for the film. So, keep that in mind as you’re clicking through the popcorn classics ahead.

And all you film buffs, don’t forget about Oscar this Sunday night. #TeamHer

–Michael Roffman

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November 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Where is my mind should make the cut? Pretty good though

K. Bowen
September 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

I get that your focus is modern, but any list that doesn’t include White Christmas or Over the Rainbow is malnourished.

Your ass burnt
September 1, 2014 at 1:37 am

Worst list I’ve ever seen, go suck a dick stupid blogger.
July 13, 2014 at 3:35 am

I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the
eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come
here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
Outstanding work!
July 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Thank you!

May 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

What a douchebag, putting only 3 soundtracks per page just so you get more visits on your site >:(

May 29, 2014 at 2:03 am

Eye of the tiger from rocky???

June 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

You can’t think of one without the other. :)

ratatouille film
May 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging,
and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
The problem is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.

Now i’m very happy that I found this in my search for something
concerning this.

Mike Tank
April 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Great list, but I’m not sure how “Night Fever” was chosen over “Stayin’ Alive”. And call me a sap, but I much prefer Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” over “Danger Zone” as far as TOP GUN songs go.

Also… where’s The Fat Boys’ “Are You For Freddy?” from NOES 4?!!! ;)

April 20, 2014 at 11:37 am

What about “Mad World” by Gary Jules from “Donnie Darko”? I believe it to be on of the greatest songs I’ve ever had the chance to listen to in a movie.

Mike Tank
April 27, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Disqualified as it is a cover of a Tears For Fears song from their ’83 album THE HURTING . As covers go, though, it’s one of the great ones…

March 30, 2014 at 7:45 am

Leaving Las Vegas……Sting

March 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Lord of the Rings

Glenn Kasabian (@GlennKasabian)
March 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

I would have thrown Rage Against the Machine’s “No Shelter” from the Godzilla soundtrack up there.

June 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm

One of my favorite Rage songs. However it was a b-side on one of the two versions for the Guerrilla Radio single and not only meant for the Godzilla soundtrack.

March 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

How did “When Doves Cry” not make the list?!? Did Purple Rain not meet the criteria??

March 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

worst list i have ever seen
“Everybody’s Talking” Midnight Cowboy- Harry Nillson
“Trouble” Harold and Maude – Cat Stevens
“Superfly”- Superfly – Curtis Mayfield –

I could list 50 more.

Michael Roffman
March 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Please do. Would love to hear them.

March 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm

My best movie song has to “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Ray for the Great Gatsby. Florence and the Machine’s “Over the Love” is also brilliant

March 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Cat Stevens? Harold and Maude?

February 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Mandatory comment:


February 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Hey stupid Up Where We Belong, from An Officer and a Gentleman

Boons (@SickDaddyNasty)
February 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

where is batman forevers kiss from a rose?

June 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Good song. However a release on one of Seal’s own albums as well – not just for the movie, or released afterwards.

February 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Pulp fiction – Girl, you’ll be a woman soon

February 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

…is a cover of a Neil Diamond song. Maria McKee’s “If Love is a Red Dress” would qualify, however, and totally belongs on this list.

February 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm

This list is just utter nonsense. The Wrestler but not Streets of Philadelphia? I know it would be passe to have two Bruce songs on here, but come on.

June 28, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Agreed with Streets. Didn’t that win an Oscar for best song that year too?

February 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

J.A.R. over Weezer’s You Gave Your Love To Me Softly…get the fuck out of here.

February 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm

That soundtrack was and is one of the greatest soundtracks ever! Both songs should be on this list!

February 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm

No Live and Let Die from Live and Let Die? Song is a brilliant theme song.

February 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Best track off Into The Wild OST is Long Nights. I love hat entire soundtrack. One of my fav movies and the soundtrack accompanying a great film is in no small part a reason.

Daniel Kaemmerlen
February 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

Exit Music is on OK Computer and it was played during the credits in Romeo and Juliet, but did not make the soundtrack. You would think Consequence would get that right

February 28, 2014 at 9:23 am

Fight the Power is on it takes a nation of millions to hold us back, not Fear of a Black Planet. Come on COS!!!

Michael Roffman
February 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

Sorry Ben, it’s not.

Mark Moses
February 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

Indeed, Exit Music ends the movie.

Harry Gitelman
February 28, 2014 at 1:23 am

Exit Music is on OK Computer!

Michael Roffman
February 28, 2014 at 10:30 am

Thanks. I honestly can’t believe that slipped by. My mind is mush this week, I tell ya!


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