Top 10 Songs from 80s Movie Soundtracks

The-Breakfast-Club-posterBefore starting reading this list of songs and movies, you should know that this list is non-exhaustive and based on Plume Noire‘s taste rather than on Billboard charts.

As you will see, it’s pretty heavy on 80’s synth and new wave sounds, but we feel they were the most representative songs of the era.

Now that you’ve warned, let’s get started:

1. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club (1985)
This is the moment when Simple Minds abandoned its artistic, new wave roots to become a stadium giant. This song is as big as it gets and a perfect anthem for the rebellious kids from the Breakfast Club.

2. “Purple Rain” by Prince from Purple Rain (1984)
To be frank, Purple Rain didn’t age that well and now looks like a couple hours of self-serving concert footage. That said this is a great song that left an indelible mark on a generation – and god know how many kids were having that poster on their bedroom wall.

3. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus from The Hunger
Probably the strongest opening with a song, The Hunger starts with a close-up of Bauhaus’s singer Peter Murphy singing their anthem in a cage while vampires David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve look for preys in a nightclub – it can’t get any better.

4. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears from Real Genius (1985)
An unstoppable song which showcased Tears For Fears’ short pop genius momentum – way better than the movie it’s in.

5. “Pretty in Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs from Pretty in Pink (1986)
The title of the song was the title of the movie and both symbolized 80’s teenagers.

6. “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin from Top Gun (1986)
A slow – somewhat cheesy – song that you couldn’t get out of your head and was associated to Tom Cruise riding a motorcycle in the sunset – you get the picture!

7. “People Are Strange” by Echo & the Bunnymen from The Lost Boys (1987)
That one was probably gamble as it was a Doors cover but Echo & the Bunnymen did pull it off, mostly thanks to singer Ian McCullough’s unique voice. While corny, the film was one of the first to show vampires as rockers.

8. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama from The Karate Kid (1984)
That song would have been better fitted for another movie and is obviously way better than its vehicle.

9. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy from Do the Right Thing (1989)
With that song, Public Enemy made a political statement in one of Spike Lee’s emblematic movies.

10. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. from Ghostbusters (1984)
This anthem for the hit comedy was too fun and catchy for not being here, even if that type of music is not our cup of tea.

Not included in our top 10 but worth mentioning are David Bowie’s “Cat People” from Cat People, Prince’s “Batman theme” from Batman, Oingo Boingo’s “Weird Science” from Weird Science and O.M.D.’s “If You Leave” from Pretty in Pink..

Now in terms of other popular songs that might appeal to a more mainstream audience, let’s mention Madonna with quite a few hits, Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Irene Carra’s “Flash Dance” from Flashdance, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” for Rocky 3, Huey Lewis & the News’ “Power of Love” from Back to the Future, Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” from Footloose and The Blues Brothers’ “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” from The Blues Brothers.

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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