Theme songs named after movies: You hear them. You hum them. You remember a line or two, and that's all you need. When a tune like that gets stuck in your craw, who you gonna call? You already know the answer.
With the exception of James Bond films, the eponymous title song has become a lost art form. They used to play over almost every waking up montage or end credit roll in the '80s, but since then they seem relegated to TV (sometimes) and the occasional music-related Oscar bait. Ray Parker Jr.'s GHOSTBUSTERS tune is no doubt a gold standard for this sort of thing, but we at Obsolete Cinema are all about the back catalogue. So let's dig deep to find those diamonds in the hay stack. Here are our 8 best movie title songs, in no particular order...
1. Losin' It
This one caught us off guard. Like every good theme song it gives us the movie's basic elevator pitch: losin' it, usin' it, abusin' it (is that a self-pleasure reference?). But hot damn, is it catchy! The Jeff Alan Band should've been huge, but they don't even have a Wikipedia entry. What happened?
GOTCHA! rides a weird line of comedy and intrigue, and this song tells us none of that. But it's got all hallmarks of the era: heavy chorus guitar, big reverb snare drums, and of course inane repetition of the movie's title. As a solo artist, singer Thereza Bazar got swept away in the tsunami of 1980s Madonna-bes. At least she left us this chestnut.
3. Repo Man
REPO MAN is a cult classic, and Alex Cox films always have great music. Plus we are obliged to include anything involving Iggy Pop. Iggy doesn't know that. It's just an Obsolete Cinema thing.
4. Pet Sematary
Ditto Ramones. Good thing Stephen King loves them as much as we do. This is a deeper cut than "Rock 'n' Roll High School," which deserves to be part of a cousin list: Movies Named After Songs.
5. Car Wash
Not many people realize it, but we've shown more films by Michael Schultz than any other director. He's our Obsolete Auteur. He's also provided us one of the best movie title songs. This is an earlier entry from the days of Peak Disco. The song is by the group Rose Royce, originally named Total Concept Unlimited but changed specifically for this movie and its pun value. Everyone likes to turn noses up at disco music, but come on. When those strings kick in? We dare you to not dance.
Watch out! Believe it or not, The Spinners were a pretty successful R&B outfit in the tradition of The Temptations. As with a lot of their peers, The Spinners' immense vocal talents get squashed by '80s "style" and (over)production value. Then there's the rip-off nature of it. The synth might as well be an outtake from a GHOSTBUSTERS session. But maybe that's all part of the movie's recurring marketing jokes.
7. Fright Night
This is the song that broke up the J. Geils Band. That's a plus. It has a crazy music video with the band in bed together. It's also a great movie, not that it matters.
Technically, FLASH GORDON doesn't count because the song is called "Flash's Theme," not the title of the movie. But it's too damn good to pass up. Besides, Flash is the SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE. Props to that.
A list like this could go on and on. There are plenty of songs we missed or are on the fence about their Obsolescence. ("Weird Science" and "Footloose" anyone?) If you have any favorites we missed, let us know in the comments.