Love a scene? Now hum the tune!

Dean Williams takes a look at the songs that have played a starring role in their scenes.

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Everybody’s crowing about the use of B.J. Thomas’s Hooked On a Feeling in the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, and rightly so. The juxtaposition of a bunch of intergalactic rogues standing around while one of the greatest, and soppiest love songs plays in the background is sublime. But this is not the first time a song and a scene have been so mismatched they’re brilliant. Here are a few other ‘odd couples’

Hip to be Square/American Psycho

Huey Lewis & The News would never have dreamed that their poppy 80s anthem would be used to such a brutal effect in the classic American Psycho. The scene in which Christian Bale’s character hacks his victim to pieces after lecturing him on the social implications of the band is so ridiculous, it’s iconic.

 Imagine/The Killing Fields

OK so there’s really nothing strange about using John Lennon’s classic Imagine to close out one of the most poignant scenes in film history. But seeing as The Killing Fields was based on the all-too-real horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Lennon’s lyrics reach a heightened sense of potency.

My Sharona/Reality Bites

Fans of The Knack will claim that My Sharona was a popular tune before Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder and company used it to tear through a supermarket in Reality Bites, and there may be some truth in that. But let’s face it, for a lot of people it was their first taste of the tune, and the scene played a big part in embedding it in popular culture. More than that it provided a soundtrack for the moment in the film when it turned into a personal diary of youth at the time.

Bohemian Rhapsody/Wayne’s World

Wayne’s World was the Bill & Ted for Generation Y. Their awkwardness was evident, but so was their innocence. This was the generation torn between Madonna and Metallica, and Queen’s killer hit became their operatic outlet. Also, how many of us have waited for the end riffs to let it all out. Thought so dudes!

 Perfect Day/Trainspotting

Lou Reed’s maudlin Perfect Day is rich in satire, and hence perfect for the scene in Trainspotting that sees Ewan McGregor’s Reston going cold turkey. His nightmares waltz with Reed’s lilting strains and the audience is caught-up in the bizarre twists and twirls.

Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll/Risky Business

Ladies hold on to your seats: TOM.CRUISE.IN.HIS.UNDERWEAR! Before there were idiots prancing about YouTube, there was a young Mr Cruise prancing about in his tightie-whities rocking to the tunes of Bob Seger. Needless to say a lot of young men consumed a lot of Chivas Regal after this scene.

 Blue Moon/An American Werewolf in London

Widely regarded as using some of the best special effects of the pre-CGI era, this conversion of man into werewolf to the tune of Sam Cooke’s Blue Moon is outstanding. The acting is more than a little hammy so ignore that and just enjoy the show.

Tiny Dancer/Almost Famous

This is without argument Cameron Crowe’s towering achievement, as he charts the journey of a young music journalist on the road with one of the world’s largest rock bands. The lyrics of Elton John’s piano anthem perfectly fit the scene and embrace the lines: “I need to go home.” “You are home.”

Day-O (Banana Boat Song)/Beetlejuice

If you study Tim Burton’s canon Beetlejuice stands out as a masterpiece among masterpieces, and this scene is one of the reasons why. Using Harry Belafonte’s Calypso cracker and Michael Keaton’s (not shown) skills at possession, Burton conjures a scene that’s in equal measure hilarious and weird.

Born to be Wild/Easy Rider

Easy Rider was much more than just a cool-as-sin road movie. It also epitomised a nation  at the cusp of a cultural and ideological revolution so big, it would alter the very fabric of society. To take that theme and kick it off with Steppenwolf’s macho hit may have been taking the easy way out if it wasn’t for the way the film unravels and descends into a dark pit of prejudice and bigotry aimed at its protagonists.

Layla/Goodfellas

Forget that nonsensical acoustic version Eric Clapton keeps bandying about. The original electric Layla may have been written by Clapton, but it was Duane Allman’s piano solo at the end that is the true star of the song. Which was probably the reason why Martin Scorsese used it to underscore the carnage unleashed upon his film Goodfellas by Bobby DeNiro and gang. Simply superb, and delivered in a way only Marty can.

Stuck in the Middle With You/Reservoir Dogs

Michael Madsen invariably ups the cool factor in any film he stars in, and he certainly did so in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. This brutal scene shows Madsen at his psychopathic best, slicing and dicing to the strains of Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You. Graphic and utterly riveting.

 

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