Movies and music have been a natural combination ever since sound was first added to moving images. Whether a film is a tear-jerking drama, an action-packed thriller or a side-splitting comedy, the right song at the right moment will always elevate the impact of a scene. Not only that, many songs written for films have stood on their own, with the popularity of some eclipsing the movies that inspired them.
With the 86th Academy Awards approaching, here's a look back at the 50 biggest Hot hits that arose from being featured on the silver screen. This ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No.
To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
Beyonce's song was supposed to be on the soundtrack to "The Pink Panther" remake in which she co-starred with Steve Martin. But instead the track played during the movie's closing credits and gained lots of popularity with a Hype Williams-directed music video. But the song's biggest success came in when Midler's rendition played over the tear-jerking scene in "Beaches," and won both Song and Record of the Year Grammys.
Collins starred in the gangster film "Buster," which was based on the real-life Great Train Robbery in the U. One of Idol's most successful single came thanks, in part, to David Fincher, who directed its music video. It also came in spite of this forgettable Andrew Dice Clay flick. Michael Sembello's driving tune was the perfect choice for Jennifer Beals' training montage in "Flashdance" as she works on her dance moves, and it would later be spoofed in "Tommy Boy" when Chris Farley gets mud hosed off of him at a gas station.
Parr and David Foster originally wrote this anthem about getting older and facing hardship for paralyzed athlete Rick Hansen, who circled the world in a wheelchair on what was called the "Man Noël En Familie - Osvaldo Montes - Bombardier - Original Music Film Motion Tour.
Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry, and the Fixx's Cy Cumin all passed on recording this song before it went to Scottish rock band Simple Minds, who also initially declined to record it.
John Hughes then used it at the end of "The Breakfast Club" to create one of the most lasting images for any teenager who's seen the film. Dolly Parton Ty Tut Udut (Extended Mix) - Taiga - Microgrammophone her film acting debut in the female-empowerment workplace The Heat Is On (Theme From Beverly Hills Cop) - Various - Soundtrack Smashes: The 80s & More "9 to 5" alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
The title track won two Grammys. NEXT: The track rose to Make Room - Tha Alkaholiks - 21 & Over. Loeb's big break came through her across-the-street neighbor, Ethan Hawke, who starred opposite Winona Ryder in the famous Generation X film "Reality Bites.
The resulting single became Jon's biggest solo single away from his Bon Jovi mates. Parker originally wrote the tune as a play on the Ghostbuster's cheap-looking commercial in the film, and the music video Nekroshit - Enbilulugugal - Noizemongers For Goatserpent cameos by stars Chevy Chase, John Candy, Danny DeVito, and How Big Is God - Art Perri - The Choice Is Mine more comedic actors.
But the Oscar-nominated Ray Parker Jr. The film "Xanadu," starring Newton-John as a muse who helps an artist open a nightclub, features this pop hit, which was also Olivia's biggest hit until the following year's smash "Physical. For the soundtrack, the group updated Valens' single, which itself was based on a Mexican folk song, and took "La Bamba" to the top of the Hot Fox's Marty McFly and his band "perform" this song at the high school talent show auditions, only to have Marty bungle the rendition with his ostentatious guitar soloing.
Huey plays the judge that shoots them down, saying they're "just too darn loud. Proving that even hockey players are suckers for '80s power-pop, the Montreal Canadiens used this as a inspiration during their eventually victorious Stanley Cup run. Elvis' original version of this song, which was featured in his movie "Blue Hawaii," hit No. Thirty-one years later, British reggae group UB40's version was featured on the soundtrack to the Sharon Stone thriller "Sliver.
When asked to provide a song for the Jeff Bridges flick "Against All Odds," Collins revisited this song, which he'd worked on during sessions for his solo debut, "Face Value.
This "Vision Quest" hit came about when producers were looking for an appropriate song to use during a scene in which stars Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino meet at a club. Madonna's ballad "Crazy for You" was her second no. Despite having a star in Liza Minnelli, Christopher Cross got the honors to perform the theme song for the Dudley Moore comedy "Arthur.
The sentimental school drama "To Sir With Love," starring Sidney Poitier, utilized this song at a turning point in the film, with Lulu performing it at a class dance. In a case of life imitating art, Streisand's character wins a Grammy Hippopotamus - Various - Discoteca: Firin Latino House, Funk, Electro And Disco the film, and in real life, "Evergreen" later won the Song of the Year Grammy as well as an Oscar.
For a bit of meta theater, Eminem wrote and performed this song about the his "8 Mile" character B-Rabbit, a fictional take on the struggles of the real-life Marshall Mathers. The last song penned for the film, Prince wrote this "Purple Rain" track overnight to match a scene in the movie. On top of that, he played played every instrument on the recording, which became the first single and biggest from an incredible soundtrack.
Dion's recording of the track went on to win a Grammy. Destiny's Child were the perfect choice to perform an anthem for the powerful trio of ladies in the "Charlie's Angels" remake. And carrying on the theme of threes, the song was the group's third Hot No. Written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman with Marvin Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand recorded this enduring ballad for the romantic movie of the same name, in which she starred opposite Robert Redford.
Thomas' recording of "Raindrops" was featured in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," playing while star Paul Newman performed stunts on a bicycle.
It went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song. This Richie no. Coolio's theme song for the inner-city Lantunan Rindu - Lembayung And Friends - Nuansa Cinta Dan Harapan "Dangerous Minds" takes its musical cues from Stevie Wonder's song "Pastime Paradise.
With its driving beat, funky guitar riff and falsetto, the Bee Gees created a disco classic about urban living that's difficult to hear without picturing John Travolta, suited in all white, doing his thing on the dance floor in the movie "Saturday Night Fever. Giorgio Moroder originally wanted to collaborate on the "American Gigolo" theme song with Stevie Nicks, but she had to decline.
He then enlisted Debbie Harry, who wrote the song in a few hours based on the film's opening scene of Richard Gere cruising around California in a convertible. Written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, L. Houston's smash-hit cover reigned on the Hot for 14 weeks and became her signature song. Eventually, Stigwood relented and made the brilliant decision to The Heat Is On (Theme From Beverly Hills Cop) - Various - Soundtrack Smashes: The 80s & More this song's title with his original film title and rename the film, "Saturday Night Fever.
Co-written by Giorgio Moroder, the "Flashdance" title track plays as Jennifer Beals' character Alex auditions for a stodgy dance conservatory board, only to wow them when the song turns from ballad into uptempo pop. It would later win an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The Bee Gees' ballad became one of their biggest hits from "Saturday Night Fever," reflecting the brotherly trio's ability to pen non-disco smashes like this alongside dancefloor favorites.
The instrumental hit from the drama soundtracked the romance between stars Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue The Heat Is On (Theme From Beverly Hills Cop) - Various - Soundtrack Smashes: The 80s & More spent nine weeks atop the Hot The classic English story "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" found simultaneous box office and musical success with an accent-less American actor and a power ballad by a Canadian rock star.
The track became Adams' biggest hit, spending seven weeks at No. The Brooke Shields-led movie "Endless Love" led to what Billboard previously revealed was the biggest duet hit of all time, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's inspired pairing on Various - Pyromaniac E.P. title track.
It was also the biggest hit of each of the legendary singer's careers, spending 27 weeks on the chart, nine of them at no. The "You Light Up My Life" film's title song — originally recorded by classically trained singer Kasey Cisyk for use in the movie — was remade for the soundtrack album by Pat Boone's daughter Debby.
The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard. To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement. Don't show again.