Can the soaring chorus of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" be disconnected from the image of Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslett leaning off the bow of the Titanic?
Is it possible to hear Steelers Wheel's Dylanesque-pop-bubblegum-favorite "Stuck in the Middle With You" and not be haunted by Mr. Blonde maniacally laughing into a severed ear.
Could you possibly hear the pounding beat of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and not think of Rosie's Perez's pugilistic, rump shaking choreography in the opening sequence of Do The Right Thing.
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you were either in the lobby getting nachos or your synapses just don't fire like a normal brain.
Here are 10 songs that will be forever connected to the joyous, frightening and heart-tugging images of the films they appeared in.
1. "Mrs. Robinson" -- The Graduate (Simon and Garfunkel)
Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence appears three times in the 1967 film The Graduate, but it is the undeniably catchy "Mrs. Robinson" that is eternally linked to the film. The song only appears as an instrumental and a brief interlude to score Benjamin's race to stop Elaine's wedding, but that hasn't prevented it from enduring as the eponymous anthem for anyone who has ever been (or wanted to be) "seduced" by an older woman.
2. "My Heart Will Go On" -- Titanic (Celine Dion)
In 1987 this song was played so much on radio, television, and wedding receptions that some people checked into rehab to get the song out of their head while others flooded suicide hotlines unable to escape the weighty melancholy the song induced. Celine Dion sang her heart out on this one and it might have been a hit on its own, but the song will be forever attached to Jack and Rose giggling like middle-schoolers on the bow of the James Cameron's doomed cruise ship.
3. "Over The Rainbow" -- The Wizard Of Oz (Judy Garland)
The Wizard of Oz is filled with iconic songs and images, but its best and most stirring appears five minutes in to the film when Dorothy yearns to be whisked to a place where "troubles melt like lemon drops." Fortunate for us, she finds it in all its Technicolor glory. And even though it turns out to be nothing more than a dream, for a brief moment Judy Garland's gorgeous voice makes us believe there is such a place.
4. "Stayin' Alive" -- Saturday Night Fever (The Bee Gees)
In 1977 ever white kid in America wanted to be Tony Manero. It didn't matter that his pants were impossibly and grotesquely tight as he swaggered down that Brooklyn street in the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever, you couldn't deny that he was a "woman's man". You also can't deny that when this song comes on the radio, visions of platform shoes and polyester shirts dance in your head.
5. "Don't You Forget About Me" -- The Breakfast Club (Simple Minds)
This song gets two chances to burrow into your noggin. Once in the opening credits and again to coincide with Judd Nelson triumphantly hoisting his fist into the air for the closing credits. Billy Idol may be a "Neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie" for turning this seminal '80s classic down, but thanks to Simple Minds the song will forever be associated with spending Saturday detention with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.
6. "Everybody's Talking" -- Midnight Cowboy (Harry Nilsson)
This song begins the film as an uplifting anthem to underscore delusional character Joe Buck's arrival in the Big Apple to pursue fame and fortune. We all know how terrible that turned out, but for me the song will be indelibly linked to Joe and Ratzo's heart breaking bus ride to Florida where Joe realizes much too late that there "must be an easier way of makin' a living."
7. "In Your Eyes" -- Say Anything (Peter Gabriel)
Any lovesick jackass can call a radio station and dedicate a song to the love of his life, but it takes a bold stroke of imagination to let Peter Gabriel serenade your lady through a boombox.
8. "Stuck In the Middle with You" -- Reservoir Dogs (Steelers Wheel)
By far the most sick and twisted bond of film and song on the list. This bubbly tune is wildly dissonant from the violence it is connected to. Quentin Tarantino is a master at blending the shocking with the sublime. Combining this sugary earwig with a repellant torture scene is a stroke of genius that ensures that this songs original, gleeful tone is lost forever.
WARNING: YOUTUBE LINK NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART:
9. "Holiday Road" -- National Lampoon's Vacation (Lindsey Buckingham)
Never mind that it has become the overused go to song to score family vacation videos, it's also permanently cemented to The Griswold's ill-fated cross country trip Wally World, I challenge anyone to hear this song and not think of Clark Griswold in full mid-life crisis mode chasing Christie Brinkley's red Ferrari in the Griswold family truckster.
10. "Fight The Power" -- Do The Right Thing (Public Enemy)
After hearing an unfinished mix of this song in an early cut of Do the Right thing, Chuck D remarked, "This has to get better. Especially considering how much he [Spike Lee] used it in the movie." Judging by the final result it did get better and it was used a lot in the film. Most memorable being Rosie Perez's angry, pelvic thrusting in the opening credits and the climactic standoff between Radio Rahim and Sal. The lyrics may diss American icons John Wayne and Elvis, but coupled with Spike Lee's powerful comment on race, rage and power, the song imprinted itself as a modern American classic.
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