One of my most popular articles is my Top 50 Best 80s Movie Songs and you should be sure to read that one if you haven't already. As I said then, there is nothing better than the perfect song playing at that perfect moment in a movie no matter what decade we are looking at. I also promised that I would provide a list of the Best 90s Movie Songs at some point, so that is what I am doing now. As in the 80s, some songs were made popular by the movies, but many songs proved to be even more popular than the films they appeared in.
Also similar to my 80s list, there are so many songs that warrant consideration that I will give you the Top 50 instead of just the Top 10. Many songs will also include a link to a video. Without further ado, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 BEST SONGS FEATURED IN 90s MOVIES (+ Bonus 40):
Honorable Mention. "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion from Titanic (1997) - I am neither a fan of this movie or this song, but cannot totally dismiss it since it is one of the best-selling singles in history. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1998 and won the Grammy for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Song Written For Motion Picture or Television. I would expect most lists would include this song in the top 5, but it is one of my least liked songs of all time, so on my list it will simply get honorable mention.
50. (tie) "Wild Wild West" by Will Smith from Wild Wild West (1999) and "Men In Black" by Will Smith from Men In Black (1997) - link to video for "Men In Black"
49. "I Can't Get Enough of You Baby" by Smash Mouth from Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
48. "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly from Space Jam (1996) - link to video
47. "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins from Tarzan (1999) - Actually won the Oscar for Best Original Song
46. "These Three Words" by Stevie Wonder from Jungle Fever (1991)
45. "A Wink and a Smile" by Harry Connick Jr. from Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
44. "Show Me Heaven" by Maria McKee from Days of Thunder (1990) - link to video
43. "Even If My Heart Would Break" by Aaron Neville with Kenny G. from The Bodyguard (1992)
42. "That Thing You Do" by the Wonders from That Thing You Do! (1996) - link to video
41. "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette from Pretty Woman (1990) - link to video
40. "The Best Things in Life Are Free" by Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson from Mo' Money (1992) - link to video
39. "Visions of a Sunset" by Shawn Stockman (of Boyz II Men) from Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) - link to video
38. "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio from Dangerous Minds (1995) - link to video
37. "Only Lonely" by Hootie & the Blowfish from Message in a Bottle (1999)
36. "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen from Jerry Maguire (1996) - link to video
35. "Nights Like This" by After 7 from The Five Heartbeats (1991)
34. "Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)" by Whitney Houston with Babyface from Waiting to Exhale (1995)
33. "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls from City of Angels (1998)
32. "To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth Brooks from Hope Floats (1998) - Another version by Trisha Yearwood also appears in the movie and on the soundtrack. The song is originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan, but my favorite cover is by Billy Joel.
31. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John from The Lion King (1994) - link to video - "Hakuna Matata" is another fun song from this movie
30. "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty from Good Will Hunting (1997)
29. "Stay" by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories from Reality Bites (1994)
28. "When I Fall In Love" by Celine Dion & Clive Griffin from Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - link to video
27. "For the First Time" by Kenny Loggins from One Fine Day (1996) - link to video
26. "Crazy Love" by Aaron Neville & Robbie Robertson from Phenomenon (1996)
25. "Blaze of Glory" by Bon Jovi from Young Guns II (1990) - link to video
24. "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton from Rush (1991) - Made more famous by his performance on the show MTV Unplugged
23. "I'll Remember" by Madonna from With Honors (1994) - link to video
22. "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve from Cruel Intentions (1999) - link to video
21. "You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy from Swingers (1996) - the song they actually swing dance to in the movie is another BBVD song titled "Go Daddy-O"
20. "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal from Batman Forever (1995) - link to video
19. "Man on the Moon" by R.E.M. from Man on the Moon (1999)
18. "I'd Die Without You" by P.M. Dawn from Boomerang (1992) - link to video
17. "I Will" by Ben Taylor from Bye Bye Love (1995) - link to video - Yes, that is the son of James Taylor and yes, that is a cover of a Beatles song. It is one of my favorite songs of all time.
16. "Let My Love Open the Door" by Pete Townshend from Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) - This film has an outstanding soundtrack which also includes the songs "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes and "Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen among several other outstanding tracks
15. "Music of My Heart" by NSYNC & Gloria Estefan from Music of the Heart (1999) - link to video
14. "How Do I Live" by Trisha Yearwood from Con Air (1997) - link to video
13. "Again" by Janet Jackson from Poetic Justice (1993) - link to video
12. (tie) "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield and "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green both from Pulp Fiction (1994) - One of the best movie soundtracks of all time for what is my favorite movie of all time
11. "Regulate" by Warren G. & Nate Dogg from Above the Rim (1994) - link to video - This rap song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1994. It samples parts of the Michael McDonald song "I Keep Forgettin'" and "Sign of the Times" by Bob James. It also includes dialogue from the original Young Guns (1988) movie at the beginning.
10. "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion from Up Close and Personal (1996) - link to video - This song was written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for 6 weeks beginning in March 1996. It won the Grammy for Best Song Written For Motion Picture or Television and was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. I can tolerate this song much more than her one from Titanic.
9. "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan from City of Angels (1998) - link to video - This song originally appeared on her 1997 album Surfacing before appearing on the soundtrack for this film. It was then released as a single in 1999, but peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is beautiful and simple, and McLachlan explained it was written about Jonathan Melvoin, the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996.
8. "Wise Up" by Aimee Mann from both Jerry Maguire (1996) and Magnolia (1999) - link to video from Magnolia - Another Aimee Mann song "Save Me" from Magnolia actually received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, but I feel this song is much more important especially since it also appeared on another major film soundtrack. Aimee Mann was the former lead singer for the band ‘Til Tuesday which had the 1985 hit "Voices Carry."
7. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith from Armageddon (1998) - link to video - This song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September of 1998 and stayed there for 4 weeks. Amazingly, this was the first #1 for Aerosmith after 28 years together! This song was also written by Diane Warren and like "Because You Loved Me" was originally meant for Celine Dion. Despite being nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar, it was also nominated for a Razzie as the worst song. Though the song is a little cheezy, I feel the Razzie nomination is not justified because it seems like the perfect song for the moment it is used in the film.
6. "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) - link to video - This love ballad hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of July in 1991 and would spend 7 weeks in the top spot (and 16 weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart). The song was originally meant to be sung by "Maid Marian" to "Robin Hood" and was offered to several female singers to write. Instead, it went to Adams and the film company was not all that happy with the result and that is why the song only appears during the ending credits. The public loved it though and the song went on to sell over 3 million singles making it the second-best selling song after only "We Are the World."
5. "Change the World" by Eric Clapton from Phenomenon (1996) - link to video - This song only reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, but was actually chosen by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the Songs of the Century (ranked #270). The song was produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds who also provided backing vocals on the track.
4. "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men from Boomerang (1992) - link to video - This amazing song, written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August of 1992 and would stay there for a record breaking 13 straight weeks. This broke the record of 11 weeks held by Elvis Presley in 1956 with "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel," but would be broken again by one of the songs listed in the #2 spot below.
3. (tie) "I Will Always Love You" and "I Have Nothing" both by Whitney Houston from The Bodyguard (1992) - link to "I Will Always Love You" video & link to "I Have Nothing" video - The movie is average at best, but it featured an amazing soundtrack with many of the songs by Whitney Houston who also starred in the movie. The album itself won the Grammy for Album of the Year and went 17x platinum making it the best-selling soundtrack of all time (42 million worldwide). "I Will Always Love You" was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton, but Whitney Houston's version would reach the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1992. It would remain #1 for 14 straight weeks which would break the record which "End of the Road" had just set earlier that year. The song would get overplayed on the radio, but in retrospect was ranked #1 on VH1's "100 Greatest Love Songs" list as well as #4 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90s" and #8 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years." The other song, "I Have Nothing" only peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is written by David Foster and Linda Thompson and was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar (though it lost to "A Whole New World" from Alladin which I did not rank in my top 50). It is not as flashy as the mega-hit from this album, but I feel it just as worthy of an effort.
2. "With or Without You" by U2 from Blown Away (1994) - link to video - This is one of my favorite songs of all time and it definitely NOT best known for its appearance in this movie starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones. It was originally released on the iconic Joshua Tree album back in 1987. It became U2's first American #1 hit, spending three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It is no surprise (like the next song on this list too) that this song is included on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list (ranked at #131), though I would rank it much higher than that personally. The scene in which it appears in Blown Away is interesting (click on link to watch the scene) and I think the song helps add something special to it. Even though it is best associated with the 80s, since the song appeared in a 90s movie, I just had to include it on this list.
1. "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen from Wayne's World (1992) - link to video - This song was originally recorded for Queen's 1975 album A Night at the Opera and would have huge commercial success at that time especially in the UK. It is eclectic to say the least, but is included on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list (ranked #163). The song enjoyed a resurgence when it was included in a very funny scene in Wayne's World. It is reported that actor Dana Carvey did not learn the lyrics to the song prior to filming the scene and was displeased with the take used in the film because he was obviously just moving his mouth to the music. I actually thought this made it even funnier, but you can see it for yourself in the video. This was an outstanding song long before this film, but because it was in the movie it qualifies for this list and I rank it at the top.
There's my list from the 90s. The biggest difference I notice from the 80s list is that this list includes far fewer "pop" songs, though many of the songs on this list were catapulted by these films and ended up being some of the best selling singles of all time. Songs like "My Heart Will Go On," "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You," "End of the Road" and "I Will Always Love You" are some of the most successful songs in history and they each appeared on movie soundtracks in the 90s. If you include the honorable mention, Celine Dion appears on the list 3 times which would seem to make her the queen of 90s Movie Songs. Just to remind you, there were links to the video for 30 of the songs on this list, so be sure to give those a try.
Hope you enjoyed this list as much as the 80s Movie Songs list. It's hard for me to believe that some of these movies are now 10-15 years old already. That will wrap up this special issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks as always for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: With the topic of this issue being from the 90s, I felt that it was necessary to include some representation from the 80s. Here is a link to a video montage of great dancing clips from 80s movies done to the Men Without Hats song "Safety Dance" (because original video set to Billy Idol song "Dancing With Myself" was removed). I loved it and it brings back lots of good memories. As you may remember, the Old School 80s Movie Awards included a prize for Best Dance Scene and many of those nominees are represented in this video. Also be sure to check out the video I recommended in my last post too, if you have not already.
Quote of the day: "Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." -Antoine De Saint Exupery (French writer early 1900's)
Download this: Some of the songs on the list above have already been recommended here in past issues. Here are a couple that have not been yet... "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve, "Only Lonely" by Hootie & the Blowfish and "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan