Song and Screen, Pt. 1

I typed in "dogs and guitars." This is one of the many wonderful things I found.

I typed in “dogs and guitars.” This is one of the many wonderful things I found.

Happy Friday, you lovely readers, you! I hope that your day has been splendid thus far and that your weekend promises to be equally awesome. No new reviews today, but an idea for a new feature post popped into my head recently, and I thought I’d give it a whirl because why not? Well, if I’m being honest, it occurred to me that though I’ve chosen the name “Silver Screen Serenade” for this blog, I really don’t discuss music very much. Hopefully, this feature can fix that.

Sometimes when you see a movie, a song is used so effectively that you can never listen to it the same way again. It shows up on your iPod or plays on the radio, and in your mind you’re instantly transported to a certain memorable movie moment. I love when that happens. And there are sooooo many examples I can think of! Hence why this is only part one. I’m not going to do these back-to-back or anything, and I’m not ranking them, but for starters, here are five songs that I can’t listen to without thinking of movies.

#1: “Bad Moon Rising” – An American Werewolf in London 

Most people probably think of Bobby Vinton’s mellow version of “Blue Moon” whenever they think of memorable music moments in An American Werewolf in London (which I briefly discuss in this post, if you care to read). It’s definitely an iconic scene—a slow, soothing tune plays while poor David (David Naughton) suffers an agonizing transformation into a vicious beast. But for whatever reason, I always think of the scene right before that. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” is playing, and David is just bored to tears. Should he eat? Not hungry. Read? Nah. Go outside? Can’t—no key. It’s the calm before the storm, and it’s pretty funny.


#2: “Live and Let Die” – American Hustle

I’ve always enjoyed Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Live and Let Die,” but I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed it the way Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) does in American Hustle. It is easily one of the best moments of the film, if not the very best. She’s on a cleaning spree, but she doesn’t let it get in the way of her dire need to rock out. While I’ll admit that I didn’t love American Hustle, I did love watching J-Law lip-sync and whip around that ridiculous pile of blonde hair. Simply glorious.


#3: “Looking for the Magic” – You’re Next

Sadly, I could not find the scene to match this song, so you’ll just have to settle for jamming to it while I paint the picture: You’re Next opens, and we find a couple getting…erm…friendly. Afterward, the man goes to the shower, and the lady wanders off for a drink. She sifts through music and puts on Dwight Twilley’s “Looking for the Magic,” of all things. It plays, and then…well, bad things happen. And the song stays on repeat for a very, very long time. We revisit it a few times throughout the film. Is it a little weird that I kind of love this song?


#4: “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Shaun of the Dead

Really, can you ever go wrong with Queen? “Don’t Stop Me Now” has always been one of my favorite Queen songs, and Shaun of the Dead (which you can read a snippet about here) only solidified that. The song isn’t just slapped in there—it’s woven into the very scene. Trapped in a pub surrounded by zombies and unable to turn off the blaring jukebox, Shaun (Simon Pegg) and co. pick up pool sticks and smack a zombie to the beat of the song. Lights flash at the zombies outside, making them look as if they’re at a rock concert. A fire extinguisher sprays right when Freddie Mercury says the word “explode.” It’s all brilliantly choreographed and just too funny.


#5: “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and/or “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)” – Beetlejuice

I couldn’t choose! Harry Belafonte’s songs are used for two very excellent scenes in Beetlejuice (which I also discuss in that  post I mentioned above with Shaun of the Dead). I almost feel silly explaining them because who hasn’t seen Beetlejuice? The clip above uses “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” in the weirdest, most wonderfully Tim Burton-esque way: ghosts possess guests at a dinner party in an effort to scare them off, but they actually just ending up making a delightfully silly moment. The clip below is tweaked from the original scene in the movie, but it lets you listen to the whole song, so that’s good. 🙂 Basically, Lydia (Winona Ryder) gets the best reward for good grades ever. Kudos to Burton—I cannot listen to any Harry Belafonte music without thinking of Beetlejuice. Well played, sir. Well played.


So what do you guys think—is this something you’d like to see more of in the future? What songs make you think of film moments? If anybody’s interested, I might go ahead and open this feature up to everyone. I don’t intend to make it a series—just a casual thing where if you think of some movie songs and want to write about them, then you’re welcome to do so and send it my way ( any time. But seriously, no pressure.

P.S. Just another little reminder for anyone who plans to partake in the Blogiversary Bash: if at all possible, I would lurrrrrve to have your contributions by two weeks from today (June 20). I will happily accept them past that date, but I do very much enjoy having all of my ducks in a row prior to the start of a series. 🙂

29 thoughts on “Song and Screen, Pt. 1

    • Ooooh Cindy that’s a good one! I doubt I would’ve thought of that, but definitely–can’t hear that song now without thinking of I Am Legend. Thanks!

  1. Your head is a fountain of inspiration Cara. I’d like to do this one. Superb choice for the Live and Let Die. She is just incredible in that, and that scene is so memorable!

    • Bahaha a fountain of inspiration, you say? I like the sound of that! You’re too kind. And I’d love to see you take part! Not gonna lie, this was fun and super easy. And yessss I simply could not leave out that moment with Lawrence. I may forget a lot about American Hustle, but I’ll never forget that. 🙂

    • Thanks, dude! Oh, and I know this one site that does some stuff with music in movies, too. It’s pretty okay, I guess. Run by some Greek though. 😉

  2. Love it! I can’t hear any version of “Putting on the Ritz” without thinking about my favorite comedy, Young Frankenstein.

    On a side note, in regards to the picture at the top of the post; I tried playing the dog once. It ended in very messy results. That pesky E chord is a bitch.

    • Thanks, Mikey! As for Goodfellas…guess I should add that to my list? Lol. It’s funny–I always felt like I’d seen a lot of movies in my lifetime, and then I started blogging…now I am ashamed. Hahaha.

  3. Thanks, Stephen! Yes, I adore that moment in Shaun of the Dead. That movie as a whole just has wonderful dialogue.Y’know, I’ve never gotten around to seeing Reservoir Dogs OR Say Anything, although I’m definitely familiar with the scene in the latter. An excellent moment. 🙂 And soooo many parodies of it! Hahaha.

  4. Excellent post, Cara! I wouldn’t mind putting something together for this (sometime in 2014 if I’m lucky). ; ) Music in movies is very important to me (songs and score) and I’ve had a top ten list for AGES that I don’t have the energy to post as it’s actually a list of 50 songs in movies & I can’t narrow it down. Lol. May post 10 per day one week. : ) Some I love the song AND movie and scene, some I love just the song. Funny how some songs instantly make you think of a movie scene & others don’t. I’ll have a think & give you a write-up on a few at some point! (If you want me…) : ( : ) You’ve chosen some of the biggest ones already – great choices!

  5. I’d love to be a part of this one.
    I know you havent seen Reservoir Dogs,but that one has some very memorable songs and music especially that ‘stuck in the middle’ scene.

    too tired right now to think of others 🙂

  6. The first thing that came to mind (probably because I heard it on the muzak at work) is Bitter Sweet Symphony playing during the final scene of Cruel Intentions. I just think that with how everything turned out for the characters in the film, that song was the perfect choice in terms of lyrics and overall sound. I actually tend to remember songs a lot more if they are paired well with a well-done movie trailer because then it’s like the first impression you have of the movie, so if the trailer/song combo is good, it makes you want to see it more. Although most people didn’t like the movie, I always liked the pairing of the song Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums (by Perfect Circle) with the Fantastic Four trailer. I just thought the tone of the music matched what we were seeing in the trailer.

  7. Pingback: The Royale with Cheeseathon Singalong: The Music of Pulp Fiction | silence cunning exile ... maple syrup

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