The movie was just ok, but did you hear the soundtrack?

Tonight the kids and I were on our way to the store. Whenever they’re in the car with me, they know that they have to listen to MY IPod, which has a pretty eclectic variety of music…as I’m sure everyone’s IPod has. At any rate, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” by Hugo Montenegro came on. I immediately started whistling along to it. My kids listened for a moment before saying the inevitable… “What a weird song.”

It’s true, it’s a weird song, but if you’ll excuse my language, it’s a fucking GREAT song. I can remember when it was on the radio when I was a kid, and would turn it up every time I heard it. It was one of those songs that was, in my opinion, so much better than the movie. The rip-off was that Montenegro’s version wasn’t even IN the movie. His song was BASED on the theme from the movie.

That has happened so many times. A song will come on the radio that has the same title as a popular movie, and either the hit song is based on the movie or theme, or the song doesn’t appear, or hardly appears, in the movie at all. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is a perfect example of that. Another example is “Theme from Shaft”, of course, from the movie “Shaft” (the original one starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft). They play the theme at the beginning of the movie, but it’s kind of a stripped down version of the hit single by Isaac Hayes. And when he does the “who is the man that would risk his neck for his fellow man?”, it almost sounds like karoke…and the song fades soon after that.

You can go back even further. Any Gene Pitney fans out there? Remember his hit “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”?  Rent the movie…that song is NOWHERE to be heard in the flick. If you research it, you’ll find that Burt Bacharach wrote the song BASED on the movie of the same name.

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Hollywood took the soundtrack a step further, and put out soundtrack albums from movies that had dozens of songs on them. For many of those songs, you would have to pay strict attention to the movie. For instance, I saw the soundtrack for the John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy” before I saw the movie. The soundtrack was a double album that had a bunch of great artists on it, including Dan Fogelberg. There was a new Fogelberg tune on it called “Times Like These” that hadn’t appeared on any of Dan’s albums (it was later released on The Innocent Age). When I heard the song on the radio, I thought “That’s a great song…must be a cool movie.” So I went to see it. The movie wasn’t terrible, but a little too gravy-soppin’ for my taste. I listened intently for the Fogelberg tune to come on. Finally, there was a scene where Travolta pulls up to an intersection and yells something at his estranged wife, Debra Winger. For about 3 to 5 seconds, you can hear “Times Like These” on Travolta’s truck radio. And that was that.

Anyways, I’m ranting. Let’s just wrap this whole subject up with my favorite songs that were either based on movies, featured in movies, or were the actual themes from movies:

-Theme from Shaft – Shaft – Isaac Hayes

-Are You Man Enough – Shaft in Africa – The Four Tops

-Freddie’s Dead – Superfly – Curtis Mayfield

-The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Hugo Montenegro

-Vanilla Sky – Vanilla Sky – Paul McCartney

-You’re Gonna Miss Me – Hi Fidelity – 13th Floor Elevators

Those are just a few. Come up with your own. And thanks to me, your mind is now whistling “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.


About groovyrick

I live in a small town in Illinois with my wife and three kids. I am a part-time musician, part-time writer, and full-time dreamer.
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