59 thoughts on “Best 80’s Soundtrack

  1. Pretty In Pink gets my vote, but I always wished it had the Rave Ups songs from the movie on it too.

  2. I’ll have to look up Lost Boys to see what’s on there … but in my opinion the Blues Brothers soundtrack (released in 1980) sneaks in there and wins the crown.

  3. My vote for the best traditional movie soundtrack in the 80’s – as opposed to a bunch of pop songs thrown together – would be “Chariots of Fire”. Very stirring.

  4. The Lost Boys soundtrack looks a lot better when you recall that I Still Believe is actually a song by The Call. Exactly right on the Rave Ups & Pretty in Pink, shaz. Pretty in Pink has many great bands, but not at their best.

    The Soundtrack was a bit of a letdown, in some ways … but the best music in an 80s movie was actually The Fabulous Baker Boys.

    I remember being thrown off in a bad way on the Simple Minds song in Breakfast Club. It’s catchy … but for me Simple Minds was Empires … or New Gold Dream. I was really afraid of sell-outs when I was 18.


  5. Even though it had that horrible Madonna song I’ve always liked Vision Quest. It had that great Red Ryder song Lunatic Fringe. (Gotta love the Canadian rock)

    Fabulous Baker Boys was great as well. (Although that’s just barely 80’s)

    I can’t believe no one mentioned The Blues Brothers. (Yeah, 1980’s boys and girls) (Edit: OK, someone got there before me — sorry about htat)

    Lost Boys was great at the time but I’m not sure it holds up as well – even though that’s still among my favorite Doors songs.

  6. As far as best soundtrack of the 1980s, I’m gonna go with Amadeus. I know, I know, the music wasn’t written in the 1980s, but as far as best soundtrack, you just can’t beat Mr. Mozart.

  7. From wikipedia’s entry on “Don’t You Forget About Me:”

    “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is a song written for the soundtrack of the 1985 John Hughes movie The Breakfast Club. The songwriters were disco producer Keith Forsey (who won an Oscar for “Flashdance… What a Feeling”) and Steve Schiff (edgy post punk guitarist songwriter from the Nina Hagen band.)

  8. Less Than Zero – the combination of Roy Orbison, Glenn Danzig (doing his best Elvis Presley), Public Enemy, and the Bangles’ only song worth listening to: Hazy Shade of Winter, boosts the listening factor waaayy up.

    Say Anything was good also.

  9. Well if we’re going orchestral then you have to give Indy a nod.

    I can’t believe I forgot Blue Velvet – a sign of what was to come with Twin Peaks.

    Top Gun, even though it is pretty cheesy in hindsight, was great at the time.

    When did Caddyshack come out?

  10. Oooo Gilgamesh – good call on Birdy.

    And speaking of Peter Gabriel, the soundtrack to Last Temptation of Chirst is amazing. Was that 80s? Must have been.


  11. BM, that Bangles song is actually a Simon & Garfunkel song.

    I like the Lost Boys Soudtrack a lot, but I think it gets edged out by Pretty in Pink and even Valley Girl (Modern English, baby). Breakfast Club was good as well, but 9 1/2 Weeks was the best, for my money. “Slave To Love” by Brian Ferry is still one of my favorite songs of all time. And unlike some of the other movies mentioned, the movie was awesome as well.

  12. I played the P in P constantly as a teen, but I have to go another direction. While not a typical movie, the Rattle & Hum soundtrack is awesome. And my old missionary comp swears to me if you know exactly when and where to look you can see him working stage security in the Arizona scenes.

  13. i’m ashamed to say that the one that got the most playtime in my walkman was the soundtrack to “dirty dancing.” my first thought was “say anything,” though. “last temptation” was indeed 80’s.

    being a bit younger than some of you, i was absolutely terrified when i saw “lost boys.” that won’t EVER win any awards from me. if i had a dollar for every time my husband said, “one thing about living in santa carla i never could stomach…” i didn’t eat rice for a long time after that movie.

  14. TS, I watched R&H so much in college it is now part of my DNA. But technically, it is not a soundtrack. It is a double album created as a companion to the rockumentary. Don’t listen to the fools who say it was pretentious crap. It ruled then and it rules now.

  15. Wow, MCQ, I could have typed that exact comment — “I watched R&H so much in college it is now part of my DNA.” If I didn’t have to get up so early in the morning I would watch it right now — It is sort of a musical journey, you know.

  16. shaz – I very distinctly remember (of my time in your apt.) before going to college myself, days & days of R&H, sour patch kids and Dr. Pepper. I was indoctrinated right!

  17. I dislike Rattle & Hum, with the exception of a couple tracks. _No_ single U2 album after it is as good as _any_ single U2 album before it.

    Well there it is again.

    blah blah blah … elitist attitude … blah blah blah …


  18. Thomas, I generally consider you to be an unalloyed source of pure wisdom, but you must be on some mind-altering substance if you are saying that Achtung Baby, for example, is somehow inferior to Boy, or October.

    I consider Achtung Baby to be second only to The Joshua Tree. I also consider All That You Can’t Leave Behind to be in the top 5 or 6 U2 albums, ahead of October and Boy at least, if not War and The Unforgettable Fire.

    We should probably have a separate post about this, but I’m sure the U2 haters would come out of the woodwork like cockraoches, so I’m not going to do it.

  19. Achtung Baby had singles that were way overplayed. I’d order U2 albums so:

    The Unforgettable Fire
    The Joshua Tree
    Achtung Baby

    and then the rest.

  20. Susan: Ok, but that’s not relevant to their original quality. If you were going by the best albums at the time of their release, rather than after you had heard them a million times, would that change your order?

  21. You mean compare Achtung Baby against other albums released at the same time by other bands? And do the same for earlier U2 albums? Then compare how U2’s albums stack up against each other?

    You’re making my head spin.

  22. No no no, nothing that complex. I’m just asking you to take the “overplayed” element out of the equation and rank the albums based on your feelings about them on their own, independent of whether they came to be “overpayed.” That only seems fair. After all, overplaying a song is actually an indication that it is good, rather than bad. Something like that should not really negatively affect an album’s ranking, IMHO.

  23. Lost Boys was a great soundtrack.

    Also, I’ll add my love for the Blues Brother’s soundtrack.

    However, as typical a movie as it was, I have a huge soft spot for the Over the Top soundtrack.

    But really, the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack totally rocked!

  24. Bill and Ted was in the 90’s though, wasn’t it?

    Joshua Tree is the best for U2. Followed quickly by Unforgettable Fire and then Achtung Baby. I like their earlier stuff but it always seems like half the tracks are much, much stronger than the others.

  25. Unforgettable Fire is my favorite U2 album. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” has been overplayed – but as an album I think it has really unusual and wonderful textures/layers to the sounds coming out of that thing. I like stuff from all over the U2 discography … but that one strikes me as the most original and powerful of them all.

  26. Bad from Unforgettable Fire is still my all time favorite U2 song although I prefer the live version (which I believe was from a small limited release album that came out after Unforgettable Fire). I always judged Rattle and Hum more akin to that excellent mini-album for UF. So maybe that’s why I like it. To me Rattle and Hum is a mini album tied to Joshua Tree and less an independent album. Of course I kind of see Zooopra (sp? — too lazy to look it up) as having a similar relation to Achtung Baby but where it took on more of a life of its own. That was the end of the “classic” period of U2.

    Pop, I’m convinced, could have been a great album had they held off and spent a few more months on it. There are some great songs on it that just feel unfinished and overproduced. Usually live versions of them stripped down are amazing.

    I really liked their last two albums but tend to put them down the list quite a way although above Zoorpra and Pop. Probably on par with Rattle and Hum.

  27. Agree with the following:

    Lost Boys
    Some Kind of Wonderful
    Pretty in Pink
    Say Anything
    Last Temptation of Christ
    Less Than Zero
    Pump Up The Volume

    I would add these, the top two of which are better than anything above:

    Valley Girl (Josie Cotton, Sparks, Modern English, Plimsouls, Psychedlic Furs, The Flirts, Plimsouls, etc.)

    Last American Virgin (the Police, Gleaming Spires, Oingo Boingo, The Waitresses, Blondie, Journey, The Cars, Devo, U2, The Plimsouls, The Human League)

    Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Jackson Browne, Go Gos, Oingo Boingo, etc.)

    Electric Dreams (Giorgio Moroder, Boy George, Heaven 17, etc.)

    Neverending Story (Limahl, Giorgio Moroder)

    Of course, Dirty Dancing and The Big Chill produced monster soundtracks as well.

    Best 80s soundtrack from a non-80s movie would probably be Donnie Darko, though Starter For 10 is pretty good too.

  28. MCQ said, “Slave To Love” by Bryan Ferry is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

    Yeah, me too. That was the first song my wife and I danced to at our wedding.

    But I love almost everything by Bryan Ferry.

  29. Bad is live on the Wide Awake in America “mini” album.

    I took the time to add Pop and Zooropa to my car rotation last year to see if they grew on me since I first heard them. Surprisingly they had. But as far as I can tell, it is just me.

  30. See if you can find some of the acoustic live versions of Pop songs like The Ground Beneath Her Feet. They are fantastic.

    Zooropa I’m really mixed on. I liked it more when I was in my techno phase. Now I can’t recall the last time I listened to a track from it beyond the amazing Johnny Cash song at the end.

  31. #46 – I assumed Xanadu was from the 70’s. but I love that Tubes / ONJ duet. It totally rocks!

    I’m afraid I have a personal fondness for Rattle & Hum because of who I saw the movie with. =S

  32. Oh Geeze. You’re right. That’s from Million Dollar Hotel. My bad. I looked and none of the acoustic stuff I was thinking of were actually from that album. OK, my bad. The album is irredeemable.

  33. You never hear much of it but Vision Quest had a strong soundtrack:

    1. Only the Young – Journey
    2. Change – John Waite
    3. Shout to the Top – The Style Council
    4. Gambler – Madonna
    5. She’s on the Zoom – Don Henley
    6. Hungry for Heaven – Dio
    7. Lunatic Fringe – Red Rider
    8. I’ll Fall in Love Again – Sammy Hagar
    9. Hot Blooded – Foreigner
    10. Crazy for You – Madonna

    I also like the Less than Zero Sountrack

    1. Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu – Aerosmith
    2. Life Fades Away – Roy Orbison
    3. Rock & Roll All Nite – Poison
    4. Going Back to Cali – LL Cool J
    5. You & Me (Less than Zero) – Glenn Danzig, ,
    6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Slayer
    7. Bring the Noise – Public Enemy
    8. Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So) – Black Flames
    9. She’s Lost You – Joan Jett
    10. How to Love Again [#] – Oran “Juice” Jones, Alyson Williams
    11. Hazy Shade of Winter – Bangles

  34. While I hated the Madonna tracks I loved the other tracks on the VisionQuest soundtrack. Lunatic Fringe is still on my regular playlist.

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