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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What are the best pop songs ABOUT movies?

Help me create a new playlist on my iPod:

What are the best pop songs about movies?

I’m thinking about songs that mention particular movies or just a love of the movies in general. A few examples I really like:

“Pencil-Thin Moustache” by Jimmy Buffett:

Oh I wish I had a pencil-thin moustache
the Boston Blackie kind
a two-tone Ricky Ricardo jacket
and an autographed picture of Andy Devine…

Or “Life on Mars” by David Bowie

And she’s hooked to the silver screen

But I can’t think of all of them. Gimme some more.

FYI: I’m not thinking, by the way, about songs from movies or associated with movies, like Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters theme or Celion Dion singing about her heart going on as featured in Titanic. But save those ideas for tomorrow’s QOTD.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Robert

    ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Deep Blue Something.

    Also, ‘Mrs Potters Lullaby’ by the Counting Crows is about the lead singer’s ìnfatuation with an actress, which als counts, I suppose.

  • MaSch

    Amadeus, Amadeus,
    Amadeus, Amadeus,
    O, o, o, Amadeus!
    Come and rock me Amadeus!

    “Amadeaus” by Falco, definitely inspired by the movie.

    Movie Star, oh, Movie Star!
    You think you are a movie –
    Movie Star, oh Movie Star

    “Movie Star” by Harpo.

    Goodbye, Norma Jean,
    From the young man in the twenty-second row,
    Who sees you as something more than sexual,
    More than just our Marilyn Monroe.”

    That Elton John doesn’t see Marilyn Monroe in a sexual way is less remarkable today, since now everyone knows he’s gay, but “Candle in the Wind” still is beautiful.

  • TMS

    “Robert De Niro’s Waiting” – Bananarama has the great chorus featuring the lines “Robert De Niro’s waiting, Talking Italian”

  • jadasc

    There’s always “Key Largo.” (We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall…)

  • Well, it’s country, not pop, but there never was a song more about the movies than The Movies by the Statler Brothers.


    Here’s a YouTube clip of a suitably cheesy 1982 TV special showing them singing the song:


  • fett101

    Blessed Union of Souls – ‘Hey Leonardo’
    Billy Joel – ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’

  • bitchen frizzy

    “Celluloid Heroes” – The Kinks

  • Cal

    “Movie Star” by Roisin Murphy is amazing.

    Also check out the video for Dan Black’s “Symphonies”. The song isn’t about movies as such but the video is definitely inspired from them.

  • Deanne

    “Gone to the Movies” – Semisonic
    Another fool would go down to the only place she ever went to lose herself
    She’s gone to the movies now and she don’t need your help

    “Twin Cinema” – New Pornographers

    “Debaser” – Pixies, references the surrealist film Un chien andalou

  • MBastet

    There was a song about horror movies back in the 80’s that was kinda popular… “Thriller.”

  • AJP

    The Drifters Saturday Night at the Movies, although the lyrics of the song make clear that they don’t really care about the movie much (“it don’t matter what picture we see”).

  • pjowens75

    Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

  • pjowens75

    Science Fiction Double Feature from Tocky Horror Picture Show

  • t6

    “Wake Up, Little Suzie” by the Everly Brothers

    “Wake up, little Susie, wake up
    Wake up, little Susie, wake up
    We’ve both been sound asleep, wake up, little Susie, and weep
    The movie’s over, it’s four o’clock, and we’re in trouble deep
    Wake up little Susie
    Wake up little Susie, well…”

    then later

    “Wake up, little Susie, wake up
    Wake up, little Susie, wake up
    The movie wasn’t so hot, it didn’t have much of a plot
    We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot
    Wake up little Susie
    Wake up little Susie, well …”

  • t6

    “Sandy” from Grease

    “Stranded at the Drive-in…branded…a fool…
    What will they saayyyy…Monday at schoool!”

  • Bluejay

    Besides “Thriller,” another MJ movie song is “Liberian Girl.” You came and you changed my world / Just like in the movies / With two lovers in a scene / And she says do you love me…

    Also, I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near the best, but I thought of “Act Naturally” by the Beatles. They’re gonna put me in the movies / They’re gonna make a big star out of me / We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely / And all I gotta do is act naturally. Kinda hokey, but I have a soft spot for Ringo’s singing.

  • Bluejay

    And speaking of the Beatles, there’s “Honey Pie,” of course.

    Oh honey pie my position is tragic
    Come and show me the magic
    of your Hollywood song.
    You became a legend of the silver screen
    And now the thought of meeting you
    Makes me weak in the knee…

  • J.

    “The Union Forever” by the White Stripes — the lyrics are all bits of dialogue from Citizen Kane:

    Well, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested
    In gold mines, oil wells, shipping or real estate
    What would I like to have been?
    Everything you hate

  • Eric

    In addition to the aforementioned “Celluloid Heroes” , another great Kinks song about the movies is “Oklahoma USA” from their 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies. It’s a melancholy ballad about a lonely woman who finds meaning in her mundane life by fantasizing about being in the movies.

    But in her dreams she is far away
    In Oklahoma USA
    With Shirley Jones and Gordon McCrea

    One of my favorite songs by them, and it never fails to break my heart every time I hear it.

  • doa766

    most people won’t know it but german power metal band Blind Guardian has a brilliant song called “Time what is Time” about Blade Runner

  • Brian E. Klunk

    Anything by The Searchers would work since the name of the group was suppposedly taken from the Ford/Wayne film. In the same vein, Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” may also be a reference to Ethan’s frequent remark in The Searchers.

  • CoriAnn

    So Long, Astoria by The Ataris is a total send up to The Goonies. Also, In This Diary from the same album has some reference to 80’s movies I believe. Both good stuff.


  • bats :[

    Gotta be Jon Anderson and Vangelis’ “The Friends of Mr. Cairo”. Cribbing ruthlessly from the liner notes, lyrics are inspired by “The Maltese Falcon,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Thief of Baghdad.” Oh, yeah, there’s a video, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ph8hNljOXE

  • JosephFM

    “He Took Her To A Movie” by Ladytron.

  • Gia

    “Matinee Idol” by Rufus Wainwright is about River Phoenix, and one of my personal favorites.

  • AJS

    Bob Dylan’s “Brownsville Girl”

    Well, I’m standin’ in line in the rain to see a movie starring Gregory Peck,
    Yeah, but you know it’s not the one that I had in mind.
    He’s got a new one out now, I don’t even know what it’s about
    But I’ll see him in anything so I’ll stand in line.
    There was a movie I seen one time, I think I sat through it twice.
    I don’t remember who I was or where I was bound.
    All I remember about it was it starred Gregory Peck, he wore a gun and he was shot in the back.
    Seems like a long time ago, long before the stars were torn down

  • Rigby

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

  • mel

    add San Dimas High School rules to you’re ataris list. Besides the title being from bill and teds, it also has the lines.
    ‘These are the things that make me free
    I feel like I’m stuck in “stand by me”
    This night was too good to be true.’

  • KLW

    The song for the opening credits of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Science Fiction/Double Feature” – all things science fiction movie camp.

  • Tim

    Year of the Cat Al Stewart

  • Tonio Kruger

    “Cinémania” by Stereo Total.

    From the 2002 documentary Cinemania, natch.

  • Debbi Calton

    Everyone’s Gone to the Movies Steely Dan

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