Movie fans, music fans, here’s a list that could provide hours of time-wasting fun. And I’m not just talking about its potential as an argument-starter, though there’s plenty of “Huh?” built into this AOL Music list of the 77 most memorable uses of pop songs in movies. Starting with: Why 77? It’s an unusual number and probably way too large; there are only a handful of directors whose ears for pop are so good that you can’t hear a certain song anymore without envisioning a sequence from the film, or vice versa. You could make a whole list of such song/scene pairings from Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme movies alone, but these directors get only a mention or two each on this list, while other filmmakers (Cameron Crowe, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, John Hughes) get more shout-outs. All deserving folks, but still, this list skews young (only a handful of pre-1980 movies), American (I spotted just two foreign films), and lowbrow (lotsa superhero movies and action blockbusters, for which the soundtracks were chosen more by the marketers than the directors).
I won’t spoil the list’s No. 1 movie song, but I’ll be very surprised, PopWatchers, if any of you agree with it. My pick would have been “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca; it’s simply impossible to imagine one without the other. And where’s Stanley Kubrick? No other director has ruined more cheerfully innocent songs (“Singin’ in the Rain,” “We’ll Meet Again,” the Mickey Mouse Club theme) by marrying them to unforgettably horrifying scenes. Hmm, maybe it’s a good thing, then, that he’s not here.
The chief selection criterion here seems to have been songs whose movie moments are available as YouTube clips. So that’s hours of procrastination right there, plus some fun sidebars, like a gallery of the 24 on-screen bands we wish were real. Plus, I’m happy to cut slack to any list that includes the Pixies, whose “Where Is My Mind?” (as used in this music video montage of Fight Club moments, at No. 71) is a welcome addition to anyone’s day.