5 Hit Movie Songs on a Music In Film Weekend
All weekend, New Jersey 101.5 is putting the spotlight on music from the movies!
And, it just wouldn't be right not to shine the first spotlight on one of Jersey's own!
Frankie Valli "Grease" (#1/1978) from the movie "Grease"
Frankie Valli was born Francis Castellucio in Newark, on May 3, 1937.
And, he didn't wait long to enter the recording studio!
He recorded his first solo song as "Frank Valley" on the Corona Record label in 1953.
Two years later, in 1955, he formed his own band, the "Variatones."
They changed their name to the "Four Lovers" in 1956...evolving into the "Four Seasons" by 1961. The name comes from a North Jersey bowling alley!
The Four Seasons scored big on the pop charts through the 1960's...and in the 1970's, the "Jersey Boys" made a big comeback with "Who Loves You" in 1975, and "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)" in early 1976.
Frankie Valli scored big in his solo career...and, his biggest solo hit came thanks to a movie that traded on late 1970's nostalgia for the "good old days" of the 1950's!
"Grease" was written and produced specifically for the movie, by "Bee Gee" Barry Gibb.
In 2013, Frankie Valli told "Billboard Magazine" how the biggest song in his career came his way: Valli tells the publication how he gets a phone call from Barry Gibb, who tells him that he (Barry) has just written a song that he thinks is just right for Frankie to sing.
Further, its the title song for an upcoming movie.
Frankie gets a call from his then-manager, Allan Carr, who is already aligned with RSO Records owner Robert Stigwood, a partner in the movie which would become "Grease."
His manager asks Frankie: What do you want to do? Be in the movie, or sing the title song?
By this time, Frankie has heard Barry Gibb's song, and says that he loves it. Famed arranger Don Costa has heard the song, and tells his pal Frankie Valli that he's crazy if he passes on singing the title song.
So, Frankie asks his manager what song he'd be singing if he agrees to the on-camera role in the movie: "Beauty School Dropout."
As we now know, another Frabkie, Frankie Avalon, took on the part, and sang "Beauty School Dropout." It's on the soundtrack, but is not one of the hits. Avalon does make money from the song being on the soundtrack, but...it has never been equal to Frabkie Valli's long-running song royalties!
In Frankie Valli's own words: "Grease was one of the biggest records I ever had in my career."
Phil Collins "Two Of Hearts" (#1/1989) from the movie "Buster"
Phil Collins was born in London on January 30, 1951.
He was musically inclined at an early age, taking up the drums at 5 years old!
He caught the showbiz bug early, too. He signed up for drama training in school, and won jobs as a child stage actor. Phil's early acting resume includes appearing in the London production of "Oliver."
He joined the band "Genesis" as its drummer in 1970. By 1975, he was the lead singer as well!
He embarked on a simultaneous solo career, releasing the "Face Value" album in 1981...with his face gracing the covers of Phil Collins albums well into the '90s!
Fans of "Miami Vice" may remember Phil playing the part of a con-man...so, is it that much of a stretch for Phil Collins to make the move to the "silver screen?"
In the crime drama/comedy "Buster," based on the 1963 movie "The Great Train Robbery," Phil Collins plays the petty criminal, Buster Edwards, living in East London in the 1960's.
"Buster" was a 'bust" in theaters...but, it spawned 2 hits for its star!
"Two Hearts" was written for the movie by Collins, along with veteran Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier (of Holland-Dozier-Holland). Dozier also produced this #1 hit!
A feel good song, its about a couple who are connected through time and space...even when they're not together. Their two hearts share a ..."brain."
"Two Hearts" won the 1989 Grammy as "Best Song Written For Motion Picture Or Television." It also won a "Golden Globe" for "Best Original Song."
When he accepted the "Golden Globe" award, Collins lamented that more people had not seen his film...
Yes, I mentioned that there were two hits:
Phil Collins took his remake of the "Mindbenders" (#2/1966) hit...
"Groovy Kind Of Love" to #1 in the fall of 1988.
Consider this the first "extra" of 5 movie hit songs that I present for your enjoyment in this article.
One more interesting fact: both hit songs appear near the end of the movie...because Phil Collins didn't want his singing to interfere with his character!
Madonna "Who's That Girl" (#1/1987) from the movie "Who's That Girl"
If Phil Collins can make the jump to the big screen, why not Bay City, Michigan's best?
She was born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958.
Madonna moved to New York City in the late 1970's, seeking fame and fortune...which she soon found, as the top female pop artist of the 1980's!
Through the 1990's, her acting credits include "Desperately Seeking Susan," "Shanghai Surprise," "Bloodhounds Of Broadway," and "Dick Tracy."
Plus: "Who's That Girl?," the 1987 comedy that was originally to be called "Slammer."
The tile was changed, due to the soon-to-be-hit song.
In the flick, Madonna plays Nikki Finn, a carefree, leather-clad, platinum blonde...falsely accused of murder. After getting out of jail, she falls in love with the man that she convinces to help find the real killer. Follow me?
Anyway, the film was a box office disappointment. Most critics hated it...saying it was one of the worst movies...ever released (up to that time).
The music fared better than the film...
"Who's That Girl" went to #1 on the Hot 100 in the August 1987.
"Causing A Commotion" couldn't quite crack the top spot...it got stuck at #2 for two weeks...a few weeks later.
Madonna's subsequent "Who's That Girl" Tour was a huge success, grossing the "Material Girl" $25 million!
The soundtrack CD sold 6 million copies worldwide...including mine.
Take that, CRITICS!
Kenny Loggins "I'm Alright" (#7/1980) from the movie "Caddyshack"
On air on New Jersey 101.5, I've often referred to Kenny Loggins as "The King of the 80's Movie Soundtracks!"
Loggins was born in Everett Washington, January 7, 1947.
This singer, songwriter, guitarist signed a solo recording contract with Columbia Records in 1971. However, he soon met up with Jim Messina, and together, as "Loggins & Messina," they had several hits in the mid '70's including one of Jersey's Favorite Hits: "Your Mama Don't Dance." Remember?
Anyway...on to the movies! Grab some popcorn!
"I'm Alright" is the theme of "Caddyshack." It is heard at the beginning and end of this classic flick.
Loggins saw a rough cut of the movie, before starting to write the song. He says the inspiration for the song comes from the caddy character, Danny Noonan, who hopes for a brighter future.
I'll bet that you didn't know this (I didn't): Jersey fave Eddie Money happened to be recording in a nearby studio, and Kenny Loggins convinced him to sing a line!
Eddie Money sings "You make me feel good" in the background.
To this day, Money doesn't feel good...that he doesn't get credit for his vocal.
Like I've said, Kenny Loggins IS the Soundtrack King:
Danger Zone (#2/1986) from "Top Gun"...just one of the hit songs to come from that soundtrack!
"Meet Me Halfway" (#11/1987) from the Sylvester Stallone movie "Over The Top."
"Nobody's Fool" (#8/1988) from "Caddyshack II."
Huey Lewis & The News "The Power Of Love" (#1/1985) from the movie "Back To The Future."
Last fall, we celebrated the 30th (!) anniversary of Marty and Doc's adventures in the DeLorean!
Huey Lewis And The News are a San Francisco-based pop band that scored 19 top-ten singles across the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Mainstream Rock charts in the 1980's and early 1990's!
Huey Lewis was born Hugh Anthony Cregg III, in New York City, on July 5th, 1950.
On the band's official website, Huey describes his early years this way:
"Huey was born a long time ago in New York City. He moved to Marin County, California when he was 4 years old (better sandboxes!). At the tender age of 13, he went east to boarding school at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where he began to play the harmonica …"
Yes, Huey Lewis has a Jersey connection...now, that's NEWS!
Around 1978, Huey formed a band, "Huey Lewis & The American Express," consisting of himself on lead vocals and harmonica, with former Clover band mate Sean Hopper on keyboards and backup vocals. Plus, three guys from San Francisco Bay Area rival band, Soundhole: drummer Bill Gibson, Johnny Colla on guitar and sax, and bassist Mario Cipollina.
January 1980 would bring a name change. After the American Express company complained, the band became "Huey Lewis And The News."
You KNOW their HITS!
Including one of "Jersey's Favorite Hits:"
"The Power Of Love" was a #1 hit in 1985.
It was the LAST song added to the movie, because it was finished just 2 days before the final mix of the movie was completed!
"Back To The Future" went into production with "I Want A New Drug" as the temporary track, until "Power" was done! By the way, you may recall that "I Want A New Drug" is in the movie...Marty hears it playing, when his alarm clock goes off.
Would you like another "extra?"
"Back To The Future" big wigs Stephen Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and music supervisor Bones Howe wanted a "time" song from Huey Lewis...who proposed a song called "Nick Of Time." Other commitments prevented delivery of the song to "Back To The Future." (Patti LaBelle sings it over the closing titles of the movie "Brewster's Millions).
While the producers were upset to lose "Nick Of Time," Huey told them that he had an ever better song:
"Back In Time"
Although the song was never officially released as a single, it was a #3 hit on the Billboard Album Rock Chart in September of 1985.
Unlike "The Power Of Love," the "Back In Time" lyrics refer to the story and characters in the movie.
As you can see, the video features bloopers, and never-seen-before clips from other videos by Huey Lewis & The News.
I hope that you have enjoyed the stories and videos...and keep listening for more "music from the movies" on New Jersey 101.5, nj1015.com, and on the New Jersey 101.5 app!