The 20 most unforgettable Hollywood love songs
by J Blair Brown
We all know Hollywood has spurred some serious love stories through the years, but it’s often the theme songs from those films that add impetus to the story itself – and in more than a few cases, are the best part of the film. That said, following is my own personal list of the 20 most unforgettable love songs of Hollywood:
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard).
Written by Dolly Parton for the film Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Houston’s rendition will forever be connected to her Rachel Marron character and Kevin Costner’s Frank Farmer. As it should be.
“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams
(Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves).
In another Costner vehicle, Adams’ lyrics “I’d fight for you, I’d lie for you, walk the wire for you – yeah, I’d die for you!” … who can’t feel that?
“And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)” by Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls).
“I’m stayin.’ I’m stayin’… and you, and you, and you… you’re gonna love me!” It’s the ultimate in melodic stalking. (No wonder he ran away.) Still…it’s one of the best songs of any kind, let alone in the love category.
“Against All Odds” by Phil Collins (Against All Odds)
“… but to wait for you is all I can do and that’s what I’ve got to face.” You know a song stands on its own merits when it outshines the film it’s meant to complement. Which brings me to…
“You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone (You Light Up My Life).
“It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.” Great song; dud of a film. With the exception of this song, nothing, and I do mean nothing, could have made anything positive out of that film.
“Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John (Grease).
“My head is saying, ‘Fool, forget him!’ My heart is saying, ‘Don’t let go!’ Hold onto the end – that’s what I intend to do… I’m hopelessly devoted to you.” And devoted she was, realizing that her only chance of bagging that man depended on her becoming a slut by the closing credits. Now that’s devotion.
“Kiss from a Rose” by Seal (Batman Forever).
It’s Seal. Please. Of course it’s hot.
“She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing).
(I could have selected “I Had the Time of My Life,” but I’ve always been partial to this one.) I admit to this guilty pleasure of a film about a man who sexes up a 16-year-old (which seriously should have landed him in jail, don’t you think?).
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (Titanic).
Other than the sinking ship, there was no downside to this film: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslett – two gorgeous, young people in love… and a #1 hit song to boot. That is reason enough to ‘go on.’
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith (Armageddon).
“… and even when I dream of you, the sweetest dream will never do… I still miss you, baby… and I don’t wanna miss a thing!” You know you have some slammin’ lyrics when the lead singer screams his way through them and still comes up with a hit song. Scream on, Steven Tyler.
“Purple Rain” by Prince (Purple Rain).
No explanation needed.
“Separate Lives” by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin (White Nights).
“Ooh, it’s so typical, love leads to isolation. So you build that wall (build that wall). Yes, you build that wall (you build that wall) – and you make it stronger!” Make you wanna hold on tight to his ankles as he’s walking out the door!” I mean… I guess.
“I Love You Porgy” by Dorothy Dandridge (Porgy and Bess).
Although my all-time favorite rendition was performed by the incomparable Nina Simone, the original heart-wrenching words and music (by George Gershwin) proves that everyone (regardless of race, social status, or their lot in life) wants – and deserves – to be loved.
“The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were).
Ahh. Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. The way they were. Brings me to tears every time.
“My Man” by Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl).
Who can’t feel the dejected Fanny Brice at the conclusion of this film, singing about the man she loves? In spite of all the heartache and the betrayal Streisand belts out, “What’s the difference if I say ‘I’ll go away’ when I know I’ll be back someday? For whatever my man is I’m his forevermore!” Ain’t that love?
“Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers (Ghost).
This film not only turned people everywhere on to the Righteous Brothers, but pottery suddenly became hip.
“Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
(An Officer and a Gentleman).
I dare you to hear this song and not think of Richard Gere decked out in that all-white military uniform. Whew.
“Somewhere Out There” by Phillip Glasser and Betsy Cathcart
(An American Tail).
If you didn’t feel the pain of that little mouse as he looked up at the stars and sang to his family, who was so, so far away, “… it helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky!” – well… you have no soul.
“Change the World” by Eric Clapton (Phenomenon).
“If I could change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe. You would think my love was really something good, baby, if I could change the world.” That Eric Clapton is a bad, bad man. (I mean that in a good way.)
“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel (Say Anything).
Even years later, many of us are as affected today as the time we first saw the 16-year-old nutcase standing in the rain holding that boom box over his head, paying tribute to the girl who broke his heart. It was legendary.
Of course, there are many, many more (such as Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” from Up Close and Personal; “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin from Top Gun; and others), but time and space doesn’t permit me to list them all.
How does it compare to your list? What are some of your favorite love songs from the movies?Tags: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", "Against All Odds", "And I Am Telling You (I'm Not Going)", "Because You Loved Me", "Hopelessly Devoted to You", "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", "I Love You Porgy", "I Will Always Love You", "In Your Eyes", "Kiss from a Rose", "My Heart Will Go On", "My Man", "Purple Rain", "Separate Lives", "She's Like the Wind", "Take My Breath Away", "Unchained Melody", "Up Where We Belong", "You Light Up My Life", Change the world, Hollywood, J Blair Brown, Love songs, The Way We Were, Valentine's Day