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Mar 06 2009

From The Archives: 10 Out of Place Songs That Really Work Well in Movies

Published by at 3:20 am under Movies

Reservoir Dogs

I decided to take an article out of the archives just in case any of you may have missed it in the past.   I’ve added some minor changes. 

Sometimes songs just seem to fit a movie. For example, it’s obvious that one would use the song “Singing in the Rain” in a movie where the guy is actually singing and it’s actually raining.

However, some movies play a song and you think to yourself, “Dude, what the hell is going on here?” and you just can’t fathom why the song has been used. However, after thinking about it you realize how disturbing, yet indescribably appropriate the use of that song was.

Here are my picks (in no particular order) for the 10 most out of place songs that work really well in movies

American Psycho – “Sussudio” by Phil Collins

American Psycho

A whole myriad of songs could be chosen for American Psycho but it was either Huey Lewis or Phil Collins for this pick. “Sussudio” is great and doesn’t really have much to do with anything. “Hip to be square” at least admits the character is nuts.

A Clockwork Orange – “Singing in the Rain” by Nacio Heb Brown

Clockworke Orange

Another movie where I could have gone in another direction. “Beethoven’s 9th” could have been used but if you’ve ever seen A Clockwork Orange and then hear the song “Singing in the Rain,” you just don’t think of Gene Kelly anymore.  You think of mass destruction, beatings, and anarchy.

Boogie Nights – “Sister Christian,” by Night Ranger

Boogie Nights

Remember how long the camera was on Wahlberg’s face at one point during this scene? It was over a minute. One of my all time favorite scenes in a movie. Amazing.  And what in the hell does this song have to do with this scene?  Not much but it works damn well doesn’t it?

The Game – “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane

The Game

This is the insane scene where Michael Douglas sees a picture of his dead father in a toy clown’s mouth. His entire house is covered in UV lights and what song is playing? “White Rabbit.” So eerie. David Fincher is the man.  Honestly, that song just fits so well but come on, is it supposed to?

Roger and Me – “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” by the Beach Boys

Roger and Me

Remember this guy?

Great parody work here. Michael Moore may be fat and annoying but the guy can make a movie… no matter what people’s opinions are. And when you play this song during evictions and heartache, it’s effective.

Fallen – “Time is on my side” by the Rolling Stones


I for one, always think of this movie whenever I hear this song. It’s definitely appropriate for the movie’s theme but certainly “out of place” enough to warrant a mention on this list. You just don’t associate this song with serial killers do you?  I mean I guess “Time is on my side” makes sense in terms of the spirit having so much time now but still, it’s just weird to associate this song with horror.

Blue Velvet – In Dreams/Blue Velvet by Roy Orbison

Blue Velvet

Sure it’s the name of the movie but come on, you’re missing the point.  Just because a song bears the same name as the movie doesn’t mean it’s appropriate.  Especially when you know the content of the movie. Dennis Hopper is draining laughing gas and acting like a complete loon and that same movie contains a sweet Roy Orbison song? Check. David Lynch is certainly strange.

The Big Lebowski – “Hotel California” by The Eagles, sung by The Gypsy Kings

Big Lebowski

This one was debatable only because all the other movies involve some kind of whacked out horror. However, it’s just as completely random and amazing that the Spanish version of Hotel California is played when John Turturro is licking a bowling ball.

Full Metal Jacket – “Chapel of Love,” The Dixie Cups

Full Metal Jacket

Something’s amiss when you are filming a Vietnam scene in the mud and frankly “the shit” and you hear “Going to the chapel and we’re….gonnnnna get maaarried” playing. Kubrick, as usual, stuns his audience in a great great way.

Reservoir Dogs – “Stuck in the Middle with You,” by Stealers Wheel

Reservoir Dogs

This one goes without saying and is clearly the best.

Obviously this list isn’t set in stone, if you have any suggestions please feel free to participate in the comments.

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6 responses so far

  • Matt

    I always thought the use of Hendrix playing Voodoo Child in Under Siege was dead on. Again, nothing to do with the film, but it worked.

  • Andy

    Layla during the scene in goodfellas where everyone shows up dead.

  • http://Uncoached 3ThreeIII

    “Golden Years” by Bowie in A Knight’s Tale.

    I especially love the blending of the intro with lute, pipes and drum into Bowie’s intro, and then, BAM, dance scene…

    Had to rewind first time I saw it to make sure I actually heard that.

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  • TH

    “Miracles” Jefferson Starship as “Chelios” Jason Statham free falls to earth and bounces of a car.

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