Kurt Cobain in Seattle

It’s a bit surreal to be right near the place where Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide 16 years ago. Courtney Love tore down the shed where it happened, but the house is still there, and there is a public park right next to it with a bench. There are many messages on the bench, including flowers and candles. I even found a note thanking Kurt for his influence.
Growing up, I heard the stories about Janis, Jim and Jimmi, and it seems to me that people feel the same way about Kurt. In the early 90s, Nirvana was a band like no other. For me, coming to Seattle and seeing this place was well worth it.

Funniest Eminem Lyrics and Videos

Being a stand-up comedian is perhaps one of the most difficult performing arts jobs there is, because making people laugh isn’t something that most people can do on stage. Being able to write rhyming poetry meant to be recited to music (aka rap), and having the vocal talents to do so is also something not everyone can do well.

Combine the two. What do we get? Early Will Smith.

Okay, so years later we realized that Smith’s early albums sucked. But now, there’s one guy who rocks us out and makes us laugh with every album he releases: Eminem.

Just a disclaimer. Eminem has a bunch of cheesy songs, many of which get popular real quick but ultimately aren’t his best stuff. Sometimes the jokes are lame, particularly when he rips on Christopher Reeve for no other reason than because Reeve rhymes with so many other words (which Eminem even admits in a song).

But when we break it down, song by song and lyric by lyric, some lines are right up there with “Who’s on First?” Okay, maybe not, but they’re funny, clever, and deserve to be listed. Know more? Put them in the comments. We’ll also show his funniest videos, which are basically the rap version of Pee Wee’s Playhouse.


If I ever gave a fuck, I’d shave my nuts
Tuck my dick in between my legs and cluck

also from “Criminal”

My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge
That’ll stab you in the head
whether you’re a fag or lez
Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest
Pants or dress – hate fags? The answer’s “yes”
Homophobic? Nah, you’re just heterophobic
Staring at my jeans, watching my genitals bulging (Ooh!)
That’s my motherfucking balls, you’d better let go of em
They belong in my scrotum, you’ll never get hold of em
Hey, it’s me, Versace
Whoops, somebody shot me!
And I was just checking the mail
Get it? Checking the ‘male’?


…they make it all up, there’s no such thing, like a female with good looks, who cooks and cleans…

“I’m Back”

Cause if I ever stuck it to any singer in showbiz it’d be Jennifer Lopez, and Puffy you know this! I’m sorry Puff, but I don’t give a fuck if this chick was my own mother I still fuck her with no rubber and cum inside her and have a son and a new brother at the same time and just say that it ain’t mine.

“Kill You”

Eh-heh, know why I say these things?
Cause lady’s screams keep creepin in Shady’s dreams
And the way things seem, I shouldn’t have to pay these shrinks
this eighty G’s a week to say the same things tweece
Twice. Whatever, I hate these things

“Just Lose It”

Fellas grab your left nut make the right one jealous

also from “Just Lose It”

I’m gonna make you dance here’s your chance yea boy shake that thang oops i mean girl girl girl girl…

“My Fault”

Sue: I’m twenty-six years old and I’m not married
I don’t even have any kids and I can’t cook
Eminem: I’m over here Sue, you’re talkin to the plant, look!

“My Name Is”

My English teacher wanted to have sex in junior high,
the only problem was,
my English teacher was a guy


The 25 Best Korn Songs

In anticipation of Korn’s 9th studio album, which we’re holding our breath for until it’s released in June, 2010, let’s take a look back at some of the best songs by this band as they continue to add to their catalog of hits.

25 When Will This End?

Take a Look in the Mirror

This is at the end of the album and followed by a cover of Metallica’s One on the same track. That’s the only annoying part about listening to this song off the album… there’s a delay in between the songs.

Best lyrics:
I can’t seem to get away
I feel I’m here so you can play
With my head
There’s nothing I can say
I keep feeling like I’m to blame
When will this end?

24 Play Me

Take a Look in the Mirror

To me, this is Korn’s best collaboration with a rapper, and the reason I am now a Nas fan.

Best lyrics:
Everybody’s an Enemy
telling me lies and it’s killing me
why they all they want to get rid of me
Everybody’s my enemy
Several try to disguise the devil in them
Wanting to get into my cerebellum but I’m
Ready and willing to tell them that I can’t f with them
Exhale so hard it got my chest swelling
like my dick does watching naked women
do sick stuff on my porn collection on television

23 Evolution


The Untitled album didn’t sell well but overall it’s not bad music, and this is one of the few tracks that stands out on its own.

Best lyrics:
And I
I do not dare deny
the basic beast inside
It’s right here, it’s controlling my mind
And why
do I deserve to die?
I’m dominated by, this animal that’s locked up inside

iTunes sales rank: #4

22 Reclaim My Place

Follow the Leader

There’s something similar about the beginning of this song and the beginning of Justin.

Best lyrics:
In the past I was known as a freak.
Had no friends, picked on ’cause I was weak.
Save my ass, I got into this band.
Never thought the band would pick on the man.

21 Justin

Follow the Leader

See above.

Best lyrics:
Fuck all that bullshit!

20 Good God

Life is Peachy

Best lyrics:
You came into my life without a single thing.
I gave in to your ways, which left me with nothing.
I’ve given in to smiles, I fell for all your games.
I wish so bad right now, I hadn’t let you win.

19 Alone I Break


This is also on the list of Gunaxin’s Best Songs About Suicide

Best lyrics:
Now I see the times they change
Leaving doesn’t seem so strange
I am hoping I can find
Where to leave my hurt behind
All the shit I seem to take
All alone I seem to break
I have lived the best I can
Does this make me not a man?

iTunes sales rank: #18

18 Twisted Transistor

See You on the Other Side

Like other Korn songs, this took some getting used to. First I heard it was on Saturday Night Live but didn’t warm up to it until listening to the album several times.

Best lyrics:
Hey you, hey you, Devil’s little sister
Listening to your Twisted Transistor
Hold it between your legs
Turn it up, turn it up
The wind is coming through
Can’t get enough

iTunes sales rank: #3

17 Somebody Someone


Best lyrics:
I need somebody, someone
Can’t somebody help me?
All I need is to be
Loved just for me

16 Open Up

See You on the Other Side

Best lyrics:
Open up now
Head in the sky
Here’s the tongue that
Keeps telling lies
Feelings in my mouth
You breathe in but can’t breathe out

15 Hollow Life


Korn’s look up to the stars and ponder about life song.

Best lyrics:
Is there ever any wonder why we look to the sky?
Search in vain, asking “why?”
All alone, where is God?
Looking down, we don’t know

14 Did My Time

Take a Look in the Mirror

The best part about this song was Angelina Jolie.

Best lyrics:
I am the one who chose my path
I am the one who couldn’t last
I feel the life pulled from me
I feel the anger changing me

iTunes sales rank: #21

Also good on this album: Right Now, When Will This End and Play Me with Nas

13 Throw Me Away

See You on the Other Side

This song sounds much better on the MTV Unplugged album.

Best lyrics:
Don’t let them throw me away
Keep me and I’ll be okay
Skipping a beat but it plays
Don’t let them throw me away
Don’t let them throw me away

iTunes sales rank: #36


12 Last Legal Drug

See You on the Other Side

Best lyrics:
So please, when you die, could you scream
Mercy, mercy for you and me
It’s true what they say, fuckin’ for love
might be the last legal drug
So please, when you cry, let it flow
I might make you stay, let you go
It’s true what they say, fuckin’ for love
might be the last legal drug

11 No One’s There


This is my personal favorite Korn song ever. Watching them play it in concert in 2002 took my breath away.

Best lyrics:
You and me we have no faces
Soon our lives will be erased
Do you think they will remember?
Or will we just be replaced
Oh I wish that I could see
How I wish that I could fly
Far from things that hang above me
To a place where I can cry

10 Coming Undone

See You on the Other Side

Best lyrics:
Keep holding on
When my brain’s tickin’ like a bomb
Guess the black bots have come Again to get me
Sweet bitter words
Unlike nothing I have heard
Sing along mocking bird
You don’t affect me

iTunes sales rank (#1)

9 Trash


Best lyrics:
Your feelings
I can’t help but rape them
I’m sorry, I don’t feel the same
My heart inside is constantly hating
I’m sorry, I just throw you away

iTunes sales rank: #27

8 Blind


Korn’s first big hit. I’ll admit when I heard it, I thought, not bad but didn’t think the band would become as big as it did.

Best lyrics:
This place inside my mind, a place I like to hide
You don’t know the chances. What if I should die?!
A place inside my brain, another kind of pain
You don’t know the chances. I’m so blind!

iTunes sales rank: #7

7 A.D.I.D.A.S.

Life is Peachy

One of the most creative titles I’ve seen.

Best lyrics:
I don’t know your fucking name
So what? Lets fuck!

iTunes sales rank: #9

6 Make Me Bad


This song sounds great on the MTV Unplugged album as Jonathan Davis sings this mixed with the Cure’s In Between Days with Robert Smith.

Best lyrics:
I feel the reason as it’s leaving me, no not again
It’s quite deceiving as I’m feeling, the flesh made me bad

iTunes sales rank: #19

5 Freak on a Leash

Follow the Leader

Amy Lee sings this song beautifully with Davis on the MTV Unplugged album, and the Dante Ross remix also sounds great.

Best lyrics:
Something takes a part of me
You and I were meant to be
A cheap f*** for me to lay
Something takes a part of me
Part of me, part of me
Part of me

iTunes sales rank #2

4 Falling Away From Me


Best lyrics:
Hey, I’m feeling tired
My time is gone today
You flirt with suicide
Sometimes that’s OK
Do what others say
I’m here standing hollow
Falling away from me, falling away from me

iTunes sales rank: #5

3 Here to Stay


Best lyrics:
The hurt inside is fading
This shit gone way too far.
All this time I’ve been waiting
No I can not grieve anymore.
For what’s inside awaking.
*I’m done*, I’m not a whore
You’ve taken everything and oh I can not give anymore.

iTunes sales rank: #15

2 Thoughtless


This song blew me away the first time I heard it and it never ceases to do so. The fade-in at 3:34 of the track followed by the chorus is like an explosive discharge of raw musical power that few bands are capable of doing.

Best lyrics:
Thumbing through the pages of my fantasies,
Pushing all the mercy down, down, down.
I wanna see you try to take a swing at me.
Come on, gonna put you on the ground, ground, ground.

Best lyrics #2:
Oh, all my hate cannot be found.
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming.
So, you can try to tear me down,
Beat me to the ground,
I will see you screaming.

Got the Life

Follow the Leader

Korn’s most in-your-face song that got popular on MTV. Like other Korn songs, this also sounds great with the Josh Abraham remix. I could’ve done without it on the MTV Unplugged disk as just can’t sound good acoustically.

Jonathan Davis says…

“That’s a song baggin’ on myself. How everything’s always handed to me. How I look up to God and don’t want this anymore. Like I want something more out of life than all this. And I’ve got everything I really need but I sometimes don’t like. I don’t know how to explain it. I have to let it sit through the songs more to actually get into what I write. I truly know, really, the meanings of the songs almost. That’s what I’m getting out of it right now.”

Best lyrics:
Hate, something, sometime, someway, something kick off the floor for…
Mine? Something, inside.
I’ll never ever follow.
So give.. me.. some.. thing.. that.. is.. for.. real.
I’ll never ever follow.

iTunes sales rank: #11

Is Def Leppard Cool?

Like other bands, Def Leppard’s career had a rapid ascent, a very high peak despite typical rock n’ roll issues, and a sliding board decent. They started off as a small band with an explosive first couple of albums, took the world’s center stage in the mid 80s, stuck around throughout the 90s with decent albums that only true fans listened to, then jumped the shark in the 2000s with albums so terrible that even their loyal audience found themselves not liking them anymore.

But in music, should the winter of a band’s career be considered when deciding whether they are ultimately cool? You can always say they used to be cool, but that would be like saying Stephen King was a good writer, or Lauren Bacall used to be a good actress. If artists quit while they were ahead, and didn’t ‘damage their legacy’ with late career, watered-down and ‘experimental’ moves, projects or creations, then they would be much easier to define. But very few leave the game on top, and even fewer are good enough to remain relevant after their so-called ‘prime.’

Now back to Def Leppard. Assuming you’re reading this, then you already know something about the band, and I’ll spare you the history. Instead I’ll go album-by-album to show the bell-curve of their career, and at the end you can vote if they can still be considered ‘cool.’

1 On Through the Night 1980

Def Leppard introduced themselves the way young, long-haired rockers should – with raw, in-your-face rock ‘n roll, with that fresh, we’re-here-to-stay spirit. While no true classic songs came off of this album, as a whole, On Through the Night is the type of record that all new rock bands should strive to put out if they really mean business. These young Brits have talent and they’ll make it far in this business.

Best songs: Rock Brigade, Sorrow is a Woman, Satellite, When the Walls Come Tumbling Down, Wasted, Overture.

2 High ‘n’ Dry 1981

Enter “Mutt” Lange, one of the most successful producers of our time. And like many other successful bands with lots of energy and ideas, Def Leppard’s follow up to their first album was relatively quick and didn’t stray too far from the same sounds. But this one had a signature song, Bringin’ on the Heartbreak, that made more people take notice (Mariah Carey covered this song in 2002 – it’s one of the few songs that sounds good in completely different genres of music).

Best songs: Let It Go, Another Hit and Run, Bringin’ on the Heartbreak, Switch 625, Lady Strange, Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes)

3 Pyromania 1983

It was time for Def Lep to really make their move, and Lange led the Brits to super-stardom with Pyromania, which only followed Michael Jackson’s Thriller in sales figures that year. The song Photograph made them the ‘it’ band, and with this album, they made their point: They’re awesome.

Best songs: Photograph, Stagefright, Too Late for Love, Die Hard the Hunter, Foolin’, Rock of Ages, Comin’ Under Fire, Billy’s Got a Gun

4 Hysteria 1987

Then came some real problems. Sure, they had the standard drug-and-alcohol issues like any band did, and had to replace members, but when the drummer, Rick Allen lost an arm in an auto accident, and Mutt Lange decided not to return as producer, it wouldn’t be easy to follow up on Pyromania. Four long years later, with Lange, who decided to come back, Def Leppard released their masterpiece album, Hysteria, with Rick Allen on drums despite having only one arm. Pour Some Sugar on Me came blaring out of the U.S. radios and the album flew off the racks. In all, the record had seven hits. By the end of the 80s, Def Leppard had sold more albums than any other rock band in the decade, even more than Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi.

Best songs: Women, Rocket, Animal, Love Bits, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Armageddon It, Run Riot, Hysteria

5 Adrenalize 1992

Bad habits caught up with guitarist Steve Clark, and he died. The 80’s Glam Wave ended (See Gunaxin’s 80s Glam: When Metal Was Still Fun) as Nirvana and other Seattle-area bands made Grunge mainstream, and 80s bands were no longer cool. However, Def Leppard still managed to put out an album that people bought, as Let’s Get Rocked hit the charts, followed by five other hits. Though it’s a good album overall, it had the potential to fall flat considering this genre of music was on the decline.

Best songs: Let’s Get Rocked, Heaven Is, Make Love Like a Man, Tonight, White Lightning, Personal Property, Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad

6 Retro Active 1993

A compilation of B-sides and previously unreleased tracks, Retro Active wasn’t supposed to be a big hit, but it still sold more than 3 million copies as Two Steps Behind was featured in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Last Action Hero. True fans were still listening.

Best songs: Desert Song, Two Steps Behind, She’s Too Tough, Miss You in a Heartbeat, From the Inside, Ring of Fire, I Wanna Be Your Hero

7 Vault: Greatest Hits 1995

Typically a sign that a band is way past its prime, Def Leppard released a greatest hits album, with a new song, When Love & Hate Collide. Like with many bands, those who bought this album were mostly the ones who had previously liked Def Leppard but never bought their music before. It sold 8 million copies.

Best song: When Love & Hate Collide

8 Slang 1996

It’s the late career experimental time. Def Leppard tossed aside their traditional sound and tried new things. It resulted in an album that only cult followers would purchase. Though it contained awful songs like the title track, and Breathe a Sigh which was supposed to sound like a Boys II Men track, songs like Pearl of Euphoria became favorites that few had discovered, and lyric-lovers found poetry to appreciate in Where Does Love Go When it Dies.

Best songs: Truth?, Turn to Dust, Blood Runs Cold, Where Does Love Go When It Dies, Pearl of Euphoria

9 Euphoria 1999

Def Leppard returned to their classic sound and reunited with Mutt Lange. Promises hit the air and this would have been one of their biggest hits had it been released ten years earlier. The album had many other good songs but no one other than the true fans even bothered to listen.

Best songs: Demolition Man, Promises, Goodbye, Paper Sun, To Be Alive, Guilty, Day After Day, Kings of Obivion

10 X 2002

Def Leppard suddenly decided to be a pop band, and though fans still showed up for their concerts, the album was not a success.

Best songs: Now

11 Yeah! 2006

Still touring, Def Leppard released an all-covers album which paid homage to classic rock songs of their childhood, by bands such as Blondie, The Kinks, Sweet, ELO, and Badfinger among others. The problem with this album was that many fans who grew up with them in the 80s didn’t really know these 70s songs, nor did they like them. In fact, most of them outright sucked. David Essex’s Rock On was okay, but hardly anything worth running out and buying.

Best songs: Rock On, Stay With Me

12 Songs from the Sparkle Lounge 2008

Okay, a new studio album, and the true fans are willing to see what these fellas have up their sleeve. The name itself was a huge turnoff, but we gave it a listen. The highlight? A song called Nine Lives which featured country singer Tim McGraw. Joe Elliot sings one of the lines in the song is “Have you lost your touch?” Yes Def Leppard, you have.

Best songs: N/A

So, as you can see, like many other bands, Def Leppard peaked, then went downhill. But more importantly, we need to decide, once and for all, if this band, ultimately, is cool. My vote is yes, despite some displeasure. After all, Fonzie is cool, but he was the one who literally jumped the shark which coined the phrase. So, it’s now up to you, the loyal Gunaxin audience, to decide.

Memorable Music Moments in Movies

All films, even relatively bad ones, have moments that capture the audience’s attention, but it’s often the supporting music that separates great scenes from the truly unforgettable. And then there is the music that becomes even more recognizable than the scene – or film – itself.

With music that is not composed specifically with the film in mind, the director has an advantage in enhancing a scene because the track can be selected, purchased, and strategically placed. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but not the same as composers orchestrating that perfect combination of notes specifically for an unforgettable moment. Musicals, too, have a different kind of advantage, so for this list we’ll focus on only single tracks from original scores that enhance great film moments. At the bottom I’ll list some memorable pre-recorded, or covered instrumental music used in film (partly to erase thoughts that the music was actually recorded with the film in mind).

Also, there are many great original scores from start to finish that may not be on this list, because no track elevated itself to a much broader audience the way the ones below do. Many of these can be found on Gunaxin’s Best Original Film Scores Ever article, with some overlap. Gladiator is my all-time favorite, and loved by many, but most of Hans Zimmer’s tracks aren’t exactly recognizable by most people when heard out of context of the film. Now onto the list:

Back to the Future

Back to the Future (Alan Silvestri, 1985)

This brilliant theme sounds like something John Williams would have composed, but fortunately Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis went with Silvestri, who made perhaps the best score of his life. Buy from Amazon


Axel F

Beverly Hills Cop (Harold Faltermeyer, 1984)

Faltermeyer was a two-trick pony in the 80s. He’s best known for this track (Eddie Murphy’s personal theme music), and the Top Gun Anthem. These two tracks were so good we thought we had another legendary composer in the making. Unfortunately, more than two decades later, he’s still best known for these two. They’re great, though. Buy from Amazon


Instrumentals of “As Time Goes By”

Casablanca (Max Steiner, 1942)

Since 1999, “As Time Goes By” has been used as the opening theme for Warner Bros. films. The first film to adopt this new theme was Lethal Weapon 4. A truncated version of the theme debuted in 2003 as the closing logo for Warner Bros. Television.

Chariots of Fire (aka Titles)

Chariots of Fire (Vangelis, 1981)

Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire is the soundtrack to every slow-motion burst of triumph. The odd thing about it was it used that typical 80’s synthesizer sound for a film based in the 20s. This music, I believe, became more famous than the film itself. Buy from Amazon


The Appearance of the Visitors

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (John Williams, 1977)

Here’s a Williams score that, to me, doesn’t rise anywhere near his best, but the music played when the aliens and humans communicate didn’t need to be overly complex to make its point or ingrain itself in our heads. In fact, this is perhaps the only track on this list that the music is vital to the story.
Somewhere in this track is an interpolation of “When You Wish Upon A Star” which wasn’t written by Williams and is best known from Walt Disney’s PinocchioBuy from Amazon


Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye

E.T. ( John Williams, 1982)

Elliot and E.T. go cruising past the moon. Truly one of the most magical movie moments ever. Buy from Amazon


Charging Fort Wagner

Glory (James Horner and the Boys Choir of Harlem, 1989)

Certainly some of the best original score battle music ever composed. Buy from Amazon


Il Buono, Il Cattivo, Il Brutto (The Good, The Bad And The Ugly) (Main Title)

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Ennio Morricone, 1966)

Duels are so cool. We need to start having those again. Buy from Amazon


L’Estasi Dell’oro (The Ecstasy Of Gold)

Before I even saw the film, I fell in love with this track when I heard it played as a prelude at a Metallica concert.



“The Raiders March” (a.k.a. “Indiana Jones Theme”)

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (John Williams, 1981)

Personally, I prefer the The Temple Of Doom – Parade Of The Slave Children but the main theme is iconic, even in sequels where Indy survives a nuclear blast in a fridge and later encounters aliens. Buy from Amazon


James Bond Theme

Dr. No, (Monty Norman, 1962)

For those of you who didn’t know, there is a feud between John Barry and Monty Norman over who wrote this, and the courts credit Norman, who has been collecting royalties on it since 1962. Buy from Amazon


Jaws – Theme

Jaws (John Williams, 1975)

Though it won the Oscar, the Jaws score as a whole is only really enjoyable while watching the film (as opposed to playing it on the stereo). But Williams’ two-note shark attack theme has embedded itself into pop culture and won’t soon be forgotten. It’s Williams and Spielberg’s answer to Herrmann and Hitchcock’s murder music in PsychoBuy from Amazon


Theme from Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (John Williams, 1993)

I hear ya saying, “So what I’m learning from this article is that John Williams makes good music. DUHHH!” Well, yeah, he’s got a knack for that just as Spielberg’s got a knack for making HIGH GROSSING FILMS THAT EVERYONE SEES AND RECOGNIZES AND ENJOYS. Buy from Amazon


The Kiss

Last of the Mohicans (Trevor Jones, 1992)

I might think this is more well-known than it actually is, but the score is loved and this tune stands above them all. It strikes anyone who hears it. I bet that babies have been conceived with track No. 3 of this soundtrack blaring on the stereo. Buy from Amazon


The White Tree (aka Lighting of the Beacons)

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Howard Shore, 2003)

There is no shortage of superb tracks throughout The Lord of the Rings films, but the most exemplifying is called “The White Tree” on the original score, and “Lighting of the Beacons” on the the complete recordings. Actually, you need to fast-forward on each of those tracks to get to the part where the camera swoops across Middle Earth, from Gonder to Rohan, as Shore’s Middle Earth anthem delights classical music lovers, even those who find J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories to be nonsense.

Or, you can watch it here in HD, with the symphony orchestra playing:

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy (John Barry, 1969)

The anthem for all male cowboy prostitutes in New York. Buy from Amazon



The Piano (Michael Nyman, 1993)

I actually became familiar with this track on the Pure Moods CD and realized later that it was from The Piano. Good stuff. Too bad the movie was such fluff. Buy from Amazon



Psycho (Bernard Herrmann, 1960)

Perhaps the biggest no-brainer on the list. The rest of the score is good, too. But I’d say of all the music on this list, this track is perhaps the most important for the enhancement of its scene than any other. Buy from Amazon


Pink Panther

Pink Panther, (Henry Mancini 1963)

I’d be willing to bet that more people know this music than have seen the original film. Buy from Amazon


Requiem for a Dream (Main Theme)

Requiem for a Dream (Clint Mansell, 2000)

There are many fans of this score, which was overlooked at the Oscars. I’m not particularly moved by it at all, but must acknowledge that its main theme is often played outside of the film, in trailers for other films, and even at sporting events. I heard it about 12 times at a Maryland-James Madison football game a couple of weeks ago. Buy from Amazon


Gonna Fly Now

Rocky (Bill Conti, 1976)

I’m sure this sounded great in the 70s but today I find this track to be cheesy. However, I can’t deny its recognition and integration into pop culture. Buy from Amazon



Rocky II (Bill Conti, 1979)

Conti made another memorable theme for Rocky II, and with songs by Survivor, James Brown and others, the music in most of the Rocky films rockedBuy from Amazon


Theme from Shaft

Shaft (Isaac Hayes, 1971)

Gotta admit I’m not sure which particular instrumental track stands above the rest for this film, and technically the Theme from Shaft is a song, but we’ll bend the rules here a bit (as we did earlier with “As Time Goes By”) because most of that song is instrumental and still recognized and enjoyed to this day. Hayes won the Oscar for Best Song and was nominated for Best Original Score. Buy from Amazon


Main Title-Rebel Blockade Runner

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (John Williams, 1977)

While the 20th Century Fox theme (Alfred Newman, 1954) is played as a prefix to many Fox films, hearing it for the past 30-plus years triggers our collective anticipation, or even hope, that the Rebel Blockade Runner music is to follow. As for the main Star Wars theme, I believe it will be recognized even hundreds of years from now. Buy from Amazon

Star Wars: The Throne Room-End Title

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (John Williams, 1977)
The beginning of this sounds like a wedding march.

The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (John Williams, 1980)

The theme song in the Bush White House. Buy from Amazon

Duel of the Fates

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (John Williams, 1999)

As disappointment set in after longtime fans saw this film, we continued to blare what’s nicknamed ‘Darth Maul’s Theme’ on the speakers. Buy from Amazon


Superman – Prelude And Main Title March

Superman (John Williams, 1978)

Here’s something to ponder. If Williams switched the Star Wars main theme music for the Superman main theme music, would the world be any different? Buy from Amazon


Hymn to the Sea

Titanic (James Horner, 1997)

This is an extraordinarily cheesy soundtrack, with its most memorable sounds anchored by the same riffs of the power-ballad My Heart Will Go On that Horner also wrote. But Titanic is the highest-grossing movie of all time, and Horner ain’t a hack, so I’m presuming that this track, the score’s most downloaded on ITunes (behind Celine Dion’s song, of course) is indeed recognized and enjoyed by many music lovers. If this isn’t the right track, forgive me, I can’t finish listening to it without wanting to puke. Buy from Amazon

An interesting story, from know-it-all Wikipedia:

At first, [director James] Cameron did not want a song sung over the film’s ending credits, but Horner disagreed. Without telling Cameron, he went ahead and wrote the song anyway, and recorded Dion singing it. Cameron changed his mind when Horner presented the song to him. My Heart Will Go On became a worldwide smash hit, going to the top of the music charts around the world. My Heart Will Go On also ended up winning the 1998 Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.


Top Gun Anthem

Top Gun (Harold Faltermeyer. 1986)

The entire Top Gun soundtrack was great, particularly “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, but Faltermeyer’s anthem to me is still the theme music that should be played whenever Tom Cruise enters a room. Buy from Amazon


Great Pre-Recorded Instrumental Music in Movies

For those of you who don’t know the difference, the music below was originally composed not with the film in mind, but was eventually used in the film. That’s different than a composer making music specifically for the film, with scene-by-scene guidance for each track, as listed above. Some tracks below were written by others, and then re-orchestrated by the film’s composer, thus disqualifying it from being ‘original.’ There are many more examples, but these particular tracks are certainly used extremely well in a feature film.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Duh… duh… duh… DUH DUH… bum bum bum bum bum, bum bum bum bum bum. Buy from Amazon




You rock, Wolfgang Mozart. Buy from Amazon


Ride of the Valkyries

Apocalypse Now

When I hear this Wagner music I always think of vikings for some reason. Buy from Amazon


Colonel Bogey March

Bridge on the River Kwai

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Mission Impossible Main Theme

Mission Impossible

The music in the movie was based on the music in the television series.



The Entertainer

The Sting


O Fortuna



Dueling Banjos


In my opinion, one of the most fun instrumentals in a movie, ever. The song had been composed in 1955 by Arthur Smith, and he sued for royalties, and won, after the film was released.


Love Theme from The Godfather

The Godfather

An observant reader pointed out to me that Nino Rota’s score was removed at the last minute from the list of 1973 Academy Award nominees when it was discovered that he had used the theme in Eduardo De Filippo’s 1958 comedy Fortunella. The melody was the same as the ‘Love Theme from The Godfather,’ and for that reason was deemed ineligible for an Oscar. Despite this, The Godfather Part II won a 1974 Oscar for Best Original Score, although it featured the same love theme that made the 1972 score ineligible. Buy from Amazon


Layla (Derek and the Dominos)


Martin Scorsese used the instrumental part of the Clapton song to enhance this classic scene.


Immortal Beloved

You also rock, Beethoven.

Adagio for Strings

Platoon, Samuel Barber


Pulp Fiction

No film score was composed for Pulp Fiction, with Quentin Tarantino instead using an eclectic assortment of surf music, rock and roll, soul, and pop songs. Dick Dale’s rendition of “Misirlou” plays during the opening credits.


Star Trek – Main Title

Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Jerry Goldsmith

Another question to ponder. If this music was switched with main theme in Star Wars, would the world be any different?