The music we listen to in movies make up very much of the atmosphere of the picture. It is a meta-message meant to hit right into the viewer’s subconscious. It makes us cry, it makes us laugh, and music also adds extra-context and meaning to what is being seen on the screen. But some songs are definitely overused, there’s no doubt about that. This post is meant to walk you through the 6 most overused movie songs of all time.
1. Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
This starts singing every time the weirdo character gets the girl. This song was already featured in movies like The Change-up, Marmaduke, The Bounty Hunter, Frankie and Alice, Blades of Glory, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Something’s Gotta Give, Crossroads, High Fidelity, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Love Stinks, The Taking of Beverly Hills, Nine Months. I reckon originality at its peak.
2. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong or other more recent adaptations
This song might as well be used on both sad and pathetic situations, but on happy and emotional ones as well. It’s a guaranteed jackpot.
It was used in movies such as: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, W, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Madagascar, Son of the Mask, Going the Distance, Freaky Friday, What a Girl Wants, Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black?Twelve Monkeys, Michael, Good Morning, Vietnam, Bowling for Columbine, Women Talking Dirty. And it was also used in over 136 TV appearances. But I think this figure is way bigger.
3. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
This has become such a kitschy movie song that it turned into an actual film starring Reese Witherspoon, a film that obviously has the same title as the song, and it features this exact song as its musical theme, so that we really become hopelessly fed up with it.
You can also listen to it in other pictures like: Despicable Me, The Girl Next Door, Sahara, An American Carol, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sweet Home Alabama, 8 Mile, Excess Baggage, Con Air, To Die For, Crimson Tide, Forrest Gump, Outside Providence. Make sure to buy all the soundtracks as well.
4. Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
This song has about the same faith as the one above. It’s got its own movie named after it, the only difference being that the movie is about pandas, so you’d have to add them to the title as well.
So here they are: Kung Fu Panda, Rush Hour 3, Epic Movie, Roll Bounce, Child Star, Daddy Daycare, City of God, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, I’m Gonna Git you Sucka.
5. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
This song is heard every time there’s a plan to be followed, and the protagonists are on their way to its fulfillment. It’s like a “the best is yet to come” universal theme. Life is hard, but wonderful and through repeated struggles, we manage to stay alive.
Sing along to it in The Bounty Hunter, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Meet Dave, Young at Heart, Chicken Little, Madagascar, Strange Bedfellows, Baby Geniuses, A Night at the Roxbury, Mars Attacks!, Swingers, Grumpier Old Men, Let it be Me, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Mr. Saturday Night, Supercop, Honey I Blew up the Kid, Cadillac Man, Look Who’s Talking.
6. Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version
It’s a very touching song indeed, but come on now, we’ve listened to it too many times. Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz version was very impressive indeed, but we should’ve moved on a long time ago.
This universal anthem was used in the following movies so far: 9, Fred Claus, Little Nicky, Made in America, Finding Forrester, Alpha Dog, Milk, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, 50 First Dates, You’ve Got Mail, Meet Joe Black, Contact, Face/Off, Selena, One Fine Day, Unconditional Love, Sleepless in Seattle, Made in America, International Velvet, Pink Panther Strikes Again, Dr. Phibes Rises Again and probably thousands of TV shows or documentaries. Somewhere over the rainbow is where filmmakers should find their musical inspiration.