Usually when I talk about music around these parts, it's with an eye on the movies. But even though most of my inspirations come from movies -- with the music as a vital, but supporting player -- today I thought I would try to do things a little differently. Which is why today is all about music that was inspired by the movies.
Pop music is littered with movie references, and sometimes the references are a little more obscure, as is the case with the genesis of Bob Seger's classic Night Moves. Legend has it that the idea for the song was born as Seger walked out of the theater for George Lucas' American Graffiti and he realized that he had his own stories of a misspent youth to share. But other inspirations can be a little more obvious, like with Jay Z's tribute to Frank Lucas and American Gangster with his album of the same name.
We all know inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places (yes, even from within darkened movie theaters), and so here are five songs that could never have existed without a little inspiration from the silver screen.
Eyes Without a Face By Billy Idol
"Got no human grace your eyes without a face. Such a human waste your eyes without a face."
I was only 9 years old when this song was first released, and at the time I didn't have a clue what it was about (to be fair, I was more of a Rebel Yell girl). But as I grew up and Mr. Idol seemed to fade into obscurity, I came across the 1959 film of the same name by Georges Franju about an obsessed surgeon and suddenly it all clicked. The tale of a man trying to restore his disfigured daughter with the help of an unwilling skin donor may not sound like what Mr. Idol was trying to get at, but the theme of obsession and a willing blindness to reality is something that both the film and the song have in common.
Bad Company by Bad Company
"Rebel souls, deserters we all called"
If I were a less forgiving person I would say that 70's rock band Bad Company wasn't very creative when it came to naming conventions. Not only did they name their band after the 1972 'Acid Western' of the same name starring Jeff Bridges and Barry Brown, they named a whole album and a single after it (guess they really liked the movie, huh?). The lyrics are a direct reference to the drama about two Civil War deserters making their way in the rough and tumble frontier, and it created a great tradition of arena rock in the Wild West. Because without Bad Company there would never have been Wanted:Dead or Alive, and that would be a damn shame.
Bladerunner (I Think I Love You) by Bastian
"Baby you're a Replicant, maybe I am too..."
I came across this pulsing disco number a few years ago when a friend introduced me to it. But even though the last thing you would ever attribute to Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece is the urge to get down, that's exactly what happens when you hear Bastian's 2004 dance track inspired by the ill-fated love of Deckard and Rachel. .
Safe From Harm by Massive Attack
"Gunmen and maniacs, all will feature on the freakshow and I can't do nothing 'bout that, no but if you hurt what's mine, I'll sure as hell retaliate"
If you're the type of person who likes to read album liner notes, then it won't come as a surprise to see a song from the trip-hop group's album Blue Lines on the list. The group credited Scorsese's vigilante drama Taxi Driver as an influence, and this tune in particular brings Mr. Bickle to mind when you get a look at the lyrics.
Blue Magic by Jay Z
"I ain't talkin' about it, I'm livin' it."
The hip-hop mogul and legend was so inspired by Ridley Scott's tale of drug king-pin Frank Lucas that he made a whole album about it. You could even see the change in Jay Z himself, as the oversized jeans and Hummers were starting to be replaced with Brooks Brothers suits and Rolls Royce Phantoms. But it was the persona of the quiet and reserved tyrant controlling it all from behind the scenes that seemed to lead him into a new phase -- and more importantly, to create one of the best albums of his career. What other famous songs or albums were inspired by movies?