Top 5 Lesser Known Movie Songs Of All Time
Some of our favorite songs also come from our favorite movies. But while much ink has been spilled on soundtracks and movie scenes scored with iconic songs, we’ve decided to highlight the songs not only made specifically for a movie—but the ones that were actually born in the film.
1. “i2i,” A Goofy Movie (1995)
When the meeting of tasteless Tumblrites was convened to canonize the films of Disney Animation Studios’ “golden age,” they left out A Goofy Movie for some reason. We don’t hold it against our colleagues, they’re free to be wrong about things—but we maintain that not only should it be at the top of the list, there should be a 10-foot gap, at minimum, between it and the next best Disney song. Behind maybe “The Gospel Truth,” “i2i” is a power-pop ballad sung by Tevin Campbell (with a call-and-answer breakdown featuring Rosie Gaines) and performed by a character that was originally intended for Bobby Brown.
2. “Mad About Me,” Star Wars: Episode IV (1977)
In what galaxy is Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes vs. the Max Rebo Band even a debate? Not in ours, and definitely not in the one far, far away. The all-Bith band killed their cantina gig in Episode IV with a rousing rendition of “Mad About Me,” a.k.a. “Cantina Band.” The group’s performance of the swing-inspired song, which allowed composer John Williams to show off his jazz—er, jizz expertise, was so irrepressible that even an amputation could only briefly bring down the mood.
3. “Black Sheep,” Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
“Black Sheep,” originally recorded in the sessions for their 2009 album Fantasies but left on the cutting room floor because the band felt it sounded less like Metric and more like someone trying to be Metric … which, you know, works out just fine here. Both versions—the one Larson sings in the film and the one Haines sings for the soundtrack—stomp and sneer, all sinuous synths slinking around writhing bass lines, all stabbing riffs riding atop high hats and handclaps. In the sort of fictional universe where a rock band can still become international stars, “Black Sheep” makes it easy to believe the Clash at Demonhead would get there: It’s dark and dance-y, slick and sexy, and just plain catchy as hell.
4. “That Thing You Do!” That Thing You Do! (1996)
For That Thing You Do!, the songwriter had to thread a few additional needles: It had to sound like it came from a group of teenagers from western Pennsylvania in 1964. It had to work with the tempo slowed down. And unlike A Star Is Born, a movie about two prolific artists, That Thing You Do! was the story of a one-hit wonder: If the audience didn’t love the titular single each of the 15 times they heard it over 108 minutes, Tom Hanks’s directorial debut would’ve fizzled out in the high school gym. “That Thing You Do” is a meaty but compact pop-rock earworm that not only carried the film to a warm critical reception but became a mainstream radio hit in real life as well.
5. “Whoop That Trick,” Hustle & Flow (2005)
The most famous song from Hustle and Flow is undoubtedly “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” the song that won Three 6 Mafia an Oscar and put Taraji P. Henson on a path to stardom. But any viewer would know which song was most likely to turn Memphis pimp turned rapper DJay into a star in the universe of the movie: It’s “Whoop That Trick,” the very first song he tries to record. DJay has spent a lifetime writing bars on a notepad, but with a microphone in his face, he’s apprehensive. He needs Shelby, the “light-skinned” pianist, who crafts a beat mean enough to show up on your grandmother’s doorstep with an aluminum baseball bat. Within a few minutes, they’ve created something impossible to hear without yelling.