Best Original Song – 1980

Official Nominations: Fame. 9 to 5. On The Road Again. Out Here On My Own. People Alone.

The 1980s was the decade when movie songs became monsters – every hit movie seemed to have a hit song, and those songs had a habit of standing entirely on their own, while also acting as an integral part of the movie and the time. What’s more, this is really when those songs began to stand the test of time and many are still very popular today, whether in a silly ironic sense or otherwise. In this category this year, we have three songs which are generally recognised as classics at what they do – even if you don’t like them. These are songs that everyone knows, and at lesat two of them you’ll know they’re from a movie. The official winner is the title track from Fame – if you’ve followed my posts then you know one of my biggest criticisms of movie musicals is that the songs are crap. Fame as a song, is great. I’m not a fan of the movie, but you can’t deny the energetic, fist-pumping, iconic nature of the song. It has one of the most famous pre-chorus and chorus sections of any movie song, and it obviously fits the story of the film.

You can add pretty much the same comments for 9 to 5 – it’s a song which has taken on a life of its own outside of movies – any time work is getting you down you’ll probably start singing it. The final biggie is Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again – a song I knew long before I was aware it was written specifically for a movie. In fact, I knew it from its appearances in other movies before I knew it was made for Honeysuckle Rose. There’s no point in me saying anymore about it – you already know it. Out Here On My Own is another song from the Fame soundtrack, a hit in its own right, but a much softer ballad when compared to the bombastic title track. It does feel more like a musical song though, with its lack of a chorus and big belted vocals.

The last song you probably won’t know unless you’re a big fan of the film. The Competition is a little known music-based movie (as opposed to a musical) starring Richard Dreyfuss as a gifted but disillusioned pianist who knows he will likely have to get a job as a piano teacher rather than be a star. People Alone is the main love theme of the movie, a nice enough ballad but it’s not exactly as memorable as the three front-runners in this category.

My Winner: Fame

Fame (Irene Cara song) - Wikipedia

My Nominations: Fame. 9 to 5. On The Road Again. Lead The Way. Any Way You Want It. Flash’s Theme.

The three big lads make it to my list – part of me would love to have The Blues Brothers here, but even though they are original recordings for the movie, they are still covers – no dice. I’m Alright is one of the several songs Kenny Loggins recorded for Caddyshack – if there’s any one name synonymous with 80s movie songs, then it’s Kenny Loggins. However, it is not one of his best or most recognizable so I’m picking Lead The Way instead, a forgotten ballad deserving of rediscovery. Any Way You Want It is a terrific, cheesy, Journey song – it wasn’t written specifically for Caddyshack, but I’m pretty sure that is the first film it appeared in so that’s good enough for me. If you needed any further proof of this being the start of the trend which saw  iconic movie songs outliving the movies themselves – Queen unleashed Flash upon the world. It’s a very simple song – basically a repeated chorus, a bunch of sound effects, and a little additional melodic bridge to bring it all together – yet everyone knows it today – is it possible to hear the word ‘flash’ without immediately wanting to shout ‘AH-AAAHH’?

My Winner: Fame

Let us know your winner in the comments!

One thought on “Best Original Song – 1980

  1. John Charet June 17, 2021 / 4:13 am

    Great post 🙂 Any of these choices are great 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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