Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: The Best of John Hughes

My generation is every bit as annoying about John Hughes movies as the Baby Boomers are about all of their Age Of Aquarius stuff, and with good reason.  Hughes was a prolific screenwriter whose career spanned thirty years, with the peak of his fame hitting during my teen angst years.

From 1984 to 1988 Hughes wrote ten movies and directed six, among them the finest, most on-point teen comedies ever made.

Part of what made a John Hughes movie great was the soundtrack.  In some cases song and movie have become so intertwined it’s hard to think of one without the other — Yello’s “Oh Yeah” and Ferris Bueller, for example, or “Don’t You Forget About Me” and The Breakfast Club.

So here we go, some favorite musical moments from some favorite John Hughes pictures:

“If You Were Here,” Thompson Twins.  From Sixteen Candles.  Shut up, I am not crying.  I had onions for lunch.  On a dirty plate.

“We Are Not Alone,” Karla DeVito.  Look, the nod for The Breakfast Club obviously goes to Simple Minds so let’s move on.  Not really a fan of this song, but it evokes both the eighties dance montage and the Molly Ringwald dance.  Come on!

“Tenderness,” General Public.  Sure, Oingo Boingo’s  “Weird Science” is more closely associated with the film of the same name, but I went with “Tenderness” because Hughes liked it enough to use it in two films.  Although not on the soundtrack of Sixteen Candles you’ll hear it there, too.

Full disclosure:  I absolutely hated this song when it came out.  I still don’t think I’m over Dave and Ranking Roger breaking up The English Beat.

“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” The Dream Academy.  Another example of Hughes going to the well more than once.  He  later used The Smiths’ original version in Pretty In Pink, but this instrumental version from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is amazing, as is the scene it accompanies.

For Pretty In Pink should we go with the Psychedelic Furs title cut or OMD’s “If You Leave”?  Neither, let’s go for “Bring On the Dancing Horses” from Echo and the Bunnymen.

“The Hardest Walk,” The Jesus and Mary Chain.  What?  A movie about an angst-ridden teen artist and the cute little blond who loves him?  I’ll take two, please.  Here’s a cut from Some Kind Of Wonderful, the last great John Hughes teen epic, even if he didn’t direct it.

All right, let’s hear it.  Lay on me your favorites from Mr. Mom, Vacation, and Baby’s Day Out.  I’m listening.

10 replies »

  1. The John Hughes soundtracks were perfect. I liked the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack, because it was definitely an homage to a John Hughes soundtrack. Forever Young by Alphaville and The Promise by When in Rome…pure Hughes vibes. And of course we also get Canned Heat by Jamiroquai!


  2. Its ironic how Michael Schoefflings real life ended up a lot like Jakes.
    Cant think of any songs that stood out from Mr. Mom or the others but Hughes was magical in bringing b-sides (when b-sides were almost taboo) to the mainstream.


  3. Reblogged this on Videological Blog and commented:
    Stumbled on this blog entry about John Hughes and music in his films…awesome archive…and I have to add “Back in Babys Arms” from the scene with Steve Martin and John Candy in bed….the best!!!!


  4. ok, where in the movie 16 candles is “Tenderness”? I was listening to the entire movie and never heard it. This is what I get for the songlist/scenes, and I missed it somewhere, it must be very transient.

    1. “Snowballed” AC/DC (Bakers’ upstairs hallway)
    2. “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” Darlene Love (Ginny’s room)
    3. “Love of the Common People” Performed by Paul Young (Sam’s room)
    4. “Kajagoogoo” Kajagoogoo (main titles)
    5. “Happy Birthday” Altered Images (classroom)
    6. “Kazooed on Klassics” Temple City Kazoo Orch (bus)
    7. “Dragnet” Ray Anthony (Farmer Ted bus)
    8. “Twilight Zone Theme” (grandparents Sam’s room)
    9. “Rumours in the Air” Night Ranger (kitchen Mike’s headphones
    — “Today I Met the Boy reprise” Darlene Love (Ginny’s room w/ Sam)
    — “Dance Music” score (Sam & Randy enter dance)
    10. “Peter Gunn” Ray Anthony (geeks at the dance)
    11. “True” Spandau Ballet (Jake & Caroline)
    12. “Wild Sex” Oingo Boingo (Farmer Ted & Sam)
    13. “Little Bitch” Specials (Duk Dong & Lumberjack Girl)
    14. “Growing Pains” Tim Finn (Caroline & Sam)
    15. “When It Started to Begin” Nick Heyward (Farmer Ted & Sam’s friends)
    16. “Lenny” Stevie Ray Vaughan (Farmer Ted & Sam autoshop)
    17. “Whistle Down the Wind” Nick Heyward (Caroline & Jake)
    18. “Ring Me Up” Divinyls (Jake & Sam coatroom)
    19. “Geek Boogie” Ira Newborn & the Geeks (Sam, Dong, Lumberjack car)
    20. “Godfather Love Theme” Carlo Savina (Ricecheks & Bakers)
    21. “Turning Japanese” Vapors (Sam & Dong)
    22. “Rev-Up” Revillos (party intro)
    23. “Farmer John” Premiers (Jake yearbook)
    24. “Hang Up the Phone” Annie Golden (geeks/Jake phonecall)
    25. “Gloria” Patti Smith (Caroline’s haircut)
    — “Blues” score music (cassette player)
    26. “Theme from New York, New York” Frank Sinatra (Farmer Ted & Jake)
    27. “Young Guns” Wham! (Farmer Ted & Caroline)
    — “Geek Boogie reprise” Ira Newborn & the Geeks (geeks in the trunk)
    28. “Rebel Yell” Billy Idol (Farmer Ted & Caroline Rolls Royce)
    29. “Big Band Swing Music” score (Farmer Ted, geeks & Caroline)
    30. “Lohengrin Wedding March” Bavarian Staatsoper (Bakers’ morning)
    35. “Young Americans” David Bowie (wedding cars)
    — “DooWop Close Shave” score (Caroline & Farmer Ted)
    37. “If You Were Here” Thompson Twins (Sam & Jake)
    38. “16 Candles” Stray Cats (end titles)

    “Tenderness” General Public is where?


  5. Hey I just watched the credits, and the songs are listed in the order they appear on the movie, so I thought, ok great, I’ll find Tenderness. Guess what, it’s not listed. It couldn’t have been in the movie if it’s not in the credits, right?

    I knew I wasn’t crazy.


  6. True, I’ve seen numerous variations of “Sixteen Candles” (when first released in theaters, then on VHS, where a few songs were replaced due to licensing, then on the first DVD with those same songs replaced and finally the Blu-Ray with the original theatrical soundtrack.) “Tenderness” DOES not appear on any release of “Sixteen Candles.” I don’t know why that myth is perpetuated, I think Wikipedia is to blame.


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