Best Original Songs from the Movies: A Personal Choice

After Elton John recently won his second Oscar for best original song (‘I’m Gonna Love Me Again‘ – no ego there then Reg), I was spurred to make a Top Ten of my personal favourite (albeit eccentric) songs either especially composed for the movies – or used for the first time as a tune in a motion picture (ref Yellow Submarine). Hopefully sufficiently different from the usual music lists going the rounds at awards season. Maybe some of you caught yesterday’s bubblegum pop music selections post.


As with that list, many of these will tend to be from the 60s, 70s and a few from the 80s, which could prove that sod-all decent original movie songs were composed after – or that I don’t get out much.


Without further adieu, in no particular order:



One From the Heart (1982): Tom Waits and Crystal Gale sing the title song from Francis Ford Coppola’s glorious musical folly:

Tom Waits - This One's From The Heart


The Selfish Giant (1969): The King’s Singers tune from the Canadian short film adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s sad tale:

Seflish Giant - Building a Wall


Cat People (1982): Bowie and Moroder kick some serious ass. The song of course was also used to great effect by Tarantino in Inglorious Basterds (2009):


Yellow Submarine (1968): Lennon puts some welly into this previously unreleased tune that ended up in the picture:

Hey Bulldog (Remastered 2009)


The Long Goodbye (1973): John Williams’ clever pastiche of film noir themes:

John Williams | The Long Goodbye (1973) | Jack Sheldon


The Wicker Man (1973): Paul Giovanni’s lyrical song from the cult folk-horror movie.

Cut some capers, man!‘ as Lord Summerisle (Christoper Lee) memorably enjoins his victim-to-be Sgt Howie (Edward Woodward):

The Wicker Man - Corn Rigs - Paul Giovanni

Procession The Wicker Man 1973


Performance (1970): Mick Jagger lets loose with this belter from the seminal psychedelic gangster flick:

Mick Jagger - Memo from Turner


Bedazzled (1967): Dudley Moore goes full PJ Proby in this fitfully funny 60s comedy:

Love Me - Stanley Moon (fixed)


The Thomas Crown Affair (1968): Fey? yes, but still haunting, Noel (son of Rex) Harrison’s melancholy song from the Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway flick

Glider flying 'Windmills Of Your Mind' film 'The Thomas Crown Affair' 1968


Shaft (1971): Best til last? never bettered IMO, take it away, Chef:

Shaft (1971) - Opening Credit

Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'