The Top 10 Worst Original Songs Written for Movies

September 2nd, 2009 by The Staff in Film, Music, Top 10

We’ve seen it before, marketing execs forcing bands of the moment to put their songs in the next big blockbuster soundtrack. What’s even more interesting (or awful) are the songs that incorporate thematic elements of the movie into their lyrics and sound. Sometimes it unexpectedly works out (see Prince’s Batman soundtrack…okay, minus the Batdance.) But more often than not, the audience gets the shit end of the deal (see anything by Tangerine Dream.) Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ll definitely get stuck in your head. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the top ten worst original songs written for movies:



10. Howard The Duck (Howard The Duck)

Performed by “Cherry Bomb” (Lea Thompson, Holly Robinson Peete (as Holly Robinson), Dominique Davalos, Liz Sagal, Thomas Dolby and George Clinton) – 1986

From George Lucas’ most prolific film, comes an almost equally memorable song. Upon one listen, you’ll realize why anthropomorphic-duck on human love had thus far been forbidden; because it apparently inspires heinous ear-poison like this. I can picture Cherry Bomb’s song-writing session now: “Hey Beverly, what’s going on in your life these days?” “Oh not much. Wait, I am banging a three and a half foot tall duck from another dimension.” “Oh yeah? Do tell!” “Well, he loves cigars, he drives a killer para-glider, and his name’s Howard. Howard the Duck.” “Bev, I don’t wanna speak too soon, but I think you’re onto something!”

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9. Who’s Johnny (Short Circuit)

El DeBarge – 1986

Johnny 5 might be alive but this song is dead on arrival. Zing! Hot off the success of Rhythm of the Night, El DeBarge was tapped to write the main song for the film. The video for this song is even more embarrassing for barely being able to get the stars of the film to participate. Ally Sheedy struggles to sit through the court room nonsense, Johnny 5 only allowed his robotic arm to be featured, and Steve Guttenberg was represented by a cardboard cut out. Well played Gutt, well played.
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8. Dance Magic Dance (Labyrinth)

David Bowie – 1986
Poor baby Toby. What do you think scarred him more? Being thrown twenty feet into the air by David Bowie (and his scene-stealing package) or being forced to interact with the devil-spawn muppets from Jim Henson’s own private nightmares? The answer: having to listen to this cutesy / disturbing musical number on loop for three days straight while they filmed the scene.

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7. Deepest Bluest (Deep Blue Sea)

L.L. Cool J – 1999
Have you ever wondered what sharks would rap about if, say, sharks could rap? LL Cool J has. Thank God someone made a shitty Jaws ripoff creating the perfect soundtrack venue for LL to spit his undersea rhymes such as: “Looking for human flesh to rip my teeth through. Other fish in the sea but Barracudas ain’t equal.” As well as: “Sand under my belly, ocean over my head. Through the light in the shadows. You become the living dead.” Yet nothing contends with the amazing chorus: “Deepest, bluest, my hat is like a shark’s fin.” What?

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Click Here For The Official Video (We couldn’t embed it.)

6. Men in Black (Men in Black)

Will Smith – 1997
Most songs that try and teach you a new dance craze they’ve just invented are terrible. They’re even worse when they’re a shameless synergistic movie tie-in meant only to sell tickets. This soulless medley was the first of two Will Smith film-centric summer musical hits that thankfully stopped after Wild, Wild West. Somewhere that CG animated alien is waiting for his music video royalty check alongside MC Skat Cat.

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5. Back in Time (Back to the Future)

Huey Lewis and the News – 1985
Hey, even Babe Ruth struck out. Now Huey Lewis is no Babe Ruth of rock and roll, but he did manage to score a great pop song on the Back To The Future soundtrack with “The Power of Love.” I guess old Huey got greedy, ’cause he went and tried for another. What he ended up with was a truly absurd song written from the perspective of Marty McFly. In it, Marty demands Doc Brown return him to the present and even goes as far as to referencing key plot points such as lightning striking twice. Cheer up Huey, the song did guarantee you a cameo in the film as well inspiring the somewhat funny SNL skit featuring Michael J. Fox in an elevator.

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4. The Never Ending Story (The Never Ending Story)

Limahl – 1984
Hey, who is faerie-like and whimsical enough to write a theme for our Dungeons and Dragons-lite kids movie? How about that guy from Kajagoogoo? Score! This new wave diddy is sad enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the most hardened Renaissance Fair attendee. The song may be goofy, but the video is even worse. Unfortunately, the video did not feature Limahl riding atop Falcor. I could just picture his Flock of Seagulls hair blowing in the wind as he outran the Nothing (which would later catch up and claim his career).

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3. Addams Family Groove (Addams Family)

MC Hammer – 1991
The early 90s was the golden era for piss-poor rap music made for the big screen (scroll down for an even better example.) Hammer’s gem “Addams Family Groove” is a prime instance (and a sign of things to come) of urban hip-hop being used to market a product to a primarily suburban audience. Before this type of in-your-face marketing became commonplace, studios could get away with this sort of thing. On this particular track, it seems like they didn’t even try to make a song that worked on any sort of musical level, they just took the most popular pop-star of the time and slapped him onto the classic TV show theme song. Not being one for lack of originality, Hammer squeezed “Too Legit” into the chorus of the song. Karma would later force MC to pay for his crimes against good taste by going bankrupt and being forced to star in pathetic Super Bowl commercials.

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2. You got the Touch (Transformers the Movie)

Stan Bush – 1986
Often mistaken for being solely written for Boogie Nights, “You got the Touch” originally appeared (full of suck) in the original Transformers cartoon movie. Oddly enough, it’s not even on the top of the WTF moments from the film, as it follows behind a kid friendly Transformer yelling “shit,” the killing of franchise poster-child Optimus Prime, and Orson Welles’ last performance before his untimely (or depending on how you look at it, timely) death. Good call, Michael Bay, on leaving this cheese-fest out your updated explosion-based robot epic.

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Note: Stan Bush’s powerful pipes kick in at the 1 minute mark.

1. Ninja Rap (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze)

Vanilla Ice – 1991

The less said about this, the better.

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5 Responses to “The Top 10 Worst Original Songs Written for Movies”

  1. chrles says:

    Is it bad that a couple of these songs will always make me smile? What if one of them is Who’s Johnny?

  2. Dannyboy says:

    This list is pretty bad, guys. Come on. “Magic Dance” is such an awesome song that my wife and I played it at our wedding and the dancefloor immediately filled up with people going crazy for it. “Back in Time” and “Neverending Story”, too, are bona fide CLASSICS. And your banner pic is from “Batdance” which isn’t even on the list? That song sucks… but it doesn’t suck NEARLY as much as “Arms of Orion” from the Batman album. Or Toto’s “I’ll Be Over You” from Mac & Me. Standards, people! Standards!

  3. Jordan says:

    That’s like, your opinion, man. I won’t lie I have a bunch of these songs on my iphone and love them just as much as you. Guilty pleasures. Our criteria was how a lot of the thematic and plot based elements were worked into the songs. Plus I could never bad mouth Prince so we kept “Batdance” as an honorable mention.

  4. btown2377 says:

    I would say that “Wild Wild West” trumps “MIB” in the Will Smith dept.

    I also don’t understand how you can badmouth David Bowie, but leave the mittens on for Prince. If it weren’t for his soundtrack, Tim Burton’s Batman would have been less dated (Kim Basinger’s hair notwithstanding) and that much more awesome. His music felt awkward and out of place. There isn’t anyone with integrity in Hollywood that would say “You know what would make BATMAN a great film instead of just good? Prince.” I blame cocaine and Jon Peters and not necessarily in that order.

    Bowie’s soundtrack for Labyrinth, conversely, turned it into a fantasy pop-musical. It was unique and while dated, fits in perfectly for some reason (with the exception of the ball-room dance sequence – blah). Labyrinth has the 80’s running through its veins and the addition of that music made it that much more watchable. Keep in mind, also, that the roots of this blend is consistent with Muppets-style celeb-variety. So, if anything, it’s true to Jim Henson.

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