June 22, 2009

Kick off your Sunday shoes

Why? Because it's Monday, and 80s nostalgia continues. This week's theme: Movie music.

It was George Lucas' 1973 blockbuster American Graffiti that started the trend of using popular music, rather than a traditional score, as the soundtrack to the plot. (The irony is that his collaboration with John Williams, for his next film, resulted in the greatest traditional score of all time.) By the 1980s, this trend was in full swing: predominantly, though not exclusively, in the teen movie genre, following in American Graffiti's footsteps.

I have seen all the movies represented in this week's lineup. Oddly enough, I saw only one of the teen movies while still in my teens, but by then I'd also left high school. That's what happens when you live in a small town with limited entertainment options, and friends who, if I went to a party at their place, were more likely to rent action or comedy than teen-angsty stuff. Most of them I've seen for the first time in the last 5 years.

I was brought up in a small town with moderately strict moral boundaries, but they didn't include not going to dances or listening to rock music. So I can't really sympathize with the plot of 1984's Footloose: a city teenager moves to a small town where both are banned, and fights the law and a strict local minister in order to allow a senior prom. But the music - released in the spring and summer before I started high school - was wonderful. Footloose spawned a handful of hits: Deniece Williams' poppy "Let's Hear It for the Boy," Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero," and Mike Reno and Ann Wilson's power ballad "Almost Paradise." But none of them were as catchy or just as fun to listen to as the title track itself, performed by Kenny Loggins:

"Footloose" spent three weeks at #1 in the spring of 1984. The chorus invites everybody to "cut footloose" - and with a song like this, you just gotta.