Movie Songs

Top Movie Songs of All Time

March 6, 202427 Mins Read

Music and movies? What a feeling.

Movies and music have been a natural combination ever since sound was first added to moving images. Whether a film is a tear-jerking drama, an action-packed thriller or a side-splitting comedy, the right song at the right moment will always elevate the impact of a scene. Beyond that, many songs written or recorded for films have stood on their own, with the popularity of some eclipsing the movies that inspired them.

One of the most famous examples comes from 1992’s The Bodyguard. Though not everyone has seen the film, people of all generations can recognize its massive single: Whitney Houston’s smash cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” John Travolta’s 1977 classic disco film Saturday Night Fever produced several of the Bee Gees’ biggest hits — including “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever.” And let’s be honest: Damn near no one has heard of Ready to Wear from Robert Altman (the iconic director of Gosford Park, Nashville, M*A*S*H), but if Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper” comes on, you’ll at least be singing along to the naaaa na na na naaaaas.

Here’s a look back at the 75 biggest Hot 100 hits that arose from being featured on the silver screen. This list includes only the renditions that were recorded for films, or first released in conjunction with a film. So you won’t find LeAnn Rimes’ version of “How Do I Live” (Trisha Yearwood sang it in Con Air), Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” (Kasey Cisyk was heard in the film of the same name) or Percy Faith’s “Theme From A Summer Place” (composer Max Steiner’s version was heard in that 1959 film).

This ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.

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