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. Not only that, many songs written for films have stood on their own, with the popularity of some eclipsing the movies that inspired them.
The biggest example of this undoubtedly 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 65 biggest Hot 100 hits that arose from being featured on the silver screen.
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.
Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee, “Shake Ya Tailfeather” in ‘Bad Boys II’
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 1 (four weeks), Peak Date 9/6/2003
Boasting the so-called “War Chant” heard at many a football game and the line, “Is that your ass or your mama half reindeer?”, this hip-hop ass-shaker from the smash film Bad Boys II shimmied its way up to No. 1 on the Hot 100 for four weeks. Listen here.
Eric Clapton, “Change the World” in ‘Phenomenon’
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 5, Peak Date: 8/17/1996
First recorded by Wynonna Judd, Eric Clapton’s cover of “Change the World” (produced by Babyface) from the John Travolta romantic fantasy Phenomenon became one of the guitar legend’s biggest ‘90s hits, reaching No. 5 on the Hot 100. Listen here.
Ini Kamoze, “Here Comes the Hotstepper” in ‘Ready to Wear’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 12/17/1994
Jamaica’s Ini Kamoze drew upon Cannibal and the Headhunters’ “Land of 1000 Dances” for this Hot 100 topper that began to take off after its inclusion in iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Altman’s 1994 Paris Fashion Week satire Prêt-à-Porter, released as Ready to Wear in the U.S. Listen here.
Prince & the Revolution, “Let’s Go Crazy” in ‘Purple Rain’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 9/29/1984
Prince & the Revolution’s “Let’s Go Crazy” serves as the perfect hype yet uplifting opener to Purple Rain — both the album and the movie of the same name. The track didn’t just top the Hot 100 — it shot to No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Play charts, too. Listen here.
Vangelis, “Chariots of Fire” in ‘Chariots of Fire’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 5/08/1982
Even if you haven’t seen the film it came from, nearly everyone can recognize Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire.” The track has undoubtedly become the backing to any athletic triumph — including its own, as it earned the highest marks on the Hot 100 in 1982. Listen here.
Neil Diamond, “Love on the Rocks” in ‘The Jazz Singer’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 1/10/1981
Neil Diamond starred in the 1980 remake of the 1927 movie musical The Jazz Singer, putting his heart and soul on the line with this heartbreaking tune. The film’s standout track peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Listen here.
Peter Cetera, “Glory of Love” in ‘The Karate Kid II’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 8/02/1986
Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” didn’t just serve as the theme to The Karate Kid II; the song was also nominated for the big trio of awards for which it was eligible: a Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe. The driving track topped the Hot 100 for two weeks the same year the film was released (1986). Listen here.
Phil Collins, “Groovy Kind of Love” in ‘Buster’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 10/22/1988
Phil Collins’ Buster hit isn’t quite what you’d expect from a song with “groovy” in the title — but its downtempo melody does make for an ideal ’80s love song. Listen here.
Duran Duran, “A View to a Kill” in ‘A View to a Kill’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 7/13/85
Duran Duran’s ominous track “A View to a Kill” was written for the 1985 James Bond film of the same name. The song killed on the charts too — it peaked atop the Hot 100, becoming the first Bond song to hit No. 1. Listen here.
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, “You’re the One That I Want” in ‘Grease’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 6/10/1978
“You’re the One That I Want” is the one that Grease fans kept wanting. The upbeat love song was one of the biggest to come out of the 1978 musical romantic comedy, crowning the Hot 100 and spending 24 total weeks on the chart. Listen here.
Deniece Williams, “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” in ‘Footloose’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 5/26/1984
Let’s hear it for Deniece Williams! Her hit dance pop track became a favorite from Footloose, topping the Hot 100 for two weeks the year the film was released. Listen here.
Yvonne Elliman, “If I Can’t Have You” in ‘Saturday Night Fever’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 5/13/1978
Saturday Night Fever boasts a strong run on this list, including Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You.” The quintessential disco ballad didn’t top the Hot 100 until the year following its supporting film’s release in 1978. Listen here.
Elvis Presley, “Return to Sender” in ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 2, Peak Date: 11/17/1962
Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender” just might be the 1960s version of leaving someone on read: a somewhat passive hint that you’re not interested. The single from his Girls! Girls! Girls! film peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Listen here.
Beyoncé feat. Slim Thug, “Check On It” in ‘The Pink Panther’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (five weeks), Peak Date 2/4/2006
Beyonce’s song was supposed to be on the 2006 soundtrack to The Pink Panther remake in which she co-starred with Steve Martin. But instead the track played during the movie’s closing credits and gained lots of popularity with a Hype Williams-directed music video. Listen here.
Bette Midler, “Wind Beneath My Wings” in ‘Beaches’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 6/10/1989
Written by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley in 1982, “Wings” was recorded by a number of artists, including Sheena Easton and Gladys Knight. But the song’s biggest success came in 1989 when Midler’s rendition played over the tear-jerking scene in Beaches, and won both song and record of the year Grammys. Listen here.
Phil Collins, “Two Hearts” in ‘Buster’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 1/21/1989
Collins starred in the gangster film Buster, which was based on the real-life Great Train Robbery in the U.K. and he also contributed two No. 1 singles to the soundtrack, “A Groovy Kind of Love” and “Two Hearts.” But “Two Hearts” was the tune that went on to grab both an Oscar nomination and a Grammy win. Listen here.
Billy Idol, “Cradle of Love” in ‘The Adventures of Ford Fairlane’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 8/4/1990
One of Idol’s most successful singles came thanks, in part, to David Fincher, who directed its music video. It also came in spite of this forgettable Andrew Dice Clay flick. Listen here.
Bob Seger, “Shakedown” in ‘Beverly Hills Cop II’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 8/1/1987
Seger’s Beverly Hills Cop II song became his only Hot 100 No. 1 single, and was performed by Little Richard at the Oscars, where it was nominated for best original song. Listen here.
Michael Sembello, “Maniac” in ‘Flashdance’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 9/10/1983
Michael Sembello’s driving tune was the perfect choice for Jennifer Beals’ training montage in Flashdance as she works on her dance moves, and it would later be spoofed in Tommy Boy when Chris Farley gets mud hosed off of him at a gas station. Listen here.
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” in ‘TROLLS’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 5/26/2016
You “Can’t Stop The Feeling” of wanting to move and groove to Justin Timberlake’s 2016 dance number from DreamWorks Animation’s TROLLS, which JT also stars in. The electric track climbed all the way to the top of the Hot 100, and spent a whole year on the charts. Listen here.
John Parr, “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 9/7/1985
Parr and David Foster originally wrote this anthem about getting older and facing hardship for paralyzed athlete Rick Hansen, who circled the world in a wheelchair on what was called the Man in Motion Tour. The single spent two weeks at No. 1 following the success of the Brat Pack film. Listen here.
Prince And The Revolution, “Kiss” in ‘Under the Cherry Moon’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 4/19/1986
Two years after the success of “Purple Rain,” Prince directed and starred in Under the Cherry Moon. “Kiss” was the top single off the Purple One’s soundtrack album for the film, Parade: Music from the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon, and earned him his fourth Grammy, this one for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal. Listen here.
Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in ‘The Breakfast Club’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 5/18/1985
Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry, and the Fixx’s Cy Cumin all passed on recording this song before it went to Scottish rock band Simple Minds, who also initially declined to record it. John Hughes then used it at the end of The Breakfast Club to create one of the most iconic film frames ever. Listen here.
Dolly Parton, “9 To 5” in ‘9 To 5’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 2/21/1981
Dolly Parton made her film acting debut in the female-empowerment workplace comedy 9 to 5 alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The country icon’s title track won two Grammys. Listen here.
En Vogue, “Don’t Let Go (Love)” in ‘Set It Off’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 1/18/1997
The ladies of En Vogue had one of their biggest singles on the soundtrack of the crime film Set It Off, which starred Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, and Vivica A. Fox. The track rose to No. 2, rivaling their previous Hot 100 No. 2’s, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” in 1992 and “Hold on” in 1990. Listen here.
Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, “Stay (I Missed You)” in ‘Reality Bites’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 8/6/1994
Loeb’s big break came through her across-the-street neighbor, Ethan Hawke, who starred opposite Winona Ryder in the famous Generation X film Reality Bites. Hawke brought in her song “Stay,” which played over the movie’s closing credits, and directed its one-take music video. Listen here.
Jon Bon Jovi, “Blaze Of Glory” in ‘Young Guns II’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 9/8/1990
Even though “Wanted Dead or Alive” was the original request for the western Young Guns II, JBJ apparently wanted to record a song that was literally about gunslingers. The resulting single became Jon’s biggest solo single away from his Bon Jovi mates. Listen here.
Seal, “Kiss From A Rose” in ‘Batman Forever’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 8/26/1995
Joel Schumacher’s use of Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” over the end credits of his Val Kilmer-led “Batman Forever” flick propelled the song to the top of the Hot 100 in the summer of 1995. Listen here.
Olivia Newton-John, “Magic” in ‘Xanadu’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (four weeks), Peak Date: 8/2/1980
The 1980 film Xanadu, starring Newton-John as a muse who helps an artist open a nightclub, features this pop hit. “Magic” also became Olivia’s biggest hit — that is until the following year when she released her smash, “Physical.” Listen here.
Los Lobos, “La Bamba” in ‘La Bamba’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 8/29/1987
Lou Diamond Phillips’ performance as a young Ritchie Valens was backed by Los Lobos. For the soundtrack, the group updated Valens’ 1958 single, which itself was based on a Mexican folk song, and took “La Bamba” to the top of the Hot 100. Listen here.
Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters” in ‘Ghostbusters’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 8/11/1984
Parker originally wrote the tune as a play on the Ghostbusters’ cheap-looking commercial in the film, and the music video featured cameos by stars Chevy Chase, John Candy, Danny DeVito, and many more comedic actors. Parker and others were sued over similarities to Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug,” and they settled out of court. But the Oscar-nominated Ray Parker Jr. song forever told everyone, “who you gonna call” when “there’s something strange in your neighborhood.” Listen here.
Stevie Wonder, “I Just Called To Say I Love You” in ‘The Woman In Red’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 10/13/1984
Wonder’s hit won best original song at the Oscars and Golden Globes after appearing on the soundtrack for the comedy The Woman In Red. Listen here.
Huey Lewis & The News, “The Power Of Love” in ‘Back To The Future’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 8/24/1985
In Back To The Future, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and his band “perform” this song at the high school talent show auditions, only to have Marty bungle the rendition with his ostentatious guitar soloing. Huey plays the judge that shoots them down, saying they’re “just too darn loud.” But in real life, the track (actually performed by Lewis and the News) totally rocked the charts: It was the group’s first No. 1. Listen here.
Starship, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in ‘Mannequin’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 4/4/1987
Songwriter Albert Hammond wrote this Starship track with Diane Warren, inspired by his upcoming marriage, for the ’87 comedy Mannequin, starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. Proving that even hockey players are suckers for ’80s power-pop, the Montreal Canadiens used this as a inspiration during their eventually victorious 1993 Stanley Cup run. Listen here.
UB40, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” in ‘Sliver’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (seven weeks), Peak Date: 7/24/1993
Elvis’ original version of this song, which was featured in his movie Blue Hawaii, hit No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 1962. Thirty-one years later, British reggae group UB40’s version was featured on the soundtrack to the Sharon Stone thriller Sliver. The remake bested Elvis by topping the Hot 100 for seven weeks. Listen here.
Phil Collins, “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” in ‘Against All Odds’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 4/21/1984
When asked to provide a song for the Jeff Bridges flick Against All Odds, Collins revisited this song, which he’d worked on during sessions for his 1981 solo debut, “Face Value.” The finished track, which appeared on the film’s 1984 soundtrack, won the Grammy for best male pop vocal performance, and earned an Oscar nomination. Listen here.
Kenny Loggins, “Footloose” in ‘Footloose’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 3/31/1984
The soundtrack to this well-loved Kevin Bacon flick featured a number of hits, including Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” and Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” but the biggest was Kenny Loggins’ title track. Listen here.
Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin, “Separate Lives” in ‘White Nights’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 11/30/1985
The film White Nights starred Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines as dancers attempting to flee the Soviet Union. “Separate Lives” was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to another White Nights song, Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me.” Listen here.
Madonna, “Crazy For You” in ‘Vision Quest’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 5/11/1985
This Vision Quest hit came about when producers were looking for an appropriate song to use during a scene in which stars Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino meet at a club. Madonna’s ballad “Crazy for You” was her second No. 1 single and her first song nominated for a Grammy. Listen here.
Christopher Cross, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” in ‘Arthur’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 10/17/1981
Despite having a star in Liza Minnelli, Christopher Cross got the honors to perform the theme song for the Dudley Moore comedy Arthur. Co-written by Burt Bacharach, the track – which literally rehashes the plot – won an Oscar and Golden Globe in 1981. Listen here.
Color Me Badd, “I Wanna Sex You Up” in ‘New Jack City’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 6/8/1991
It seems odd that this Oklahoma R&B group would have a hit featured in a gritty big city drama starring Wesley Snipes and Ice T, but strange things happen in New Jack City. This mid-tempo jam rose to just shy of the top of the chart. Listen here.
Lulu, “To Sir With Love” in ‘To Sir With Love’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (five weeks), Peak Date: 10/21/1967
The sentimental school drama “To Sir With Love,” starring Sidney Poitier, utilized this song at a turning point in the film, with Lulu performing it at a class dance. Listen here.
Roxette, “It Must Have Been Love” in ‘Pretty Woman’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 6/16/1990
After the Swedish duo topped the Hot 100 with “The Look” and “Listen to Your Heart,” they were asked to contribute a song to the hit Julia Roberts flick Pretty Woman — and came up with this bittersweet break-up track. Listen here.
Barbra Streisand, “Evergreen” in ‘A Star Is Born’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 3/5/1977
In the film A Star Is Born, Streisand plays an up-and-coming singer who meets a successful musician played by Kris Kristofferson. In a case of life imitating art, Streisand’s character wins a Grammy in the film, and in real life, “Evergreen” later won two Grammys as well as an Oscar. Listen here.
Eminem, “Lose Yourself” in ‘8 Mile’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (12 weeks), Peak Date: 11/9/2002
For a bit of meta theater, Eminem wrote and performed this song about the his 8 Mile character B-Rabbit, a fictional take on the struggles of the real-life Marshall Mathers. The track, written on the movie set, won the best original song Oscar and two Grammys. Listen here.
Celine Dion, “Because You Loved Me” in ‘Up Close & Personal’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (six weeks), Peak Date: 3/23/1996
Songwriter Diane Warren wrote this song about her father’s support, though its link to its corresponding film, Up Close & Personal, is meant to evoke the Robert Redford character’s love for an aspiring news anchor played by Michelle Pfeiffer. The song went on to win a Grammy. Listen here.
Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women Part I” in ‘Charlie’s Angels’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (11 weeks), Peak Date: 11/18/2000
Destiny’s Child were the perfect choice to perform an anthem for the powerful trio of ladies in the Charlie’s Angels remake. And carrying on the theme of threes, the song was the group’s third Hot 100 No. 1. Listen here.
Prince, “When Doves Cry” in ‘Purple Rain’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (five weeks), Peak Date: 7/7/1984
The last song penned for the film, Prince wrote this Purple Rain track overnight to match a scene in the movie. On top of that, he played played every instrument on the recording, which became the first and biggest single from an incredible soundtrack. Listen here.
Barbra Streisand, “The Way We Were” in ‘The Way We Were’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 2/2/1974
Written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman with Marvin Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand recorded this enduring ballad for the romantic movie of the same name, in which she starred opposite Robert Redford. Listen here.
B.J. Thomas, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (four weeks), Peak Date: 1/3/1970
Penned by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, B.J. Thomas’ recording of “Raindrops” was featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, playing while star Paul Newman performed stunts on a bicycle. It went on to win the Oscar for best original song. Listen here.
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again” in ‘Fast & Furious 7’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (12 weeks), Peak Date: 4/25/2015
Wiz Khalifa taps Charlie Puth for the fan-favorite Fast franchise’s musical tribute to Paul Walker, who died in a car accident before wrapping on Fast & Furious 7. The heartbreaking yet hopeful piano-driven tune rose to the top of the Hot 100 — for a total of 12 weeks. Listen here.
Lionel Richie, “Say You, Say Me” in ‘White Nights
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (four weeks), Peak Date: 12/21/1985
This Richie No. 1 was the breakout song from the Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines film White Nights. The Oscar-winning track was oddly not released on the soundtrack, but later, in 1986, it served as the closing track on Lionel’s Dancing on the Ceiling album. Listen here.
Coolio feat. L.V., “Gangsta’s Paradise” in ‘Dangerous Minds’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 9/9/1995
Coolio’s theme song for the inner-city drama Dangerous Minds takes its musical cues from Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.” Wonder later joined the rapper and singer L.V. for a performance at the Grammys, where the track won best rap solo performance, among other awards. Listen here.
Pharrell Williams, “Happy” in ‘Despicable Me 2’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (10 weeks), Peak Date: 3/8/2014
Despite its corresponding movie title, there is absolutely nothing despicable about Pharrell’s feel-good “Happy.” The first and only single from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack reached fame as high (if not higher) than the film itself — spending an impressive ten weeks atop the Hot 100. Listen here.
Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower” in ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 01/19/2019
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse quickly became a crowd favorite superhero film — and the same can be said for its standout track, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee. The track not only topped the Hot 100, it also spent over a year on the chart and earned a record-tying longest top 10 run in the chart’s 61-year history (at the time of its release in 2018). Listen here.
Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” in ‘Saturday Night Fever’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (four weeks), Peak Date: 2/4/1978
With its driving beat, funky guitar riff and falsetto, the Bee Gees created a disco classic about urban living that’s difficult to hear without picturing John Travolta, suited in all white, doing his thing on the dance floor in the movie Saturday Night Fever. Coincidentally, the rhythm of the song matches almost perfectly with the recommended number of chest compressions during CPR, and paramedics are encouraged to think of the song while performing the procedure. Listen here.
Blondie, “Call Me” in ‘American Gigolo’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (six weeks), Peak Date: 4/19/1980
Giorgio Moroder originally wanted to collaborate on the American Gigolo theme song with Stevie Nicks, but she declined. He then enlisted Debbie Harry, who wrote the song in a few hours based on the film’s opening scene of Richard Gere cruising around California in a convertible. Listen here.
Boyz II Men, “End Of The Road” in ‘Boomerang’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (13 weeks), Peak Date: 8/15/1992
Written by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, L.A. Reid and Daryl Simmons for the Eddie Murphy movie Boomerang, the Boyz II Men hit spent 13 weeks at No. 1. Three weeks after it left the top spot, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” (from The Bodyguard soundtrack) took over. Listen here.
Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” in ‘The Bodyguard’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (14 weeks), Peak Date: 11/28/1992
Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” in 1973 but it found its way onto 1992’s soundtrack for The Bodyguard after star Kevin Costner played Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 version for Whitney Houston. Houston’s smash-hit cover reigned on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks and became her signature song. Listen here.
Bee Gees, “Night Fever” in ‘Saturday Night Fever’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (eight weeks), Peak Date: 3/18/1978
Producer Robert Stigwood engaged the Bee Gees to provide songs for the film, originally to be called Saturday Night. When he asked them to change the song’s name to match the movie, the group declined, saying there were already too many songs with ‘Saturday’ in the title. Eventually, Stigwood relented and made the brilliant decision to mix this song’s title with his original film title and rename the film, Saturday Night Fever. Listen here.
Irene Cara, “Flashdance… What A Feeling” in ‘Flashdance’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (six weeks), Peak Date: 5/28/1983
Co-written by Giorgio Moroder, the Flashdance title track plays as Jennifer Beals’ character Alex auditions for a stodgy dance conservatory board, only to wow them when the song turns from ballad into uptempo pop. It would later win an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Listen here.
Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger” in ‘Rocky III’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (six weeks), Peak Date: 7/24/1982
Sylvester Stallone originally wanted to use Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” for the Rocky III training montage, but Freddie Mercury and co. wouldn’t grant them the license. So Sly turned to Survivor’s Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan, who wrote the cut “Eye Of The Tiger” in part by timing the guitar and drum hits to coincide with Rocky’s punches. Listen here.
Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love” in ‘Saturday Night Fever’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date: 12/24/1977
The Bee Gees’ ballad became one of their biggest hits from Saturday Night Fever, reflecting the brotherly trio’s ability to pen non-disco smashes like this alongside dance floor favorites. Listen here.
Bryan Adams, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (seven weeks), Peak Date: 7/27/1991
The classic English story Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves found simultaneous box office and musical success with an accent-less American actor and a power ballad by a Canadian rock star. The track became Adams’ biggest hit, spending seven weeks at No. 1. Listen here.
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, “Endless Love” in ‘Endless Love’
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (nine weeks), Peak Date: 8/15/1981
The Brooke Shields-led movie Endless Love led to what Billboard previously revealed was the biggest duet hit of all time, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s inspired pairing on the title track. It was also the biggest hit of each of the legendary singers’ careers, spending 27 weeks on the chart, nine of them at No. 1. Listen here.