Award Bait Songs, Unusual Soundtracks, and Movie Tie-Ins - I Believe I Can Fly, Wake Me Up Inside, Love Song For A Vampire, Kiss From A Rose, and many more of your favorite hits!

Syaoran Li

The Fresh Prince of Mayberry
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Okay, so I was rewatching the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie again and it got me thinking about a wider trend that was a big thing way back in the 90's and continued into the early 2000's but is largely forgotten today.

The autists at TV Tropes call these "Award Bait Songs" and "Breakaway Pop Hits" and I can't think of a better word to use

In the 90's, there was this trend of using movies to promote hit songs or to promote the movie by writing a hit song for it. Disney was notorious for this, where they'd play the mainstream radio version of the signature song over the end credits. But they weren't the only ones and a lot of iconic 90's songs got their start as songs for movie soundtracks and their music videos would often have clips from the movie randomly inserted into it.

A good example would be Annie Lennox's "Love Song For A Vampire" from the 1992 Dracula movie


A weird example would be M2M's "Don't Say You Love Me" that was part of the Pokemon movie soundtrack, since the song was written before the movie came out and wasn't meant to be for the movie.


Some of these songs would be covers of older songs, such as Seal's cover of "Fly Like An Eagle" in the Space Jam soundtrack

Often times, you'd have scenarios where the movie ended up bombing at the box office but the song was a smash hit on its own

Will Smith's "Wild Wild West" from the movie of the same name is a good example, as is Enrique Iglesias's "Bailamos" from the same movie.

Usually the song would be either soft rock, bubblegum pop, or 90's R&B or Adult Contemporary, but you'd occasionally have more traditional rock and rap songs of the era fit the mold. The songs "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Wake Me Up Inside" are good examples of this, having been from the Dangerous Minds and Daredevil movies respectively.

The most recent example I can think of would be Rascal Flatts' cover of "Life Is A Highway" that was a big thing after Cars came out in the mid-late 2000's.

A lot of iconic or meme-worthy songs started out this way, like "Kiss From A Rose", "Who Let The Dogs Out?" or "All-Star" and yeah, Kiss From A Rose technically came out before Batman Forever did but it wasn't released as a single or a major hit until after it was used in the movie.

Usually, the songs would often be used to win awards at the Oscars until the rules changed to where it had to actually be in the movie proper and not just tacked on in the end credits or used in trailers and TV promos. Hence the term "Award Bait"

The phenomenon predates the 90's with "Mrs. Robinson" being released initially as part of The Graduate's official soundtrack album or AC/DC's "Who Made Who?" with Maximum Overdrive. But it's most associated with the 90's and early 2000's.


Another weird and unusual related phenomenon were tie-in albums where they were promoted in a similar manner as the actual scores and soundtracks but were usually just licensed songs (or covers of already well-known songs) that were "Inspired by the Movie/TV Show/etc."

In the case of TV tie-ins, you'd usually get a full-length version of the theme song and then a bunch of unrelated songs.

The King of the Hill album from the late 90's is a good example of this trend, where you have the full-length version of "Yahoos and Triangles" but the rest are just covers of old Southern Rock and vintage country songs performed by mainstream pop and Top 40 country artists at the time

 

Yuuichirou Kumada

Second chaddest simp in anime
kiwifarms.net
"My Heart Will Go On" counts? It was fucking everywhere in 1998 or so, to the point I heard they wanted to deport Céline Dion for inflicting it upon the US and subsequently the World, and it will be forever associated with Titanic.

There's also that one song by Chad Kroger from Nickelback for one of the first Spider-Man movies. I think it's called "Hero", can't remember, but it's possibly the best thing he's ever composed.

Remy Zero's sole hit was "Save Me", thanks in part to it being the opening to Smallville. The series was freaking popular here in Brazil, thanks to local channel SBT airing the entire series on Sunday mornings. I remember there were also soundtrack albums released with songs that appeared in the series one time or another.

Speaking of Brazil, some songs that weren't released in single form, or otherwise weren't the most well-known of their artists, became huge hits thanks to its use in soap opera soundtracks. As you may know, soapies are fuck-huge here in Brazil. Such is the case, for example, with Hanson's "Save Me", Oingo Boingo's "Stay", Lara Fabian's "Love By Grace", Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" and about half of Coldplay's catalogue. Even actual hits become better known down here thanks to it, such as Yes' "Owner of a Broken Heart". I remember when Silverchair performed in Rock in Rio 2001, the only song the audience throughly enjoyed was "Miss You Love", thanks to its use in a soapie soundtrack.

And back in the 70's, when the phenomenon truly gained traction, some artists even took on foreign names and released songs in English, if only because it was cheaper than getting the rights to foreign songs, in a time where digital releases were still not invented. The most well-known is Morris Albert's "Feelings", and all of them are pretty much on that level, corny as hell.
 

Syaoran Li

The Fresh Prince of Mayberry
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
"My Heart Will Go On" counts? It was fucking everywhere in 1998 or so, to the point I heard they wanted to deport Céline Dion for inflicting it upon the US and subsequently the World, and it will be forever associated with Titanic.

There's also that one song by Chad Kroger from Nickelback for one of the first Spider-Man movies. I think it's called "Hero", can't remember, but it's possibly the best thing he's ever composed.

"My Heart Will Go On" is definitely the prime example of what I'm talking about but I figured that one was a bit too obvious.

Hero was another example and a later one of the trend's peak years in the 1990's and early 2000's.

Anastasia (one of my favorite movies of all time ever since I saw it as a little kid) had a few of these songs, some of which still get airplay on the Adult Contemporary stations.

You had Aaliyah's cover of "Journey to the Past" that was big at the time but fell by the wayside after she died plus Once Upon A December has become a staple of country stations around Christmastime thanks to the Deana Carter version.
 

Yuuichirou Kumada

Second chaddest simp in anime
kiwifarms.net
And how about famous songs included in movies nobody remembers?
Bryan Adams has two that I know. Does anybody remember Don Juan DeMarco? That one flick where Johnny Depp plays a dandy that thinks he's Don Juan incarnate? Few people do, but everyone remembers "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman".

And wasn't "Everything I Do I Do It For You" part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack as well? Except the movie is at least better remembered, if only because of the inaccuracies.

There's also Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Not sure how well it holds, but down here it is only known as "the movie that has Knockin' on Heaven's Door".
 

Syaoran Li

The Fresh Prince of Mayberry
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
And how about famous songs included in movies nobody remembers?
Bryan Adams has two that I know. Does anybody remember Don Juan DeMarco? That one flick where Johnny Depp plays a dandy that thinks he's Don Juan incarnate? Few people do, but everyone remembers "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman".

And wasn't "Everything I Do I Do It For You" part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack as well? Except the movie is at least better remembered, if only because of the inaccuracies.

There's also Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Not sure how well it holds, but down here it is only known as "the movie that has Knockin' on Heaven's Door".

The song "All Star" by Smash Mouth was originally meant for the movie Mystery Men.

The movie is completely forgotten but the song is iconic.

Usually, if anyone's going to associate that song with a movie, it's usually Shrek (and Digimon: The Movie to a lesser extent) but the song was originally a single from the Mystery Men soundtrack
 

Idiotron

The last sane person on Earth
kiwifarms.net
Let's not forget entire albums of movie tie in songs.
The most notable ones I can think of are Batman Forever and Space Jam, both soundtracks were huge hits.
Other notable ones were the soundtracks for Ninja Turtles 2 and Mortal Kombat.
I'm not sure how big the soundtrack for the South Park movie was but everybody knows "Blame Canada" and "Unclefucker".

Disney had (and still has to an extent) the tradition of having a single promoting an animated movie.
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight?", "You've Got a Friend in Me", "A Whole New World", "Let it Go", the list goes on.

Others I can think of:
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem for 8th Mile.
"Can't Stop the Moonlight" by LeAnn Rimes for Coyote Ugly (a movie which nobody remembers or gives a shit about but the song was everywhere that year).
"Shy Guy" by Diana King for Bad Boys.
Speaking of Bad Boys, Will Smith had several big ones right up until he ended his music career (which also kind of ended the trend of every big movie having a big single tie in).
"Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze is a classic by now but nobody, including me, remembers what movie it was from, I think Hugh Grant was in it, I can't be bothered to look it up.
"Deeper Underground" by Jamiroquai for Godzilla 1998.
"Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer for another movie that I don't remember.
Linkin Park had a single for each of the first 3 Transformers movies - "What I've Done", "New Divide" and "Iridescent".
Top Gun had 2 big singles, "Highway to the Dangerzone" and "Take My Breath Away" which won an Oscar.

That's all I've got for now.

EDIT:
Also.... fucking "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson was the single for his movie Moonwalker.
 
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Quintex96

kiwifarms.net
Other examples

Iris- Goo Goo Dolls, For City of Angels
I will always love you- Whitney Houston, for The Bodyguard
Lovefool- The Cardigans, Has been used in numerous films but most notably in that 'Romeo + Juliet" film
People always associate Smash Mouth's "All star" with Shrek but always forget that they actually made a cover of "I'm a believer" for the film that was popular for a bit

You say the trend is largly forgotten today and to an extent it is true but I can think of two relatively recent examples-

See You Again- Wiz Khalifa and whoever the fuck from that F&F movie this emotionally manipulative POS comes from
Let it Go- Frozen, I'm like 90% sure that the film was written specifically to market this song and like 85% sure that for long delay for the sequel was them trying to write something to top Let It Go
 

Pee Cola

Very good cola
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
If "Addams Groove" by MC Hammer counts, then so does "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.


One that's really in the spirit of the OP (IMHO) is "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" by Annie Lennox and Al Green, from the Scrooged soundtrack. The video is basically a trailer for Scrooged with scenes of Annie and Al singing cut in from time to time.


"Big Gun" by AC/DC is another good one, from the Last Action Hero soundtrack. For a movie trailer/music video crossover featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's surprisingly subtle.

 

Dom Cruise

True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
"Can't Stop the Moonlight" by LeAnn Rimes for Coyote Ugly (a movie which nobody remembers or gives a shit about but the song was everywhere that year).
I still remember that stupid movie because it came out right when I was early in my days of puberty.

It also has one of the stupidest, cheesiest scenes I've seen in any movie, it's as cheesy as anything you could find in an 80s movie, where the singer/songwriter protagonist is trying to come up with a new new song while playing her keyboard on the rooftop of her apartment building, she's not quite getting the right inspiration but meanwhile a black guy breakdancing to hip hop beats in a nearby open window combines with the beat of her song and suddenly she hits the perfect version of a white girl singing a song and phat beats, it has to be seen to be believed.

At any rate the movie is an interesting snapshot of what female culture was like that at the time, before they were brainwashed into hating themselves and the world.
 

Moguro Fukuzou

Customer Satisfaction 100% Guaranteed
kiwifarms.net
I remember when Disney liked including song renditions by their various attempts at making popular pop groups with their movie releases. Think this was around the time the The Cheetah Girls were a surprise success so Disney might have been attempting to create another.
The two specific ones I remember the best were for Lilo & Stitch (I actually like this one):
and Beauty and the Beast:

Outside of Disney, the entire "Across the Universe" gave off the award bait feel a bit as its soundtrack was made up of renditions of famous Beatles songs. Feels like the movie was written around which songs they were allowed to use, which made the plot and characters rather weak throughout most of it. Certain scenes/songs worked really good as shorts, felt like the director was doing the best they could to string together a semi-coherent story. Most of the trailer is just them showing off how many Beatles songs they were using and how "art" the film was.
It wasn't the best film, but I still enjoyed it with all the flaws (including some terrible covers and plot choices). Will forever love it for the musical number of Jude (played by Jim Sturgess who also sings most of the good songs) shitting on commies.
The song "All Star" by Smash Mouth was originally meant for the movie Mystery Men.

The movie is completely forgotten but the song is iconic.

Usually, if anyone's going to associate that song with a movie, it's usually Shrek (and Digimon: The Movie to a lesser extent) but the song was originally a single from the Mystery Men soundtrack
Regarding the Digimon movie rather than All Star I more closely associate the movie with "One Week" by The Barenaked Ladies. There's also "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" by Less Than Jake which I had no idea came out before the Digimon movie, I can only remember it from there.
 

Frank D'arbo

Worlds dumbest Smartass
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Ghetto Superstar was written for the political dark comedy Bulworth written, directed, and Starring Warren Beatty

In fact, the lyrics to the song more or less explain the plot to the film.

The film bombed and killed Beattys career for nearly 20 years while that song was Pras' one solo hit outside the Fugees
 

Yuuichirou Kumada

Second chaddest simp in anime
kiwifarms.net
Does anybody remember the movie Judgement Night? Pretty much nobody, but good Goddamn did it have a killer soundtrack that paired hip-hop artists with alt-rock bands. Sonic Youth with Cypress Hill? Faith No More with Boo-Ya TRIBE? Ice-T with Slayer? Yes, yes and fuck yes. Not sure if any of those song became charting hits, though.

Isn't Phil Collin's "Against All Odds" the main theme of a forgotten movie of the same name?

Oh, and there's also "That Thing You Do". Fun little song, actually. It still plays occasionally on a hipster radio here in my town.

Remember Jack Johnson? He did the soundtrack to a forgotten Curious George animated movie, but the only thing people remember for that one is "Upside Down". It played to exhaustion about as many times as "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing".

And how could we forget the entire Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and all those songs from the dancing movie craze like (I've Had the) Time of My Life, Footloose, She's A Maniac and What A Feeling?
 

EmpireOfTheClouds

They climbed aboard their silver ghost
kiwifarms.net
I kinda miss the days of those original songs from movie soundtracks.

There's a reason Eminem's "Lose Yourself" stands head and shoulders above his entire discography: it's a masterfully written song who invokes images of nostalgia from its release period AND Detroit trailer parks and seedy underground rap clubs. That song was inescapable back in the day and deservedly so.

There's been some decent examples since but I feel just bow good Lose Yourself is kinda ruined that. The closest we've gotten since was Suicide Squad's "Heathens" by Twenty Øne Pilots, a song people remember for being too good for the movie its attached to.
I remember when Disney liked including song renditions by their various attempts at making popular pop groups with their movie releases. Think this was around the time the The Cheetah Girls were a surprise success so Disney might have been attempting to create another.
The two specific ones I remember the best were for Lilo & Stitch (I actually like this one):
and Beauty and the Beast:

Outside of Disney, the entire "Across the Universe" gave off the award bait feel a bit as its soundtrack was made up of renditions of famous Beatles songs. Feels like the movie was written around which songs they were allowed to use, which made the plot and characters rather weak throughout most of it. Certain scenes/songs worked really good as shorts, felt like the director was doing the best they could to string together a semi-coherent story. Most of the trailer is just them showing off how many Beatles songs they were using and how "art" the film was.
It wasn't the best film, but I still enjoyed it with all the flaws (including some terrible covers and plot choices). Will forever love it for the musical number of Jude (played by Jim Sturgess who also sings most of the good songs) shitting on commies.

Regarding the Digimon movie rather than All Star I more closely associate the movie with "One Week" by The Barenaked Ladies. There's also "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" by Less Than Jake which I had no idea came out before the Digimon movie, I can only remember it from there.
Oh god. The auto tune on Jim Sturgess' voice is still painful to listen to about 13 years later
 

Jewelsmakerguy

Domo Arigato
kiwifarms.net
Does anybody remember the movie Judgement Night? Pretty much nobody, but good Goddamn did it have a killer soundtrack that paired hip-hop artists with alt-rock bands. Sonic Youth with Cypress Hill? Faith No More with Boo-Ya TRIBE? Ice-T with Slayer? Yes, yes and fuck yes. Not sure if any of those song became charting hits, though.

Isn't Phil Collin's "Against All Odds" the main theme of a forgotten movie of the same name?

Oh, and there's also "That Thing You Do". Fun little song, actually. It still plays occasionally on a hipster radio here in my town.

Remember Jack Johnson? He did the soundtrack to a forgotten Curious George animated movie, but the only thing people remember for that one is "Upside Down". It played to exhaustion about as many times as "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing".

And how could we forget the entire Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and all those songs from the dancing movie craze like (I've Had the) Time of My Life, Footloose, She's A Maniac and What A Feeling?
Arguably most of the Footloose soundtrack found some significat life outside the movie- At least all the tracks on the A-Side and two from the B-Side has. I'd argue the same with Top Gun's three biggest music hits too.

Fuck a huge chunk of songs from 1980s movies were arguably bigger, or more well-known anyway, than the films they were attached to- Eye of the Tiger, The Touch, I'm All Right, We Don't Need Another Hero, most of the Bond themes of the era... I could go on.
 

The Great Citracett

Reverberating Underdog
True & Honest Fan
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A while back I learned FM by Steely Dan was actually written as the main theme for a 1978 movie also called FM that bombed massively and nobody remembers.


The band was asked to write a song for the movie, with the only requirement being that it somehow reference FM radio. They wrote it in a day or so, recorded it in the same amount of time, and it's an absolute classic.


It was a hit, and the entire soundtrack went platinum because it's a bunch of popular hits from the time that are still hugely popular.

But apparently the movie was garbage.
 

Duncan Hills Coffee

Not a normal human
kiwifarms.net
The first two Rambo movies have what I would call "award bait songs."

The first movie has It's a Long Road playing over the credits, and to be fair to it, it is thematically fitting for the movie as a whole. It's melancholic but hopeful that someday Rambo can find inner peace and get over his demons, even if it takes a long time for him to do so. It's cheesy as hell and doesn't stack up to Rambo's emotional breakdown which directly precedes it, but it's okay.

Then there's Rambo: First Blood Part II which has Peace in Our Life playing during the credits. This one just plain doesn't fit after the cartoon action movie that is Rambo 2 and is far sillier and cheesier than It's a Long Road.

 
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