musicthe sound of your morning

the sound of your morning: 10 great songs from movies

by Grace Bonney

Despite spring’s best efforts, winter seemed to own Brooklyn this weekend. It dipped well below 30 most nights and staying inside to watch movies seemed like the only sensible thing to do. The choices on TV weren’t amazing, so AC and I ended up watching The Runaways and talking about our favorite songs from movies. As much as songs can easily worm their way into your brain and stay there for years, that hold can be even stronger if they’re accompanied by a scene from a movie. Just naming some of my favorite movies growing up (Singles, Empire Records) instantly brings back the sound of certain songs as strongly as it brings back images of actors. So today I thought I’d kick off the day by filling the house with the sound of our favorite movie soundtracks. We each chose some of our favorites, ranging from some you might expect (Wes Anderson) to some you might not (Good Will Hunting). I hope you’ll enjoy these choices and maybe be inspired to add a few new songs (and movies) to your iTunes list.

Just like last week, I’d love to hear what songs from movie soundtracks are your favorite. I had a really, really hard time just picking five so I’m dying to hear what everyone else loves. I’d want to discover not only some great new soundtracks, but hopefully some new movies to check out next weekend. So please feel free to share your Youtube or other links in the comment section below. I have a feeling this post is going to be so fun to look through for weeks to come. xo, grace

Image above from Brian Everett’s Sneak Peek

“This is the Day” The The (Empire Records) – I loved this song and this movie with such fervency during high school. I still can’t listen to this and not feel nostalgic for the 90s and the way movies like this affected me. I think they’re a big part of the reason I got into college radio and felt the need to wrap myself in music whenever I was happy or sad.

“Waiting for Somebody” Paul Westerberg (Singles) – Since we’re talking about the 90s, it’s impossible to ignore the movie Singles. Or just about every song on that soundtrack that I had to force myself to not include here. Paul Westerberg and his music were (and still are) a constant on my playlists and this song in particular really sums up the movie for me.

“Judy Is A Punk” The Ramones (The Royal Tenenbaums) – It seems downright sacrilegious to compile a list of movie songs and not include something from a Wes Anderson film. The Royal Tenenbaums was chock-full of great music but this, and the accompanying scenes of Margo’s bad behavior are classic. I dare you not to jump around your office (or house) listening to this one.

CLICK HERE for the rest of my morning soundtrack & AC’s picks after the jump.

“Cherry Bomb” The Runaways (Dazed and Confused) – This was another movie that burned itself into my mind at an impressionable age. “Air raid!” will always remind me of why I love Parker Posey so much. This song in particular is a favorite, especially after watching “The Runaways” on TV for the second time this weekend. When Cherie Curie sneers “Hello, Daddy, Hello, Mom” I always wish I had the voice to be in a band. Oh well, I’ll stick to karaoke.

*Click here to check out Amy’s take on Dazed and Confused in her “Living in: Dazed and Confused” post.

“All Day and All of The Night” The Kinks (Pirate Radio) – This movie still makes me want to get back in the booth. Not only was it a solid music-filled movie, but it lead to me spending way too much time last night looking up old Kinks performances on YouTube. Ray Davies is so, so cool.

AC’S MIX (Written in his words)

Badly Drawn Boy – “Silent Sigh” (About A Boy)

I’m not a huge fan Badly Drawn Boy and I was mixed on this movie (spoiled by reading the book first), but this song is really pretty amazing. I love the beat and the “oooh, ahhh’s.” It’s a nice way to ease into a morning when you’re not quite awake yet.

The Faces – “Ooh La La” (Rushmore)

Wes Anderson really has a knack for song selection. A lot of people I know find his choices just a little too conspicuous (to the point of finding them distracting), but what can I say, I’m a sucker for a great song. (But you know what movie DID feel too conspicuous to me was Garden State….”This song will change your life…” gimme a break! Great songs but I didn’t really need the movie attached to them.) This one always puts a smile on my face at the end of Rushmore.

Dandy Warhols – “Boys Better” (Good Will Hunting)

Having grown up in the Boston area (read: the suburbs) originally, I must say I’ve been enjoying the recent spate of movies set Boston over the last few years. Do I have an accent? No. Do I even fit in when I go back? Negative. But will I watch every movie that is set there, regardless of quality? You bet I will. (One note, if you like this song, I highly recommend the movie: “Dig“, which is a documentary about the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacare.)

*Warning– this video has a brief moment of nudity in at 0:41*

Suzi Quatro – “The Wild One” (The Runaways)

Ok, it’s time to wake up! Grace and I watched The Runaways this weekend, and while I didn’t really care for much of the movie or the songs by the Runaways, this song really stood out to me, and I’ve been humming it all weekend. You know who I think would do a great cover of this song? The New Pornographers. That’s who.

The Clash – “Police on my Back” (Knocked Up)

The Clash are one of my all-time favorite bands, and this is one of my favorite tracks of theirs. If I ever rob a bank, I’ll definitely have this song queued up and ready to play in the getaway car. If this song doesn’t have you up and moving by now, well, then, I probably won’t be inviting invite you to ride shotgun for my bank heist.

Suggested For You


  • ahh The Clash one of my favourite up there concerts – oh and very proud to be dating myself on that one!
    Certainly got me going along with The The and my coffee this morning. Very funny if I ever rob a bank comment…like you have yet to rule out that crazy idea!

  • oh, gee, Grace – I know I’m old…but when I read your headline (do they even call it that on a blog?) “As Time Goes By” from “Casablanca” immediately came to my mind!

  • love it! these picks are so spot on! but it would be impossible for me to pick ONE song from dazed and confused. i mean…school’s out, slow ride, summer breeze, tuesday’s gone. the music makes all of those scenes SO GOOD.

  • Augh, I totally agree about Garden State. Also, on a related note, could we PLEASE have a moratorium on bildungsroman movies that prominently feature Simon and Garfunkel. Particularly ones about self-involved, useless young men who become obsessed with women they idealize but barely know (Igby Goes Down, Garden State, 500 Days of Summer, etc.).

    It was okay when the Graduate did it, because it was original, and the movie itself is excellent and doesn’t take its protagonist too seriously.

    But these other films – whether they are trying to tap into the emotional resonance of the Graduate or simply pay homage in typical college boy geekiness – are not good enough to pull it off.

    And we really don’t need another story about a whiny guy who thinks he’s smarter than everyone (except perhaps the woman he has half made up in his own head).

    Is this a pet peeve of mine? Um, yes.

  • Alltime favourite movie soundtrack, Juno, packed with old classics, Belle and Sebastian and the quirky Moldy Peaches. LOVE!

  • I do love the About a Boy movie & Badly Drawn Boy songs on it, but I also looooved the book! And yes, 500 Days of Summer is great, it’s where I learned about The Temper Trap.
    “Falling Slowly” from Once is great.
    And as far as cheesy 90s soundtracks go… My Best Friend’s Wedding is tops :)

  • I love “this is the day” – the last scene in empire records is what made me love the song so much.

    I ended up using it as the last song played at my wedding reception – later in the night, dancing with my friends – it was perfect.

    • silva

      i wanted to use “the the” as a wedding song, too. but the lyrics just didn’t see to fit well for the beginning of the ceremony ;)


  • Some favourite soundtracks would be Lock stock and two smoking barrels (the movie is also great from Guy Ritchie), Reservoir dogs (Stuck in the middle with you is the best to shake a little booty!), Rush (very atmospheric) and eh…Dirty dancing! Just the best dance mivie of all time! Ah Johnny…

  • freedy johnston’s bad reputation always seemed so perfect running during the credits of noah baumbach’s kicking and screaming.

    love the scene in hal hartley’s simple men when they all dance to kool thing by sonic youth.

    control f lisa loeb not found! ha!

  • I always go back to “The Breakfast Club”. “Don’t you forget about me” by the Simple Minds always takes me back to high school. And the movie? For me, a classic.

  • my “singles” soundtrack CD has been played so much. it’s practically transparent. great selections to revisit. both music and movie wise:)

  • Outside Providence and Almost Famous are two my fav soundtracks… the movies are pretty kickin’ too : )

  • My quick picks (from 6:30 am)
    Ferris Bueller “Cameron Frye, this one’s for you…”
    I don’t know if I liked The Crow because of NIN, or NIN because of The Crow…but amazing, loud and dark
    Reality Bites portrayed some of the best grunge.

  • Grace, great choices!!! I can’t wait to pour through your picks!! Thanks for making me LOVE Monday mornings.
    I especially love
    “Waiting for Somebody” Paul Westerberg (Singles)

    Here’s my contribution… (you have to know, I have an entire soundtrack section in my record collection) :)

    Reach The Rock

    Gas, Food, Lodging

    Rock N’ Roll High School

    Pretty in Pink

    Over The Edge

    Away We Go

    An Education

    I could seriously keep going… I love soundtracks.


  • “Ooh Baby I Love Your Way”, Peter Frampton, Reality Bites. Absolutely transports me to high school summers.

  • Glad to see Royal Tenenbaums made the list – one of my all time fav movies and the soundtrack has alot to do with it. One the many reasons I love Wes Anderson films.

    Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette has a great soundtrack of modern rock and post punk juxtaposed with 18th century Versaille. I have a background in costuming, and love the portrayal of opulent fashion and couture in this scene with Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLJ1vuUWprA

    Little Miss Sunshine also has a great soundtrack, with several memorable Devotchka songs and a couple from Sufjan Stevens. Devotchka’s “Till the End of Time”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtxhqfNnwY

    This is such a fun topic; I’m excited to add some new movies to my must see list!

  • Kyliemac, I am right there with you in the ’80s… when I saw the topic of the post, “Don’t You Forget About Me” immediately came to mind!! John Hughes movies about sum up the ’80s teen thing.

  • “Lost in Translation” has a great soundtrack. And “Life Aquatic”, too. My favorite has got to be Seu Jorge’s cover of Davids Bowie’s “Five Years”. Have you seen “Fantastic Mr. Fox”? Great music, great story, and such a handsome looking film too.

    • christian

      i haven’t see FMF yet, but it’s on my weekend list. i’m on the side of the argument most times that wes anderson’s movie soundtracks can almost seem stronger than the movie itself (i feel the same way about sofia coppola films), but the seu jorge soundtrack was so beautiful. for me that was his strongest music choice, other than mark mothersbaugh’s work for ‘bottle rocket’

      grace :)

  • love your top ten, Grace. thanks for sharing. i love alternative music, but classical pieces in film always thrill me as well – some of my favs:

    elegia by new order
    (pretty in pink – in the film but not on the soundtrack)

    por una cabeza by the tango project
    (true lies)

    o mio babinno caro
    (a room with a view)

    La Wally aria: ebben? ne andrò lontana

    aria from goldberg variations by bach
    – maria tipo (hannibal)

    mozart concerto for clarinet & orchestra
    (out of africa)

  • Enjoying all of your tweets over here in sunny England! Had to mention a couple of movies for your compilation..

    I STRONGLY recommend “Withnail & I” and the greatest use of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return).



    …and Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Dead Flowers’ by The Stones wraps up ‘The Big Lebowski’ stupendously!


    “Take her easy dude”

    Much Love x

  • I love some of the choices above (especially “Don’t You Forget About Me”), and found that my most played soundtrack choices are from:

    “Moulin Rouge”

    “Kissing Jessica Stein” soundtrack
    esp. the tracks by Blossom Dearie


    “Sliding Doors” (though perhaps I am biased because I love the movie so much)

  • Love the Tweets Grace! Greetings from sunny England. I had to throw my two penneth worth at your sound track compilation so here goes:

    Townes Van Zandts cover of The Stones classic ‘Dead Flowers’ wraps up The Big Lebowski beautifully..

    And one my favourite films of all time, ‘Withnail & I’ uses Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return) with comedy and elation in one wrapper!


    Take her easy dude, much love! X

  • I wonder what you thought of the The Runaways (which I unfortunately haven’t seen yet, being outside the US). When I was 14, my friend and I adored this band, they were only a year or two older than we were. I can still sing along to all the lyrics and have all the vinyl… How innocent we were of the real story.
    But I am curious what the younger generation (under 40…) think of it – times really have changed in many ways. But maybe not all?
    Original soundtracks, rather than just old tracks in movies… again, it’s the old stuff from when I was a teen that still gets me bopping, like Saturday Night Fever. Age, I know ;)

  • omg. I just got misty-eyed listing to “This Is The Day”. That song, that movie, kind of defined high school for me.
    “City Girl” by Kevin Shields, from Lost in Translation and “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed, from Trainspotting are other all-time-bests.

  • The first thing that jumps to mind when I think of great songs in movies is “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, from Stranger than Paradise.

  • I agree with Jenn Trapp about the Crow soundtrack. SO. GOOD.

    And Ladybird is totally right about the Little Miss Sunshine stuff. Devotchka’s “How It Ends”? Le sigh.

    I’m kinda surprised no one has mentioned High Fidelity yet. It’s where I discovered The Beta Band. And Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time” is just some of my fave Dylan ever.
    And of course, Jack Black’s cover of “Let’s Get It On”.

    My all time favourite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has Beck’s great cover of “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIVh8Mu1a4Q
    Jon Brion’s instrumental score is really the star musically, though. I used “Row” and “Peer Pressure” for walking down the aisle music at my wedding.

    And of course, the “Tiny Dancer” scene from Almost Famous.

  • Grace!

    What about “Like a Friend” by Pulp on Great Expectations?

    I loooove that song, works as Soundtrack Song and Let’s Wake Up In A Good Mood Song.

  • ” “Air raid!” will always remind me of why I love Parker Posey so much.”
    OUI! oh man, I love this post so much.
    dazed and confused + cherry bomb! (to name one) I sung this recently with a group of wannabe rock stars – aka hubby & his boys recently… def not same as karaoke.. embarrassing but super fun! :)

  • I enjoyed this post but I was surprised you aren’t a fan of Badly Drawn Boy. Yes – his stuff can start to sound the same (my husband hates him and can instantly detect when it comes on the ipod rotation) but “Once Around the Block” really is a gem. I’m not sure it’s been in a movie but you should try it.

  • I love this discussion, and the focus on Wes Anderson films is an added bonus. I would like to mention The Darjeeling Limited- I love its soundtrack!

    Another personal favorite is the soundtrack of The Men Who Stare At Goats.

    Sometimes a lesser known song is made memorable because it is so aptly featured in a film. I never noticed Baby You’re A Rich Man much before I saw The Social Network. But the song, accompanied by a pensive Jesse Eisenberg refreshing his FB page is now an icon for our age. I remember it every time I use the internet (which is mostly all my waking life).

  • I recently watched Greenberg and Youth in Revolt in the same night, and the next day bought both soundtracks. Greenberg is 70s sunshine rock curated and embellished by LCD Soundsystem. Youth in Revolt apparently involves songs of the “Twee” movement, which for me translates into a little action adventure tunage. I’ve also been listening to the Pretty In Pink soundtrack — Echo and the Bunnymen, Smiths, New Order, Suzanne Vega…quite the sampler.

  • Ah, Empire Records… so high school.

    My fav from the movie is “Money” as performed by the Flying Lizards. So great to run to/wake up to.

    But I also loved the movie Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrman also did Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge,) the song Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps is fantastic.

  • I second “Elegia” from Pretty in Pink. The entire soundtrack is pretty fantastic and makes me nostalgic for the 80s. Also love “Whistle Down the Wind” by Nick Heyward in Sixteen Candles and “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus in “Silence of the Lambs” (the tucking scene). Oh and “Just Like Honey” at the end of Lost in Translation.

  • This Is The Day – such a great song!

    I could listen to the entire Pretty In Pink soundtrack daily. I always wanted to be Andy & I had such a crush on Andrew McCarthy.

    I saw Suzi Quatro not too long ago on an old Happy Days rerun, Joanie wanted to runaway & join the band, lol!

    My Empire Records CD is at the door ready to bring to work tomorrow & I’m off to watch The Royal Tannenbaums now.

    Thanks for the flashbacks!

  • The soundtrack for Juno is one of my all time favorites (as well as favorite movie)…it kind of just seemed crafted together like a superb homemade mixtape…love!

    But, of course, Royal Tenenbaums takes the cake. I watch it at least thrice a year. Wigwam by Bob Dylan is such a great instrumental piece that really captures the 70s nostalgia mood.

  • Until the End of the World (directed by Wim Wenders) has an amazing soundtrack. It puts me in a creative zone.

    I second Marie Antoinette. Right now I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack from I’m Not There.

    And… Across the Universe is the soundtrack of my life, if only I could randomly break out into Beatles songs… ::sigh::

  • This is one of my favorite discussion topics! And here are some of my favorite movie soundtracks… Trainspotting, Dazed & Confused, Reality Bites, Rules of Attraction (so many great 80s/90s hits), Amadeus, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation, Garden State (as a collection alone – annoying in the movie), Stand By Me, Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever, 500 Days of Summer. I could probably go on and on, but those are the top few that come to mind.






  • “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”
    The last seen is awesome with Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” playing.
    I lived that movie. It totally reminds me of growing up in the South, especially the football coach. I had one just like him.

  • What a surprise – I didn’t see this post until this morning, and I had just watched Empire Records last night! Definitely one of my favorite soundtracks. “Hey Joe… where you going with that gun?”

    A lot of my other favorites have also already been mentioned: High Fidelity (Walking on Sunshine, Ooh Baby I love your way, too many to list!), The Crow (Burn by the Cure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyr5WdrEvGI), Lost in Translation, Amelie, and the Royal Tennenbaums.

    And who can forget the opening of Trainspotting with Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life?” Does anyone else wonder what they were thinking when they made it the soundtrack for a cruiseship commercial? I also really enjoyed the Snatch soundtrack and the Propellerheads’ “Spybreak” during the lobby scene in the Matrix.

  • Just a quick note to Dasha – Wes Anderson is an AMAZING director!!
    Also, all of his soundtracks are incredible. You should definitely watch his movies. . . .Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou!!!

  • I took a weekend roadtrip this weekend and filled the CD player with nothing but soundtracks! They included Wedding Singer, Reality Bites, Grey’s Anatomy volume 3, Glee volume 1, and my latest favorite New Moon (Twilight movie #2). Great Expectations and Empire Records are also high up on my playlists.

  • @caitlin: A thousand times yes to “Cosmic Dancer”! I love the Billy Elliot soundtrack.

    @Rachel E.: That was a perfect use of “Most of the Time,” wasn’t it? I almost listed it in this comment until I went back to look at the others and saw you’d mentioned it already.

    I’m also fond of a song in Ratatouille called “Le Festin,” sung by a girl called Camille. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_hdmt4vpBo

    I know the post is about movies, but can I mention a couple of my favorites from television?

    “Prophets,” by A.C. Newman, from How I Met Your Mother. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRqWWR8b4Wg

    “If It’s the Beaches,” by the Avett brothers, from Friday Night Lights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVtkOUJhpcA

    “I’m the Man Who Murdered Love,” by XTC, from Gilmore Girls. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-Z22nnMvzA

  • I agree with Christina Marie about Strictly Ballroom- great soundtrack

    Will always love Danger Zone from Top Gun, Porcelain from The Beach, Whole Wide World from Stranger than Fiction, I’m Shipping Up to Boston from The Departed, the entire Wayne’s World soundtrack, and The Thomas Crown Affair soundtrack are some of my favorites. How on earth did you manage to keep your list down to only 5?

  • Darren Aronofsky’s movie Pi had the soundtrack from Clint Mansell. It’s not the kind of music I normally listen to but I listened to this constantly in a former life as a cubical rat.
    Save Me by Aimee Mann in Magnolia. It blurred a line between a song put into a movie and a movie written about a song.

    Another Wim Wenders film “End of Violence” had a great soundtrack. The late, great Vic Chesnutt and Michael Stipe’s Injured Bird was one of many worthwhile songs.

  • These songs are all fantastic draggy-morning fixes – thank you!

    Also, another great soundtrack to pull from: Adventureland. :)

  • the the! i LOVE the the…they got be through high school. i’ve seen empire records but i don’t remember “this is the day” being in it. was it just on the soundtrack?

    for me two of the movies/soundtracks that come to mind are reality bites and dazed and confused. i absolutely love classic rock and both of the dazed and confused soundtracks are full of great classics. and reality bites just takes me back to the 90’s in the biggest way and i love that.

  • the the! i LOVE the the…they got be through high school. i’ve seen empire records but i don’t remember “this is the day” being in it. was it just on the soundtrack?

    for me two of the movies/soundtracks that come to mind are reality bites and dazed and confused. i absolutely love classic rock and both of the dazed and confused soundtracks are full of great classics. and reality bites just takes me back to the 90′s in the biggest way and i love that.

  • cool collection you put together – it must have taken you awhile!

    my favourite movie song BY FAR is Carly Simon’s “New Jerusalem” from the movie “Working Girl”

  • Rod Stewart’s Maggie May at the end of Lords of Dogtown, when Heath Ledger is sipping on jack and sanding and polishing a surfboard. I tear up every time. So good. So good.

  • i know this is a really late comment, and you already have so many, but being the former owner of an independent video store i have to add that almost any movie by jim jarmusch has a great soundtrack. john lurie and tom waits started out on the early Jarmusch films (i used to own the soundtrack to “Night On Earth,” by Tom Waits), then there is Neil Young doing the score for “Dead Man” and The RZA (sp?) doing the same for “Ghost Dog.” The compilation from “Broken Flowers” is also a lot of fun (if I ever made a movie I would definitely want to include a track by Holly Golightly).

    I saw someone mentioned Wim Wenders. “Paris, Texas” is an amazing and haunting movie with an amazing score by Ry Cooder.

    It’s not like I ever went clubbing, but I still owned the soundtrack to “Party Girl” with Parker Posey (who, of course, I wanted to be). And although that’s my favorite soundtrack to a Parker Posey movie, my all-time favorite movie with her is “Daytrippers.”

    I’m sure there are many foreign titles that are missing, but the one that comes to mind immediately is the gypsy soundtrack to “The Crazy Stranger.”

    hope i wasn’t redundant. i didn’t thoroughly read every other comment. and thanks for a fun conversation.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.