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Best movie soundtrack – which one gets your vote?

My vote goes to Saturday Night Fever, but it's just a personal opinion

So, what would you say is your all-time favourite movie soundtrack? No easy, huh? There are so many great ones to choose from.

In a recent survey of 2,000 people carried out by the people behind the cinema at Bluewater – Showcase Cinemas – Grease has been named the UK’s favourite movie soundtrack of all time. It wouldn’t be my favourite. My vote would go to another John Travolta classic, Saturday Night Fever. Track-for track it takes some beating, in my opinion.

The study was carried out by Showcase Cinemas to celebrate the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife starring Paul Rudd and Finn Wolfhard, which is showing now. I had the good fortune to view the original 1984 film while on holiday in America all those years ago. The speakers in the cinema were quite superb and when the title track came on the sound was amazing and lives long in the memory.

Nearly a quarter of Brits (23%) opted for the iconic 1970s’ musical Grease, with dance classic Dirty Dancing (18%) and ABBA extravaganza Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (16%) rounding off the top three.

Whitney Houston claimed top spot when it came to the UK’s favourite song from a film soundtrack as nearly one-in-five (18%) voted for her iconic power ballad “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard. I prefer the original by Dolly Parton, who wrote it for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. “I will Always Love You” narrowly beat off competition from Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do it For You)”, from 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (17%) and “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, synonymous with 1990s movie Ghost.

The latter would have got my vote. I recall sitting in a Chinese restaurant close the the main roundabout at the end of Orpington High Street one night of celebration many years ago (might have been New Year’s Eve) when one of the diners got up to sing it. I recall thinking that this could be a disaster, especially when it came to hitting the high notes. I need not have worried as the young man was quite brilliant. Did he ‘just happen’ to be dining there that night? I’m not so sure, but it enhanced an excellent evening.

In the battle to be crowned the UK’s favourite tune from an animated movie, the top two could not be separated. Singing bear Baloo from 1967’s Jungle Book took joint top spot with “The Bare Necessities” (26%) alongside the Elton John composition “Circle of Life” from Disney favourite The Lion King. Support from the younger generation saw 21st century favourite “Let it Go” from Frozen propelled into the top three (23%).

More than one-in-five people (22%) choose “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita as their favourite song from a musical. The Andrew Lloyd Webber composition edged its way to the top of the list despite fierce competition from Grease’s “Summer Nights” (21%) and “Grease” (20%), which both landed inside the top three.

In honour of the latest instalment of the Ghostbusters franchise, Showcase Cinemas polled Brits to find out just how iconic the Ghostbusters classic “Ghostbusters (Who Ya Gonna Call?)” really is. A whopping 80% of those surveyed said they knew the iconic song.

However, one-in-three identified the James Bond theme as the most recognisable movie song/instrumental, with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic accounting for more than a quarter of votes (26%) and the disturbing Jaws (25%)theme landing in third place.

The older generation tended to opt for songs from older movies, with 25% of over-65s selecting The Bodyguard, Ghost and The Graduate as their favourite movie soundtracks, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, 18-24-year-olds chose “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic as their song of choice.

There was also a gender divide when it came to choosing a favourite song from a movie soundtrack. More than one- in-five women (21%) selected “I Will Always Love You”, while men (17%) primarily went for Simon & Garfunkel favourite “Mrs Robinson” from 1967’s The Graduate. 

My vote would go to “What a Feeling” by Irena Cara from Flashdance which had a pretty good soundtrack overall. The dance sequence still raises the hairs on the back of my neck. See below. Four dancers were involved in the filming of it, including a man. Look closely when she/he moves along the line of judges.

“What a Feeling” was written by Giorgio Moroder when also did “Electric Dreams” from the film of the same name – another personal favourite.

Mark Barlow, UK general manager for Showcase Cinemas, said: “The big screen has provided us with so many iconic soundtracks over the years that it is near impossible to choose a favourite. However, with its enduring popularity Grease took top spot, having maintained its status throughout several generations.

“Elsewhere it was interesting to see the UK was unable to decide when it came to their favourite song from an animated movie, with both “The Bare Necessities” and “Circle of Life” providing a heart-warming dose of nostalgia whenever they are heard.”

The survey also revealed that 71% said a good film soundtrack is important to them, with only 20% saying it doesn’t matter to their enjoyment of a movie.

BEST MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS OF ALL TIME

  1. Grease (1978)
  2. Dirty Dancing (1987)
  3. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
  4. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  5. The Greatest Showman (2017)
  6. The Bodyguard (1992)
  7. Top Gun (1986)
  8. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  9. The Graduate (1967)
  10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

BEST MOVIE SONGS OF ALL TIME

  1. Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You” – The Bodyguard
  2. Bryan Adams – “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
  3. The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody” – Ghost
  4. The Bee Gees – “Stayin’ Alive” – Saturday Night Fever
  5. Simon & Garfunkel – “Mrs Robinson” – The Graduate
  6. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – “Summer Nights” – Grease
  7. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” – Dirty Dancing
  8. Elton John – “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” – The Lion King
  9. Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On” – Titanic
  10. Huey Lewis and the News – “The Power of Love” – Back to the Future
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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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