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Lists of Domination

Habakuk's Top Ten Most Metal Movie Theme Songs Of The Eighties

27/07/12  ||  Habakuk

Introduction

1980 – 1989. Has there ever been a better decade? None has ever reached the hedonistic brilliance of the eighties that helped pave the way for the over the top goodness of Heavy Metal. At least none that I know of – then again, I was born in the eighties. Was this a solid derivation of why this list is here? Probably not, but how about this: it is now here and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, where was I? Along metal’s ascent arc, a different set of cultural treasures deserves the spotlight: movies and their soundtracks. Granted, applying the tag “metal” to most of them showcases a rather loose usage of the term, but what’s important is the spirit they convey. One of unbridled machoism, the power of the individual and someone smashing / flying / shooting things – all to the catchy use of guitars and their retarded brothers, synthesizers. In short: awesomeness. So, here’s a little collection of stuff for cheese-proof metal ears. Even if there are no blastbeats. Oh and hey, here’s a Grooveshark playlist I made for you with all the stuff mentioned here AND MORE: Do it!

Habakuk


Iron Eagle 10. King Kobra: Never say die (Iron Eagle)
Released: 1986

Yeah, no surprise this marks the bottom end of the list. This song, like the movie it accompanies, has all the ingredients but it just doesn’t have the quality to become anyone’s favorite. “Best 80s movie? Iron Eagle, hands down.” – This was the first and last time you ever read that. Why is the song here then? Well, to prove a point right from the get-go: Most shit on this list is formulaic as Hell, but, like the movies, it has something weirdly enjoyable to it. Even if it’s not originality.

  • One-liner: “Don’t try and bring my soul to the ground, my spirit remembers old mountain magic sounds!”
  • Snare diameter: ***
  • Casio: ****


Spinal Tap 9. Spinal Tap: Tonight I’m gonna rock you tonight (Spinal Tap)
Released: 1984

Is it possible to make a metal/80s-related list without Spinal Tap? Well hardly, so I’m not gonna try. From today’s viewpoint though, the style this band/movie parodied has a bit of a proto feel to it, invoking the likes of Def Leppard or Manilla Road at best, rather than Iron Maiden or comparables. So while the movie on principle alone is pretty damn metal, the music rather invokes a late 70s rock vibe. To solve this dilemma, I went and singled out the in my book most metal sounding bit of the soundtrack. And that one would be “Tonight I’m gonna rock you tonight”.

  • One-liner: “You’re too young and I’m too well hung!”
  • Snare diameter: **
  • Casio: *


Terminator 8. Brad Fiedel: Terminator main theme (Terminator)
Released: 1984

“No guitars, yet still you call this metal? GASP!” Yeah, this one’s a bit out of the ordinary on this list. It still sounds like the intro to fucken “Blood red skies” though, so it stays. And I believe that when reading the lyrics to said song, you’ll find quite strong support for the claim that this movie’s post-apocalyptic feel and atmosphere influenced Priest – and many others in the world of metal – quite a bit.

  • One-liner: DU-DU DUN DU-DUNN!
  • Snare diameter: **
  • Casio: *****


Over the top 7. Sammy Hagar: Winner takes it all (Over the top)
Released: 1983

Sammy Hagar. In my mind, that name just equals Camembert for some reason. I’ve never really listened to any Van Halen, and apart from that and “I can’t drive 55”, I don’t think he ever made anything worthwile outside of movie scores. And for such good movies, too! Watching Stallone drive trucks alone is worth your time, but by the time that wailing opening solo for the theme song comes in, you know we’re really talking business. This song definitely lives off its lead guitar and Hagar’s typical 80s delivery. And is there a better way of communicating that the solution to all your problems can be … armwrestling?

  • One-liner: “Never turn away when the challenge is alive!”
  • Snare diameter: **
  • Casio: *


Eat the rich 6. Motörhead: Eat the rich (Eat the rich)
Released: 1987

Motörhead with a title song for a movie? Only in the eighties, and well, count me right in! If there is one person that actually embodies the living bad-ass the 80s movies wanted to create with many of their characters, it’s Lemmy. And he’s a fucken one-liner machine, too. Lemmy actually gets a “Cameo” (ha ha) role as well, and Motörhead add more of a certain grittiness to the already weirdly shabby look of the movie, and the somewhat twisted humor of killing rich restaurant guests to serve them to the next ones intertwines nicely with the band’s crude but effective tongue-in-cheek approach.

  • One-liner: “Sitting there in a high tuxedo, you wanna see my bacon torpedo!”
  • Snare diameter: ***
  • Casio: *


Rocky IV 5. Survivor: Burning Heart (Rocky IV)
Released: 1985

This one’s a tough one – You could probably make a fucken “Top Ten Most Metal Rocky songs” list with “Eye of the tiger” (strong competition thanks to the unstoppable intro) or “No Easy Way Out” marking higher spots. Yes, they are all great, but here I’ll still go with “Burning Heart”. Sure it’s a musical carbon copy of “Eye of the tiger”, but that’s kind of the idea of the whole decade. What gives it the edge for me is that bit of Cold War feel it transports through the first verse, as well as the fact that it’s simply not as overplayed as its bigger brother.

  • One-liner: “Though his body says stop his spirit cries… – ‘NEVEEER’!”
  • Snare diameter: ****
  • Casio: *


Top Gun 4. Kenny Loggins: Danger Zone (Top Gun)
Released: 1986

Kenny Loggins, the Godfather of all things Metal, personally got off his skull throne to receive this song on a stone tablet from Giorgio “Krush” Moroder and Tom “Conan” Whitlock. His throne morphed into the USS Nimitz. White jackets became okay to wear. It was alright to “have a good time” in the Navy Academy showers if you had a bad-ass nickname. Adolescent males poured into recruitment centers. The world was safe. “Playing with the boys” was now diamonds.

  • One-liner: The further on the edge, the hotter the intensity!
  • Snare diameter: *****
  • Casio: ***


Heavy Metal 3. Riggs: Radar rider (Heavy Metal)
Released: 1983

Does anyone know what a “Radar rider” does exactly? I suspect he’s lurking along deserted avenues with the Sentinel, the Solar Angels and the Jawbreaker, but maybe he’s just riding his Corvette convertible through space into earth’s athmosphere to go looking for some Loc-Nar whatchamacallit. Doesn’t make sense to you? Welcome to “Heavy Metal”. The movie. And the genre. Admittedly the movie has a few more boobs than the average metalhead will see after the time for breast-feeding is over, but since they’re animated, I think the parallel’s still strong.

  • One-liner: “Looking for some action nothing short of bad!”
  • Snare diameter: ***
  • Casio: *


Cobra 2. Jean Beauvoir: Feel the Heat (Cobra)
Released: 1983

Talk about underrated classics! Stallone’s “Cobra” is one of the most hilariously terrible movies from the era, going all-in on all imaginable fronts – including the music score. From the non-stop rhythmic synth attack to the MASSIVE drums, everything is in place. It’s got that bouncy yet aggressive eighties bass, ballsy catchiness, crunchy guitars, a classic solo and inane lyrics about – whatever, really. Just feel the heat! An absolute archetype, perfectly executed and a well-deserved place almost at the top spot. AWSOM50 all the way!

  • One-liner: “Enough of all reality but what about your dignity?!”
  • Snare diameter: *****
  • Casio: ****


Top Gun again! 1. Cheap Trick: Mighty Wings (Top Gun)
Released: 1986

Yeah, Top Gun again. It is impossible to leave this out though, as this is in my opinion not just the best 80s movies song, but one of the most retardedly awesome songs ever made, period. It’s cheesy, it’s driving, it’s catchy, and it goes equally well with flying an F-14 Tomcat as with riding Grandpa’s old Volkswagen. Why is that? By a complicated set of wires and tubes running out the radio, the song manages to connect the motor to a hidden kerosene tank, and replaces the standard machinery with a twin turbofan engine. Don’t ask me how it works exactly, I can’t make out the details with my aviator glasses on.

  • One-liner: “I cut the night like a razorblade till I feel THE WAY I WAWWWNNA FEEL!”
  • Snare diameter: ***
  • Casio: *****