Hollywood has incorporated pop songs in its movies ever since the advent of sound, but it only started formally recognizing their significance when they got their own Oscar category in 1934. In the 80 years since, hundreds of tracks have vied for the title of "Best Original Song", and many of them have been genuinely unforgettable. (A lot of them have been emphatically forgotten, too, mind you.)
And, not just the winners; scores of hugely famous and enduring masterpieces were also-rans. From "I've Got You Under My Skin" to "Unchained Melody," "Rainbow Connection" to "On the Road Again," and "Eye of the Tiger" to "Footloose," you could make a killer mixtape of just the "losers" over the past 80 years.
But, what of the winners? Here’s a list of the best of the best, great songs that have endured with grace and timelessness (or have so far, anyway), and which have become essential touchstones in American music history.
You will no doubt note that the list does not include several tunes that might have fit those criteria. Leaving off "White Christmas," "Flashdance," "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," "The Way You Look Tonight," and "Under the Sea" was a matter of careful thought and hair-pullery. But, in the end, we chose to stick to ten songs that not only served their respective films by reflecting and complimenting their themes, but which stand as songwriting benchmarks in their various decades (and even genres).
So let us know in the comments if we left off your fave songs, and why you think they deserved to be included.
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