Three Songs Forever Tainted by the Movies

by | Jul 25th, 2011 | 9:45AM | Filed under: Hum Along, In My Humble Opinion

Like me, you probably associate certain albums or songs with memorable periods, milestones, or events in your life. For example, my roommate in college had a thing for Michael Bolton, so whenever I hear one of his “Greatest Hits,” I’m immediately transported back to my freshman year dorm room. If I hear song from Norah Jones’ critically acclaimed “Come Away With Me,” I’m whisked off to a bed & breakfast my husband and I stayed during our honeymoon where that album played nonstop in the common room. I connect most songs with positive memories—but there are unfortunately a few tunes that I once liked… only to have them ruined by films. Here are my top three:

1) Singin’ in the Rain

I really wish this song made my mind recall Gene Kelly dancing around joyfully amidst puddles in the 1952 musical of the same name. Alas, once I saw Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, this little ditty (ranked #3 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 songs in American cinema—and linked to Kelly’s film, of course) only served to conjure up disturbing flashbacks of Malcolm McDowell’s Alex DeLarge and his gang of Droogs enjoying a night of “ultra-violence,” which consists of breaking into a writer’s home, beating him, and raping his wife… all while belting out “Singin’ in the Rain.” [Shudder.]

2) Stuck in the Middle with You

During my senior year of high school, my friends and I went through a phase of listening to a lot of ’70s songs. We were big fans of The Eagles and The Steve Miller Band (even saw them in concert at the time), and we also took a liking to a 1972 Stealers Wheel song called “Stuck in the Middle with You.” Now, I’m really glad that none of us were hip enough at that point to see Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs when it came out in 1992—the year of our graduation—because otherwise we would’ve all been scarred for life. When I finally rented the film years later, I was horrified that “Stuck in the Middle with You” ended up being the soundtrack to which Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) dances around like a maniac before torturing an LA police office and slicing off his freakin’ ear. Those few minutes destroyed “Stuck” for me. I always turn it off now when it comes on the radio—it makes me nauseous now. Sadness.

3) Sister Christian

Time for a disclaimer of sorts: I wasn’t actually a fan of this 1984 Night Ranger power-ballad before seeing how it was used in 1997′s Boogie Nights, but I have to admit that it was a fun one to bust out if, say, it came on the radio while you were on a long road trip and you had the windows down and just wanted to be goofy and rock out. But after I heard it playing in the background during the first half of the “drug deal gone incredibly awry” scene in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Golden Age of Porn” drama, I’ve never been able to listen to it again without seeing the mustachioed gun-loving dude to the right (Alfred Molina). The weird thing is that Rick Springfield’s hit song “Jessie’s Girl” played during the last and most tense part of this same scene, but for whatever reason it’s only “Sister Christian” that I associate with the drugged-up, bare-chested, speedo-wearing kingpin.


I know I can’t be the only one who’s had a song ruined, or at least severely tainted, by its use in a film. What songs would be on your Tarnished by the Movies list?

120 Responses to “Three Songs Forever Tainted by the Movies”

  1. Daisey
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” as used in David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” which also ruined the song of the same name.

  2. Phil
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Wow. Judging by your examples, your definition of ruined is the same as my definition of enhanced.

  3. ed p.
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    time is on my side from the movie fallen, creepy

  4. stingray 806
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    time is on my side from the movie fallen,,,,, creepy

  5. Matthew C
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Instead of the category “in my humble opinion”, I would have appreciated some “in your humble narrator’s opinion”.

    Also, I’m split on Singing in the Rain, half the time I think of the dish washing scene in What About Bob”. Classic :)

  6. Jeannie
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    You were always on my mind was ruined by practical magic the ironic thing is I adore the move could watch it everyday and never tire of it, but I can’t listen to the song anymore totally ruined.

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Malibu Barbie
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Actually Singin in the rain was not a much liked song in my house until we had seen that movie.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars
    Laurence Galian
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    All the beautiful Beethoven music during “A Clockwork Orange” was ruined for many decades for me by the film!

  7. Mike
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Don’t forget “Goodbye Horses” from Silence of the Lambs and comedically/disturbingly used in Clerks II.

  8. M.
    Posted on August 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    @Joey TwoTimes
    How DARE you criticize the fine work of Ennio Morricone!

  9. Scott
    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 1:46 am

    No! Bohemian Rhapsody was not an original from Wayne’s World. Go back another 20 years!

  10. BrokeDog
    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Not a “movie” BUT, I absolutely cannot stand hearing my beloved Heart song “What About Love” being played while dust and dirt jump on those “swiffer”-type dust-mops!!!

  11. iNapper
    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Purple Rain (the movie) ruined Purple Rain (the album) for me. That movie is disgusting when I look at it now. Prince plays a women-beating pig. The movie is more soft-core porn than I remembered from my youth. Total trash! Can’t hear Prince the same way. I used to think he was this Hendrix-esque rock star, but after rewatching the film Purple Rain, I see he was as low-brow as they come. And strange — really wierd that guy is. Appollonia was the only thing good in that movie, and her song, Sex Shooter is a laugh now when I hear it (which is only when that movie is on).

  12. fc cooper
    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    “Au Claie de la Lune” played overandoverandover by Patti McCormack as the hideous terrifying little Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed…A beautiful, delicate song ruined by that spawn of satan!

  13. fc cooper
    Posted on August 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Oh hey Tammy B you know that story Small Sacrifices was true? Happened in Eugene/Springfield Oregon. Makes that song almost completely unlistenable for me. BTW, the real DA really adopted the surviving child–Angels do exist to balance the devils.

  14. Omar
    Posted on August 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    wow i did not know that there were so many judgmental people who just listen to music without even paying attention to the feeling that these directors are trying to put in you(that’s what she said) you are all wusses!!!!

  15. Chris
    Posted on August 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    What about Layla being used in good fellas. Every time I hear Duane all man slide work in that song. I think about denro beating someone.

  16. Ariel
    Posted on August 5, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Ok so what about Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “The Midnight Special” in “The Twilight Zone?” It only plays for a small part during the opening scene when Dan Akroyd and Albert Brooks are riding down the road; however, every time I hear that song I immediately think of Dan asking if Albert wants to see something really scary then turns into that blue thing, and it gives me chills!

  17. b Robert
    Posted on August 9, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Tiny Tim “singing” Tip Toe Thru The Tulips in Isidious nothing can hurt that song apparrently the movie needed some laughs or they were going for squirm factor or Tiny Tim’s ghost was behind all the spookery might be enought to finally make him hip

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Posted on August 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm