19 Best Songs From '90s Movies We Loved (PHOTOS)

Kimberly Goad | Jan 16, 2016 Movies
19 Best Songs From '90s Movies We Loved (PHOTOS)

The decade that gave us the Macarena, Y2K and soul patches, also gave us a lot of great movie tunes, from heartbreakingly beautiful ballads to danceable ditties.

 

Here are 20 movie songs that might as well be time machines to our best '90s moments.

Image via Paramount Pictures

 

  • "Oh, Pretty Woman" (Pretty Woman)

    1

    Sure, the soundtrack features David Bowie, Robert Palmer, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s Roy Orbison’s 1964 track, which inspired the title of the film that made Julia Roberts a star, that endures.

  • "My Girl" (My Girl)

    2

    The Temptations' “My Girl” was used as the title and theme song of the 1991 flick (and its 1994 sequel, My Girl 2), and it perfectly matched the coming-of-age flick's sweet and nostalgic tone.

  • "I Will Always Love You" (The Bodyguard)

    3

    Whitney Houston originally wanted to sing Jimmy Ruffin's “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” for the lead single in The Bodyguard. But when she discovered the song had been used in Fried Green Tomatoes the year before, her costar Kevin Costner suggested she record Dolly Parton's sumptuous country hit instead. It became Houston's signature song.

     

  • "Son of a Preacher Man" (Pulp Fiction)

    4

    The Dusty Springfield subtle and sexy "Son of a Preacher Man" was used for a key sequence in the Pulp Fiction. Director Quentin Tarantino has said he would have cut the sequence -- in which Uma Thurman and John Travolta's characters meet for the first time -- if he hadn't been able to secure the rights to the tune.

    More from The Stir: 17 Most Badass Heroines on the Big Screen (PHOTOS)

  • "Alright" (Clueless)

    5

    Written and sung by Supergrass, “Alright” became the band’s calling card. “We were a gang of teenagers and this was us remembering the innocence of being 13, before we'd delved into the rock 'n' roll world,” the band’s frontman Gaz Coombes has said.

  • "Kiss From a Rose" (Batman Forever)

    6

    Seal recorded “Kiss From a Rose” for his second album, but it didn’t become a hit until it was used over the end credits of Batman Forever. Featuring the singer's signature silky vocals, it's become a romantic classic.

  • "Lovefool" (William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet)

    7

    After filmmaker Baz Luhrmann chose the unabashedly cotton candy-sweet "Lovefool" for his take on the classic love story, the Cardigans shot to stardom.  The song was later featured on the soundtrack to the Cruel Intentions.

  • "Wannabe" (Spice World)

    8

    All five Spices helped write the lyrics for "Wannabe," the group’s first single. The "Friendship never ends" line in the song became a credo for the Spice Girls. 

    More from The Stir: 15 Shocking Things About Victoria Beckham You Never Knew (PHOTOS)

  • "Incense and Peppermints" (Austin Powers)

    9

    When Strawberry Alarm Clock recorded "Incense and Peppermints" they were trying to sound British, but their fake English accents ended up sounding trippy, which worked well for the film. Oh, behave!

  • "Save Me" (Magnolia)

    10

    Aimee Mann, who contributed almost all the songs in Magnolia, gets credit for making the soundtrack to the movie as epic as the film itself. The song infectious downer "Save Me" was nominated for an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe.

  • "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (Good Will Hunting)

    11

    Al Green recorded the Bee Gees heartbreaker in 1972 for his own album Let's Stay Together. Not only was it featured in Good Will Hunting, but also in the 1999 movie Notting Hill.

  • "Let My Love Open the Door" (Grosse Pointe Blank)

    12

    The Minnie Driver-John Cusack rom-com Grosse Pointe Blank isn’t the only film to showcase the Pete Townshend song (Look Who's Talking, Mr. Deeds, and Along Came Polly also featured it) but it was used to best advantage here. 

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  • "Streets of Philadelphia" (Philadelphia)

    13

    Director Jonathan Demme asked Bruce Springsteen for a rock song to open his movie about a lawyer dying of AIDS. The Boss started writing it based lyrics he had already written about hte death of a friend, but it didn't work with a rock beat. He sent what he considered an unfinished demo to Demme, who thought the haunting song was perfect for his movie, just as it was. It won four Grammys and an Oscar.

  • "Beauty and the Beast" (Beauty and the Beast)

    14

    The message of the title track to Beauty And The Beast -- the first Disney film to make it to Broadway -- is that a couple can be "as old as time" no matter how different they are. 

  • "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" (The Lion King)

    15

    The song, written by Elton John, was featured in the Disney movie when the main character, Simba the Lion, falls in love with his childhood friend Nala, to the dismay of his friends Timon and Pumba. Sure, it's a little schmaltzy, but Elton gets away with it.

  • "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Armageddon)

    16

    U2 was originally asked to sing the song about treasuring every moment spent with another person. The idea for Aerosmith to perform it came only after Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler, was cast in the film. Now we can't imagine it without Tyler's trademark raspy yell.

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  • "That Thing You Do" (That Thing You Do)

    17

    In the movie, the song becomes the breakout hit of the fictional ‘60s Pop band The Wonders. Although life didn’t imitate art, “That Thing You Do” sounded enough like the early Beatles to make it memorable.

  • "Breath" (Singles)

    18

    Considering Singles takes place in Seattle in the early '90s, it's only fitting that the movie features music from Alice in Chains, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam, who performed the sweeping “Breath.”

  • "My Heart Will Go On" (Titanic)

    19

    When it comes to heartwrenching ballads, before there was Adele, there was Celine Dion. No one could hear "My Heart Will Go On" without conjuring up sad images of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio -- or belting it out in the privacy of our cars.   

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