10 Awesomely ridiculous ’80s songs sung by characters in a movie

If you are like me you treasure ’80s movies and how wonderfully horrible they are. One of my favorite movie devices studios used a lot was have the characters in the movie sing a song that could then be promoted on the radio to boost awareness of the movie.  This, of course, led to some horribly bad music sung by actors while “in character” that really had very little or nothing to do with the movie.  Some of them worked, most of them didn’t.

I say they were horribly bad, but the reason I remember a lot of these is because I owned them either on the movie soundtrack or on an audio tape that I recorded from the TV.

Here are ten of my favorite ridiculously awesome ’80s songs sung by movie characters.

The Nerds Song by the Tri-Lambdas – From 1984’s epic Revenge of the Nerds.  The Tri-Lambs put on quite a show for the final carnival.  Lamar rapping while wearing the ’80s obligatory Beat It jacket (bonus points for no sleeves) along with Poindexter’s electric violin and Tashi the Korean dressed as an American Indian banging a gong.  Classic.

No on 15 by the Tri-Lambdas – From Revenge of the Nerds Part II in 1987.  The nerd gang gets back together and puts on a rockin’ show to vote down Proposition 15.  If I’m not mistaken, I thought Prop 15 was voted on by the International Greek Council of Fraternities so I’m not sure how any of these random party people can vote “No on 15”.  Anyway, Lamar is back rapping again and this time he’s joined by Barry Sobel doing a very Beastie Boys-esque rap.  This one is more fun than the last song, but the first movie was a better movie.

Are You Ready for Freddy? by Fat Boys featuring Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) – In 1988, the Fat Boys were asked to record the “theme” for Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4.  This was the result, which included Robert Englund actually doing a rap as Freddy at the end.  Yes, the quality is a bit questionable, however I was a huge Fat Boys fan in the ’80s so I loved it.  Surprisingly, even though this was released as a single promoting the movie, it was not included on the official soundtrack.  I got it off the Fat Boys album “Coming Back Hard Again”, which I still have on audio cassette.

City of Crime by Pep Streebeck and Joe Friday (Dan Ackroyd/Tom Hanks) – The 1987 Dragnet “reboot” is an underrated movie.  I mean,  it’s not fantastic, but Tom Hanks and Dan Ackroyd obviously have a ton of fun doing their characters and Hanks especially is hilarious as the energetic, if oddly named, Pep Streebeck.  I really enjoy this song which played during the end credits and was included on the movie’s soundtrack.  Which I own.  Again, on audio cassette.

Babysittin’ Blues by Chris and the kids (Elizabeth Shue) – From the awesome Adventures in Babysitting in 1987.  Elizabeth Shue, Anthony Rapp and Keith Coogan sing a blues song that summarized perfectly the plot of the movie.  Is it silly and cheesy?  Yes.  Do I own it?  Of course.

One Crazy Summer
Don’t Look Back by Cassandra (Demi Moore) – Demi Moore plays Cassandra, a hippie musician in One Crazy Summer from 1986.  At one point in the movie she performs this song at the Dew Drop Inn and it’s your typical boring, pop-synth melody that you’d hear all over the radio in the ’80s.  I can’t even find a video of this online, that’s how little people think of this song.

Skeet Surfin’ by Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) – From the awesome Elvis movie parody, Top Secret in 1984.  I realize this was a parody movie by the guys that made Airplane, so the whole performance is tongue-in-cheek, but this is a really funny song.  I love it.  Along with the other Nick Rivers song How Silly Can You Get?

Hyde’s Got Nothin’ To Hide by Mr Hyde (Mark Blankfield) – From a little known raunchy adult comedy called Jekyll & Hyde Together Again in 1982.  One of my favorite late night comedies that’s a twist on Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde where an uptight, dorky doctor is tranformed into a vulgar, sex obsessed Mr Hyde by mistakenly snorting tainted powder.  The whole movie is silly and at the end Mr Hyde breaks out into a random song that is totally and completely awesome and ridiculous.  I, of course, have this song recorded off the TV.

7th Heaven by Laura Charles (Vanity) – From Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon in 1985.  I love this movie, and this song isn’t too bad (although not the best on the soundtrack).  However, it’s Vanity’s performance of this song in the movie that has me cringing away in embarrassment.  WTF, Vanity?  You look like one of the 9 year old performers on Star Search.  AWFUL!

Anything Can Happen On Halloween by The Grand Wiz (Tim Curry) – From 1986’s The Worst Witch. This is probably the most overtly ridiculous musical sequence in movie history. Not only is the song absolutely horrible, but Curry manages to overact every single moment he’s on screen (even more than usual). He even has a little “moment” right before the song starts where he looks like he’s having an orgasm. WTF was that?!

That’s it.  I really, really wanted to put David Bowie’s horrible, horrible Labyrinth songs here, but that move was somewhat of a “rock fantasy”.  You don’t cast David Bowie unless you want him to sing, am I right?

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4 Responses to “10 Awesomely ridiculous ’80s songs sung by characters in a movie”

  1. Nice list! I have to agree that I’m also a sucker for in-movie music performances. I loved One Way Love sung and Performed by E.G. “Tommy Pickles” Daily in Better Off Dead.

    It may not register on the ridiculous meter, but I also love the soundtrack to Light of Day, the Michael J. Fox/Joan Jett flick where they’re a in a local dive band, the Barbusters. Obviously Jett is invested in the music, but Michael J. Fox and Michael McKean also sing on and play in the band for real.

  2. Thanks, Shawn, glad you liked it.

    Holy crap, I totally spaced on EG Daily singing that song in Better Off Dead. That is a great call. I totally should have included it.

    Light of Day was an awful movie, my friend. And since it was about a band, the songs were not eligible. On the same token, I would have included the songs from Eddie and the Cruisers but, again, the movie was about a band, so I couldn’t.

    I have an article planned, which this whole list started from, about my favorite “fake” bands. Eddie and the Cruisers would be on that list. As well as Spinal Tap.

  3. fulgora77 Says:

    No love for Lea Thompson singing in Howard the Duck? “Hunger City” was an awesome song, best on the soundtrack. I still have it on cassette!

  4. Do you have any idea where I might can find Demi Moore’s tune “Don’t Look Back”?? I’m having a hard time with it.

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