The Ultimate Sci-Fi & 80s Fantasy Mixtape
The sci-fi and fantasy movies of the 1980s were filled with a ton of memorable, iconic, and blatantly ridiculous music. Here are over 30 of the most beautiful (and most painful) songs of the decade for your listening enjoyment.
REMARK: I tried to focus on movie singles or songs that marked memorable scenes. There’s a ton of great music from 1980s movies, so I focused on just a few. If I had to be completely selfish, this list would be all of the John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream movie soundtracks as well as Basil Poledouris’ sheet music for Conan the Barbarian.
Queen – “Flash Gordon” (1980)
Let’s start with an old favorite. If you don’t like this song, you are Ming the Merciless.
Goblin – The Contamination Soundtrack (1980)
Contamination (also known as Alien contamination) was by no means the most memorable film, but Italian progressive rockers Goblin (Dawn of the Dead) did a great job with that soundtrack.
Don Felder – “Heavy Metal” (1981)
If you were high in 1981, chances are you were listening to the soundtrack of Heavy metal, which incidentally contained almost no heavy metals.
George Harrison – Dream Far From Time bandits (nineteen eighty one)
The perfect background music to travel back in time with a bunch of rowdy dwarves.
Vangelis – All screwed up Blade runner soundtrack (1982)
I know this extends my “no instruments” rule, but I would be remiss if I did not take my hat off to the C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser gate.
Wendy Carlos – All fucked up Tron soundtrack (1982)
The soundtracks of electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos The brilliant and Clockwork Orange are iconic, so it’s easy to forget that she also composed the soundtrack of the original grid’s bleep-bloop.
David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder – “Cat People (put out the fire)” by Cat people (1982)
If you ever find yourself turning into a leopard, here is your theme song.
Tahnee Cain & Tryanglz – “Burn in the Third Degree” (1983)
I love the way that resounding dance floor tune in the nightclub on the wrong side of the slopes at Terminator.
The Rock and ruler soundtrack (1983)
Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Earth, wind and fire in a weird movie by Nelvana on the mouse people or something. Like Don Bluth Heavy metal.
Bauhaus – The Dead of Bela Lugosi Hunger (1983)
This gothic staple opened the favorite vampire cult movie starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and nudity.
Max Rebo Group – “Lapti Nek” (1983)
This was replaced by this ugly “Jedi Rocks” in the 1997 Return of the Jedi Special edition. Forget Greedo’s first shot, “Lapti Nek” was the biggest victim of these dismal crossovers. Fact: The Max Rebo Band plays a style of music known as “Jizz” and is classified as “Jizz-Wailers” (I did not invent).
Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder – “Together in Electric Dreams” (1984)
This song is from Electric dreams, a movie that taught us the important lesson that if you pour champagne on your computer, it will come to life.
Eurythmics – “Sexcrime (nineteen eighty-four)” (1984)
Apparently the Eurythmics soundtrack at 1984 was imposed on the film against the will of the director. Come on everyone, there is a rage in room 101!
Ray Parker Jr. – “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Huey lewis To a bone to pick with this song.
Buckaroo Banzai – “Since I Didn’t Have You” (1984)
Peter Weller covering the Skyliners. Smooth.
Limahl – “The Neverending Story” (1984)
It took 10 hours to write this article because I watched this video for 9 of them.
Iggy Pop – “Repo Man” (1984)
The leader of the Stooges, Iggy Pop, delivers the theme of this cult classic on a punk Emilio Estevez mixed with alien entanglements.
Mark Safan – “Win at the End” of Teen wolf (1985)
Seeing it depresses me about MTV Hot topic to come Teen wolf remake.
Tina Turner – “We don’t need another hero” from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
When the post-apocalypse hits, this song will be played at every prom.
Bryan Ferry – “Is Your Love Strong Enough” from Legend (1985)
Every day, once a day, Tom Cruise looks at himself in the mirror while listening to this song to recharge his batteries.
Oingo Boingo – “Strange Science” (1985)
A hymn to a time when computers could do whatever screenwriters wanted.
Stan Bush – “The Touch” of Transformers: the movie (1986)
This is the ultimate workout montage song. To avoid the remake of the noxious rap-rock.
David Bowie – Magic Dance (1986)
I’m 99% sure David Bowie thought Labyrinth was a documentary he had been hired to tell. Jareth’s role is just the Thin White Duke “doing his thing”.
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth – “Porkchop Express” from Big problem in little China (1986)
This song sounds like the best bar band in the world. I say this as praise.
Huey Lewis and the News – “Back in Time” (1986)
I prefer “The power of love”, but this song earns points for being a little more iconic.
AC / DC – “Who Made Who” (1986)
Stephen King has only directed one film, Maximum overdrive, which was an adaptation of his new “Trucks”. King recruited his favorite band AC / DC to produce an entire album based on his film About Sensitive Machines. Unfortunately, King was coke from his skull for most of production, and the film was a critical and commercial flop.
Cherry Bomb – “Howard the Duck” (1986)
After i laughed at this song in a previous article, I received an email from (someone claiming to be) songwriter Thomas Dolby. He lamented that I don’t make fun of this song anymore.
El DeBarge – “Who’s Johnny” (1986)
In this hit single from Short circuit, everyone is confused as to the identity of an adorable little robot.
“Feed me” from Little shop of horrors (1986)
Even if you hate musicals, it’s hard not to love Rick Moranis humming with a giant carnivorous plant.
Fastway – “Trick or Treat” (1987)
I always liked how Ozzy Osbourne played a televangelist in this gem of horror.
Starship – “Nothing’s gonna stop us now” from Model (1987)
Starship gives me hope that one day I too will be nominated for an Oscar for no particular reason.
Gerard McMann – “Cry Little Sister” by The lost boys (1987)
This song is reminiscent of the good old days. You know, when Jack Bauer was a vampire.
This McDonalds scene from Mac and me (1988)
If you ever want to have a spontaneous dance with aliens while shamelessly shining Shamrock Shakes, this is your jam.
Harry Belafonte – “Line Jump” from beetle juice (1988)
Good job on your test, Winona Ryder. Here is some paranormal activity as a reward.
Run DMC – “Ghostbusters” (1989)
It’s not as good as “Christmas in Hollis”, but at least Run DMC hasn’t been accused of ripping anyone off.
Prince – “Batdance” (1989)
I will not share with you my unnecessarily detailed theory that Purple rain is science fiction, so here’s the next best thing.
Bill & Ted School Report (1989)
“God gave you rock and roll” was 1991, so here are some lyrics from Wyld Stallyns from the last days of the ’80s.
Queen – “Princes of the Universe” from mountain dweller (1989)
This article begins with Queen and ends with Queen. Like every article should.