The Way the Music Died

She’s happily listening to “American Girl.” And none of us ever will again.
Photo credits: Pyxurz

I’ve always had an inexplicable aversion to Chianti. If someone were to just fill up my glass without my knowledge I’d drink it and love it; but I won’t order it, I don’t want to talk about it, and even seeing the name on the label sends a tiny chill down my spine. I recently realized the source of my repugnance is the same as the reason I can’t ever get through the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty – it’s Hannibal Lecter’s fault. The Senator’s daughter innocently jamming out to the tune, just before being kidnapped by Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, officially killed a once perfectly harmless – and arguably awesome – song.

While effective, psycho killers aren’t the only method of slaughtering a beautiful song. Alcohol-inspired sing-a-longs are also deft music killing machines. Thanks to the movie 27 Dresses, and every single nightclub in the entire city of Las Vegas, “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” respectively, have each lost a coveted spot on my iPod.

TV show theme songs are also music assassins, but the death is long and torturous – often lasting for years. Can anyone still listen to The Who’s “Who Are You” or “Baba O’Riley” without visions of crime tape and blood spatter? And while I never personally enjoyed Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait,” I think Dawson’s Creek brought that song both to life and death.

Last, and absolutely least, commercials are the official graveyard of amazing songs. If it’s a car commercial, your song is safe. If it’s an Old Navy commercial (RIP “Only in My Dreams” and “Sister Christian”) then I highly recommend you hit mute or get a TiVo.

Some songs are immortalized by their on-screen presence. Just ask Kenny Loggins or the cast of My Best Friend’s Wedding. I’ll never be able to separate Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” from the train scene in Risky Business, or “Playing with the Boys” from Cruise and Kilmer’s glistening abs in Top Gun. Sure a movie montage here and there may briefly dampen the spirit of the song, but nothing brings my musical bliss to a screeching halt faster than the image of that creepy Buffalo Bill asking Katherine to “put the lotion in the basket” whenever Mr. Petty starts his croon. Incidentally, I also hate fava beans.

What’s the song you can’t ever listen to the same way again?


About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
This entry was posted in 80s, Commentary, Humor, Movies, Music, Nostalgia, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Way the Music Died

  1. Amazing Grace–not that uplifting of a song in general (in my wretch-ed opinion) reminds me of the scene in Silkwood when Karen is about to bite it.

  2. This one’s a double-edged sword thingy – Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” in Say Anything. It was a major moment in the movie and in pop culture. But then became the standard that any single guy had to live up to. All single guys for years afterwards (including me) had live up to the image of Lloyd Dobbler holding up the boom box. Just couldn’t be done…

  3. Tyler Durdan says:

    Going with Top Gun, “Highway to the Danger Zone”. Negative Ghostrider the pattern is full.
    It’s also hard for me not to think of the clown faced sadistic tractor trailer truck from Maximum Overdrive anytime I hear AC/DC’s “Who Made Who”.

  4. gojulesgo says:

    A most excellent point! As soon as you said the word ‘Chianti’ I pictured that scene. I get bummed when a song I think is ‘new and hip’ turns up on a HP Printer commercial two days later. And I’m totally with you on “I Don’t Wanna Wait”! Oh! Okay! Here’s a song I LOVE, but was tainted by its presence as the theme song to Audrina Patridge’s reality show – “Uncharted” by Sara Bareilles.

  5. Haycomet says:

    I can’t listen to “In the Arms of an Angel” without thinking about precious little puppies that have been beaten, and kitties with only one eye, thanks to the ASPCA commercial.

  6. What about “Stuck in the Middle with You?” from Reservoir Dogs? Nothing like torturing a person to a musical backdrop to make you cringe every time you hear the song.

  7. twoboysclub says:

    I’m assuming you’re not fond of fava beans, either. Actually, I felt really weird eating them for the first time last year. Also because of “Lambs”!

  8. marinasleeps says:

    Incidently its a song in that same movie. The scene is with Buffalo Bill applying music and dancing to the song Goodbye Horses.
    That song is just haunting to me now.

  9. The song by the Who that is now use for the CSI TV Show. Also, Once Bitten, Twice Shy is a hard song since it was the song playing when my brother had his rollover car accident (he is okay). Have a Great Day:)

  10. stevebetz says:

    To my big brother George, the richest man in town! (Cue Auld Lang’s Syne) — It’s a Wonderful Life. (I know, not really a “pop” song…)

    In that vein, I’m not sure “Unchained Melody” will ever be de-“Ghost”-ed.

  11. I had a boyfriend use “Heat of the Moment: by Asia as an apology for treating me shabbily and then avoiding me for days so that I couldn’t break up with him. That guy ruined that song for me (much to my husband’s dismay, he loves it).

  12. Katie says:

    I tend to agree, although I have to say that movies/t.v. shows have actually made me love some songs all the more when they bring to mind a particular time in my life or just a fun scene — another from “Top Gun,” the Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts from Friends will always make me smile.

  13. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Nomination | paperballpotluck

  14. kitchenmudge says:

    Didn’t “Clockwork Orange” do a pretty good job of killing the “Ode to Joy”?

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