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Saturday Videos – John Hughes Edition

August 8, 2009

So, by now you’ve no doubt heard that writer, director, and producer John Hughes died Thursday. He was, of course, known for his work on some of the most beloved films of the 1980s. The point of this post is to just re-emphasise the role music played in said films in the post-punk context. The works which Hughes is most often recognised for, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Breakfast Club, are all among the quintessential youth films of the eighties, and in them music of the time was employed to great effect. Hughes was known to be an avid listener and fan of many of the new wave/new pop groups he used in his films and his soundtracks were pop music events of their time, and still help to define the sound of the eighties for many today.

It has to be kept in mind that some groups not only recorded songs just for his films, but owed their breakthroughs to inclusion in them as well. His use of songs by The Specials, General Public, The Beat, Zapp, The Smiths, Altered Images, New Order, Big Audio Dynamite, and others, was often the first and/or biggest mainstream exposure these artists had (particularly in America), and it certainly was the case that a song could take off to a whole new level of success after appearing in one of Hughes’s movies. Here are a few such songs for all the eighties fans, do enjoy:

If You Leave by OMD. Their breakthrough (and only) hit in North America, written and recorded for, and used to memorable effect in Pretty in Pink.

The Psychedelic Furs re-recorded their song Pretty in Pink in 1985 for inclusion in that same film. The linked video there is the original version of the song from 1981, long considered superior to the film’s re-recorded one, which has gone on to be the band’s most-remembered song.

Bring on the Dancing Horses, a great single by Echo and the Bunnymen, also done for Pretty in Pink.

We can’t leave out Don’t You (Forget About Me), the now-iconic smash hit that brought Simple Minds their biggest success (despite their not having written, or even liked the song).

And also Oh Yeah, by Yello, a bit of weirdness that attained pop culture immortality through its appearance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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