1980 – 1989. Has there ever been a better decade? None has ever
reached the hedonistic brilliance of the eighties that helped pave the
way for the over the top goodness of Heavy Metal. At least none that I
know of – then again, I was born in the eighties. Was this a solid
derivation of why this list is here? Probably not, but how about this:
it is now here and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, where was I? Along metal’s ascent arc, a different set of cultural
treasures deserves the spotlight: movies and their soundtracks. Granted,
applying the tag “metal” to most of them showcases a rather loose usage
of the term, but what’s important is the spirit they convey. One of
unbridled machoism, the power of the individual and someone smashing /
flying / shooting things – all to the catchy use of guitars and their
retarded brothers, synthesizers. In short: awesomeness. So, here’s a
little collection of stuff for cheese-proof metal ears. Even if there
are no blastbeats. Oh and hey, here’s a Grooveshark playlist I made for you with all the stuff mentioned here AND MORE: Do it!
10. King Kobra: Never say die (Iron Eagle)
Yeah, no surprise this marks the bottom end of the list. This song,
like the movie it accompanies, has all the ingredients but it just
doesn’t have the quality to become anyone’s favorite. “Best 80s movie?
Iron Eagle, hands down.” – This was the first and last time you ever
read that. Why is the song here then? Well, to prove a point right from
the get-go: Most shit on this list is formulaic as Hell, but, like the
movies, it has something weirdly enjoyable to it. Even if it’s not
9. Spinal Tap: Tonight I’m gonna rock you tonight (Spinal Tap)
Is it possible to make a metal/80s-related list without Spinal Tap?
Well hardly, so I’m not gonna try. From today’s viewpoint though, the
style this band/movie parodied has a bit of a proto feel to it, invoking
the likes of Def Leppard or Manilla Road at best, rather than Iron
Maiden or comparables. So while the movie on principle alone is pretty
damn metal, the music rather invokes a late 70s rock vibe. To solve this
dilemma, I went and singled out the in my book most metal sounding bit
of the soundtrack. And that one would be “Tonight I’m gonna rock you
8. Brad Fiedel: Terminator main theme (Terminator)
“No guitars, yet still you call this metal? GASP!”
Yeah, this one’s a bit out of the ordinary on this list. It still
sounds like the intro to fucken “Blood red skies” though, so it stays.
And I believe that when reading the lyrics to said song, you’ll find
quite strong support for the claim that this movie’s post-apocalyptic
feel and atmosphere influenced Priest – and many others in the world of
metal – quite a bit.
7. Sammy Hagar: Winner takes it all (Over the top)
Sammy Hagar. In my mind, that name just equals Camembert for some
reason. I’ve never really listened to any Van Halen, and apart from that
and “I can’t drive 55”, I don’t think he ever made anything worthwile
outside of movie scores. And for such good movies, too! Watching
Stallone drive trucks alone is worth your time, but by the time that
wailing opening solo for the theme song comes in, you know we’re really
talking business. This song definitely lives off its lead guitar and
Hagar’s typical 80s delivery. And is there a better way of communicating
that the solution to all your problems can be … armwrestling?
6. Motörhead: Eat the rich (Eat the rich)
Motörhead with a title song for a movie? Only in the eighties, and
well, count me right in! If there is one person that actually embodies
the living bad-ass the 80s movies wanted to create with many of their
characters, it’s Lemmy. And he’s a fucken one-liner machine, too. Lemmy
actually gets a “Cameo” (ha ha) role as well, and Motörhead add more of a
certain grittiness to the already weirdly shabby look of the movie, and
the somewhat twisted humor of killing rich restaurant guests to serve
them to the next ones intertwines nicely with the band’s crude but
effective tongue-in-cheek approach.
5. Survivor: Burning Heart (Rocky IV)
This one’s a tough one – You could probably make a fucken “Top Ten
Most Metal Rocky songs” list with “Eye of the tiger” (strong competition
thanks to the unstoppable intro) or “No Easy Way Out” marking higher
spots. Yes, they are all great, but here I’ll still go with “Burning
Heart”. Sure it’s a musical carbon copy of “Eye of the tiger”, but
that’s kind of the idea of the whole decade. What gives it the edge for
me is that bit of Cold War feel it transports through the first verse,
as well as the fact that it’s simply not as overplayed as its bigger
4. Kenny Loggins: Danger Zone (Top Gun)
Kenny Loggins, the Godfather of all things Metal, personally got off
his skull throne to receive this song on a stone tablet from Giorgio
“Krush” Moroder and Tom “Conan” Whitlock. His throne morphed into the USS
Nimitz. White jackets became okay to wear. It was alright to “have a
good time” in the Navy Academy showers if you had a bad-ass nickname.
Adolescent males poured into recruitment centers. The world was safe.
“Playing with the boys” was now diamonds.
3. Riggs: Radar rider (Heavy Metal)
Does anyone know what a “Radar rider” does exactly? I suspect he’s
lurking along deserted avenues with the Sentinel, the Solar Angels and
the Jawbreaker, but maybe he’s just riding his Corvette convertible
through space into earth’s athmosphere to go looking for some Loc-Nar
whatchamacallit. Doesn’t make sense to you? Welcome to “Heavy Metal”.
The movie. And the genre. Admittedly the movie has a few more boobs than
the average metalhead will see after the time for breast-feeding is
over, but since they’re animated, I think the parallel’s still strong.
2. Jean Beauvoir: Feel the Heat (Cobra)
Talk about underrated classics! Stallone’s “Cobra” is one of the
most hilariously terrible movies from the era, going all-in on all
imaginable fronts – including the music score. From the non-stop
rhythmic synth attack to the MASSIVE drums,
everything is in place. It’s got that bouncy yet aggressive eighties
bass, ballsy catchiness, crunchy guitars, a classic solo and inane
lyrics about – whatever, really. Just feel the heat! An absolute
archetype, perfectly executed and a well-deserved place almost at the
top spot. AWSOM50 all the way!
1. Cheap Trick: Mighty Wings (Top Gun)
Yeah, Top Gun again. It is impossible to leave this out though, as
this is in my opinion not just the best 80s movies song, but one of the
most retardedly awesome songs ever made, period. It’s cheesy, it’s
driving, it’s catchy, and it goes equally well with flying an F-14
Tomcat as with riding Grandpa’s old Volkswagen. Why is that? By a
complicated set of wires and tubes running out the radio, the song
manages to connect the motor to a hidden kerosene tank, and replaces the
standard machinery with a twin turbofan engine. Don’t ask me how it
works exactly, I can’t make out the details with my aviator glasses on.