May 14, 2011

Melodies, Marketing & Music Videos

A little birdie told me the movie Top Gun is celebrating 25 years! Immediately I felt old, but then the soundtrack filled my head as did the music videos. MTV was movie’s best friend. Before any big-budget movie came out, images from it were circulating MTV in the form of a music video.  I remember the video for Kenny Loggins' “Danger Zone” as music spliced with Tom Cruise’s image. And who could forget John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” video. I couldn’t wait to see these movies.
Today, movies don’t take advantage of this tie-in and marketing. I rarely know a song belongs to a movie, much less having a song sell the movie. I was too young to watch Breakfast Club when it first came out, but the music video “Don’t You Forget about Me” allowed me to feel a part of the experience. And I knew the words to every single song on the Footloose and BOTH Dirty Dancing soundtracks. Now MTV showcases pregnant teenagers and a bunch of 20-somethings living together and discovering themselves. Gone are the days of music videos, or at least those being the focus.
A mountain in Colorado on a lovely hike
(in my mind, Wolverton Mountain)

In our novel, Depression Cookies, we used song lyrics in several chapters. Why? I don’t know about everyone else, but so many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in songs. Every single time I hear the lyrics, “Her tender lips are sweeter than honey, and Wolverton Mountain protects her there,” I am transported to my family’s Ford LTD, my father’s voice, and a memorable cross-country car trip. When the 13-year-old in our novel prepares to face a hoard of angry teenage girls, she has the song “Eye of the Tiger” running in her mind. And when the mom is dealing with yet another day of difficult parenting, she hears The Shirelles’ words, “Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this Mama said.” Our book was set in the 80’s, so I was thrilled to revive the images and melodies from my 80’s childhood.
But you know who still does movie music tie-ins really well? Kids’ networks like Nickelodeon and the Disney channel. My girls knew several songs to the movie Lemonade Mouth before the Disney original movie even aired. Over and over the channel played the music video for the song. They sold my kids the movie. (Okay, they sold me the movie, too, but now I get to pretend I’m only sitting down to watch such things so I can bond with my kids.)
I love to pick up a book and have the author mention a timely song that transports me. Now there’s even the concept of making book trailers to sell books. Images and songs as a marketing gimic to sell product. Hmmmm, I guess the 80’s are being revived.
Do you have a favorite song that transports you to a specific memory? If so, please share! I'll be singing right along with you!


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even know where to begin with songs that transport me back to a specific memory. Oh, I'm going to try anyway!

Any song from the Grease soundtrack brings me right back to sitting in my aunt and uncle's house with 5 or 6 of my cousins. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" brings me back to my very early childhood . . . It's the first "favorite song" that I can remember. Oh, and "Living on a Prayer" puts me right back in 2nd grade dancing with my high schooler babysitter with her big Jersey hair!

Ok, I'll stop now before I write a novel :-) . . . I laughed when you mentioned Lemonade Mouth. My daughter didn't even want to watch it, but I dvr'd it because I did - and I'll still use the excuse that I was only watching it for my daughter!

I found this post through the blogathon, and I'm very happy that I did!

Beth said...

Also a Dirty Dancing fan -- came out when I was a freshmen at Mt Holyoke College, where Baby (real name Frances after Frances Perkins, an MHC grad and first woman appointed to the US cabinet) says she is headed to MHC in the fall. Lots of cheering in the theater over that line.

Vision Quest was great to run to in high school cross country -- especially "Only the Young" by Journey.

Sixteen Candles came out when I turned 16. Love the Thompson Twins "If You Were Here."

My favorite Disney songs would have to be from Enchanted, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Mermaid.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks guys! I can't believe I forgot Sixteen Candles and Girls Just Want to Have Fun (I love the song and the movie!). Now I'm singing along to my girls' favorite tunes. I love songs.