Among the writers and directors that manage to capture the angst and confusion of being a teenager (and a kid, and an adult, and well, life as a whole, actually), John Hughes is arguably one of the best — especially for kids who grew up in the ’80s. Sure, the man’s not infallible. I am not a fan of really anything that he participated in after 1989, but I know plenty of you have affection for Home Alone, and I forgive you for that. Mostly.
But during my John Hughes years, I got to enjoy a bunch of awesome things he wrote, like Vacation, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful, as well as all the great stuff he directed including Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, She’s Having a Baby, and of course: The Breakfast Club. And whoever was in charge of the soundtracks for each of those films managed to pick songs that matched Hughes’ kick-ass skills, so naturally I own almost every soundtrack to accompany each DVD in my collection.
And so, I made for you, dear hearingade readers, a mix of some of my favorite John Hughes movie tunes. Please enjoy them while quoting memorable lines and doing the Molly Ringwald dance.
If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD)
Everyone remembers the end of Pretty in Pink: the pivotal moment at the Prom where Andie has to choose between Duckie and “Blaine.” She chooses unwisely, but whatever. Duckie totally ends up with hottie Kristy Swanson — and it’s all set against OMD’s pretty love song.
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: For me, this song will always be associated with Cameron and the art museum.
Fire In the Twilight – Wang Chung
Bender leads The Breakfast Club on an adventure outside the library: this song provides the soundtrack to them trying to avoid being caught by Vernon.
Turning Japanese – The Vapors
“Sammy, tell Grandpa not to wait up! Let’s go boogie.” Dong & new lady Marlene peel out to the first notes of this song, leaving Sam on the curb at home in Sixteen Candles.
Young Americans – David Bowie
Bowie’s soothing voice plays over the Sixteen Candles bridal party choosing cars to go to the church, and ends abruptly when they discover Long Duk Dong passed out on the median.
Tenderness – General Public
Near the end of Weird Science, Gary shares a tender moment with new ladyfriend Deb, and this songs plays over their smooching. YAY!
Do Wot You Do – INXS
This probably shouldn’t count, since only a tiny snippet of the very end plays in Pretty in Pink when Andie is driving Duckie home (“They just don’t write love songs like they used to!”) through the rich kid’s neighborhood, but since I listened to the full song on the soundtrack at least 100 times, I included it.
Shell-Shock – New Order
“He’s not gonna ride his bike past your house anymore.” New Order sets the scene for a broken-hearted Duckie, who follows Andie from her house to Iona’s in Pretty in Pink.
Wouldn’t It Be Good – Danny Hutton Hitters
This Nik Kershaw cover introduces us to Andie’s workplace: TRAX, and the amazing Iona (I wanted to be her more than anything!) in Pretty in Pink. “I’m good in bed. Should I be a whore?”
Bring On The Dancing Horses – Echo & the Bunnymen
Pretty in Pink: As Blaine makes a second attempt to talk to Andie in TRAX, this song plays during Duckie’s bonehead emergency exit antics.
Happy Birthday – Altered Images
Poor Sam! The first acknowledgment of her birthday appears in Sixteen Candles via this song, while she’s filling out a “survey” about her sex life.
If You Were Here – The Thompson Twins
“Happy Birthday Samantha. Make a wish.” “It already came true.” By playing this song over Sam & Jake’s romantic kiss, Sixteen Candles set impossible expectations for (popular, gorgeous, Senior) HS guys.
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
Like I even need to tell you that this plays at the end of The Breakfast Club, with Bender’s triumphant fist in the air.
Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding
If Duckie had lip-synced this to me in Pretty in Pink, I would have left with him instead of waiting for Blaine. She should be smacked for saying, “Did you ever have one of these?” (see video above)
Listen to this mix on Spotify.