The 1980's were a great period for soundtrack songs but also soundtrack albums. Heavy Metal, Rocky IV, Top Gun, Ghostbusters, and then the soundtrack for the movie Kenny Loggins thought should've been called A Snowball's Chance In Hell, because that's what he thought it had at the box office. Well, that wasn't the case for Footloose or the soundtrack, which spawned five hit singles, one of which was sung by him and spent 4 weeks at Billboard's #1 spot.
Yes, Mr. Soundtrack himself, Kenny Loggins, scored yet another hit soundtrack song after Caddyshack's "I'm Alright." I can't decide which is bigger, "Footloose" or "Danger Zone" from Top Gun. Well, the former's dramatic opening thudding drums and heavy surf guitars, sports a rollicking upbeat rhythm that'll light the spark of any party, calling all in sundry to cut footloose, kick off those Sunday shoes.
Another hit single, with the funky "Lucky Star" style beat, was R&B singer Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy" which is a song of support for an underdog sort of man, a guy who sings off-key, who isn't too rich, or a good dresser, but counts him in for being a loving one-man show.
"Almost Paradise," such a wonderful classic 80's song. The slow love power ballad duet between Loverboy's Mike Reno and Heart's Ann Wilson, with its organ-like synths and pounding drums, is very well the first drop of rain that propelled Heart to its 80's success. I notice that Keith Olsen, who produced Passionworks, produced this song as well. And Loverboy would do a similar style power ballad, "Heaven In Your Eyes" for Top Gun.
Then comes Jim Steinman's second most famous client, Bonnie Tyler, doing a rousing 80's techno-disco, "Holding Out For A Hero," the song done during the tractor chicken contest in the movie. Love those operatic backup vocals, including Rory Dodd. This deserved to hit the Top 5 instead of stalling in the Top 40.
More 80's style R&B-pop with Shalamar. The moog funk of "Dancing In The Sheets" has some overtones of Prince's "1999" and what Phil Collins would later do with "Sussudio." He's got it right when he sings, "we got the rhythm, we've got the music on our side."
Loggins's second song here, "I'm Free (Heaven Helps The Man)", is a fast paced affair sporting snarling guitars and a chorus that smacks of Journey. Love "The Screamers," the group of backing vocalists who shout out the title, and David Foster's bouncy synthesizer.
"Somebody's Eyes" is similar in sound and rhythm to Journey's "Who's Crying Now" and also reminds me slightly of Quarterflash's "Take Me To Heart." Karla Bonoff sounds like a more tempered version of Laura Branigan. Gotta find some of her stuff soon.
Two years before checking into 5150 with the brothers Van Halen, Sammy Hagar did "The Girl Gets Around", a rocker as rowdy as "I Can't Drive 55." When he sings the title, followed by "round round round around," I am reminded of the song "Runaround" he did with Van Halen.
Typical 80's-style synth pop, "Never" by Moving Pictures might be considered a second-rate "Separate Ways" by Journey, even down to the opening synth, with Alex Smith sounding like Mike Reno, but the catchy chorus makes me forget the derivativeness of this track.
Three well-established hits that need no introduction were added as bonus tracks for this 15th anniversary collection--Quiet Riot's "Bang Your Head," John Cougar's "Hurt So Good", and Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You." And they help make Footloose one of the best 80's soundtracks ever.