8 Singles That Became Mega Hits After Being Featured On Soundtracks

Good music usually gets covered by another artist and very often you forget who first sang it. I love a great cover. Prince wrote and recorded ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in 1984, but didn’t release it. Instead, he gave it to The Family, a band that was signed to his Paisley Park record label. They recorded the song in 1985, with their singer St. Paul (Paul Peterson) handling the vocals. According to Peterson, he was asked to sing it in the style of Prince. To get the right emotion, he thought about a girl named Julie who broke his heart in high school.

The Family released the song on their 1985 self-titled album, which ended up being their only LP. Their version was never released as a single and the song was seldom heard until Sinéad O’Connor covered it five years later. Peterson would have liked it to be his hit, but it wasn’t all bad: he ended up getting married to Julie.

However it is not very often an artist has the same hit TWICE, unless they have died.

They say what goes around comes around, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth with music. Social platforms, entertainment, and media continue to fuel retro trends making old songs and artists popular again with younger audiences. Movie soundtracks also often produce hits, sometimes reusing old songs and giving them a new life. Gen-Zers are now enjoying the music of their parents’ generations, which is somehow cool again.

An odd phenomenon happened during the summer of 2022 when Kate Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up The Hill” became one of the top songs of the summer, blasting on radios and phones. It was a well-known song back in the ’80s, but it’s even more popular now, thanks to Netflix’s Stranger Things. The show’s newest season features a moment where the song helps save a character from a doomed fate. TikTok caught on, and “Running Up The Hill” became the song of the summer.

8 Running Up That Hill By Kate Bush

Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” might even be 2022’s song of the summer. The 1985 new wave hit re-emerged on the music charts after it was featured in an episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things. Gen-Z fell in love with the song, and it soon dominated TikTok feeds and radio airwaves. It’s the rare occurrence of a song becoming more popular years after it was initially released. Kate Bush owns her music, too, so she’s enjoying the royalties!

7 Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) By Abba

This hit ABBA club beat has always been popular, thanks to the successful Mamma Mia! musical and film adaptations that introduced disco music to the younger generations. However, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” reached new heights of popularity when it became a dance on TikTok, turning the ’80s hit and musical soundtrack into a party dance. ABBA is still going strong, having even announced a comeback tour in 2022.

6 Vegas By Elvis Presley

Elvis’ songs have often stood the test of time in the charts. Remember Haley Reinhart’s hit cover of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” in 2015? However, with Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster, Elvis, the king of rock and roll, stays just as relevant as ever. Doja Cat remade “Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog” using the original voice of Big Mama Thornton. The funky rock and rap crossover is now a hit on the charts.

5 Lady Marmalade By Patti LaBelle

Another song revitalized thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s cinematography; many people don’t realize that “Lady Marmalade” wasn’t an original song for the 2001 film Moulin Rouge. While the latter might be better known, “Lady Marmalade” first appeared on the charts in 1974, sung by disco diva Patti LaBelle. Many artists covered the song over the years, including Christina Aguilera, yet it’s known best for its Moulin Rouge association.

4 My Sharona By The Knack

“My Sharona” is a classic rock hit known throughout generations. The song was a one-hit wonder by the American rock group “The Knack” and rose to the top of the charts in 1979. While the band’s fame didn’t last, the song gained more popularity in the movie Reality Bites, starring Ben Stiller and Winona Ryder. The song defined the movie and made it a hit all over again in the mid-’90s.

3 Son Of A Preacher Man By Dusty Springfield

Originally recorded by British soul singer Dusty Springfield in 1969, “Son Of A Preacher Man” is a song that has had many lives and eras of success. Aretha Franklin covered the song shortly after it was written, and then the song found new fame when Quentin Tarantino featured it in his hit 1994 film Pulp Fiction. The sultry tune fit in perfectly with the movie’s vintage motif.


2 Rocket Man/Cold Heart By Elton John

First released in 1972, Elton John’s hits are classics known across generations. However, the 2019 biopic Rocketman propelled the singer into a new sphere of icon; his songs becoming more relevant and popular with younger generations. Dua Lipa and Elton John’s hit song “Cold Heart” takes the song “Rocket Man” and turns it into a new pop hit. Although he’s 75, the British rock star is still making hits to this day.

1 Don’t You (Forget About Me) By Simple Minds

A 80’s classic I know buy the moment Pitch Perfect became a cultural phenomenon back in 2012, introducing young fans to a whole new repertoire of music. Among other classic hits such as “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Right Round,” “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds became the signature song of the movie, complete with many The Breakfast Club references. A new generation associated the song with a new film, making it a hit once again.

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Mark Boardman
Mark Boardman
Mark Boardman is an established showbiz journalist and freelance copywriter whose work has been published in Business Insider, Daily Mail, Bloomberg, MTV, Buzzfeed and The New York Post amongst other press. Often spotted on the red carpet at celebrity events and film screenings, Mark is a regular guest on BBC Radio London and in-demand for his opinions for media outlets including Newsweek. His TV credits include This Morning, The One Show and T4. Email Mark@MarkMeets.com

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