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Top Five Power Anthems from 80s Geek Movies

Half of the joy of this post (or, seven-eighths of the joy, if you don’t like my writing) comes from enjoying these fondly-remembered songs in music videos, and subsequently from getting the songs stuck in your head for the rest of the day. That means you RSS readers and e-mail subscribers will miss out on at least fifty percent of available joyousness unless you visit the post.

5) TIE: “The Transformers Theme” (Lion) and “You’ve Got the Touch” (Stan Bush) – Transformers: The Movie

“The Transformers Theme”

If Michael Bay had the ounce of sense to tack this song onto the opening credits of the 2007 live-action version of Transformers, the adrenaline alone might have fooled me into thinking I had enjoyed the film. But he didn’t… and I did not.

Seriously. This song makes me want to go fight a giant robot. Or go hit something. Really, really hard. Or at least wildly wave the sign of the devil in the air. You know what I’m saying. This song effing rocks.

“You’ve Got the Touch”

Not even Marky Mark’s rendition of this song in Boogie Nights can tarnish its memory in the hearts and minds of geeks everywhere.

And I am not at all prone to hyperbole. Much.

“You’ve Got the Touch” accompanies the scene in which Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, valiantly and single-handedly saves Autobot City from the dastardly Decepticons… subsequently dooming himself to a dramatic death at the hands of Megatron. (I’m not ashamed to tell you… I cried. When I was ten years old. So shut up.) At the climax of the movie, the song appears again, to signal the miraculous rise of new Autobot leader Rodimus Prime… who valiantly and single-handedly saves everybody from the planet-eater, Galvatron.

Death and rebirth, people. Frigging poetry. Let’s see Michael Bay try to string together a plot device like that. I think not.

4) “Ghostbusters” (Ray Parker Jr.) – Ghostbusters

This high-spirited “anthem” is practically an 80s dance song, except that it evokes images of the Ghostbusters kickin’ ass, plowing through New York City in Ecto 1, toasting some Marshmallow Man, and getting frigging parades thrown in their honor.

So go ahead. Join the crowds in yelling the Ghostbusters name in adulation. Ray Parker Jr. would want it that way.

Who you gonna call?

3) “You’re the Best Around” (Joe Esposito) – The Karate Kid

There’s nothing like a rockin’ anthem to get you pumped up for the climactic, final confrontation of the movie. And to convince you that a gimpy kid from New Jersey named Daniel Laruso is, indeed… the best around.

Or, at least, one of the better-than-average around, who knows a few tricks (if you consider the crane kick “tricky”) and can thereby maybe get lucky and squeak by with a win. But, you get the point. Joe Esposito’s super-rockin’ point.

2) “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis and the News) – Back to the Future

“The power of love… it’s a curious thing. Make one man weep… make another man sing.”

From God’s lips, to my ears.

Yes. I believe I just called Huey Lewis, “God.” Do you not remember the “Sports” album?

Ok, so he’s not God. He’s just the Jesus of catchy song lyrics.

1) “Flash’s Theme” (Queen) – Flash Gordon

Leave it to Queen to produce an anthem so rousing that you forget that the song is actually about some cheesy dude with a bad haircut and even worse acting skills in a glorified B-movie.


Reader Paul points out an oversight on my part:

Honorable Mention: “Highlander Theme” (Queen) – Highlander

19 comments… add one
  • Nima December 13, 2007, 11:22 pm

    Great list, but I’d swap out the Huey Lewis song for Kenny Loggins’ “Meet Me Half Way” from Over the Top. Friggin’ classic.


  • Great White Snark December 13, 2007, 11:55 pm

    While I do enjoy geeking out over Over the Top, I couldn’t quite see including it because it’s not quite the ‘geek movie’ that Back to the Future is. Great song, though… the quintessential 80s movie anthem.

  • Shithead December 14, 2007, 1:59 am

    Check it:


    Nice ghostbusters mash up action.

    Trivia: Ghostbusters was the 2nd record I’ve ever owned. The first? The great american hero. Remember that one?

  • Great White Snark December 14, 2007, 2:09 am

    Do I? “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air… I never thought I could feel so free-ee-eeeee…”

  • AntiBarbie December 14, 2007, 5:57 am

    I was ten when the Ghostbusters movie came out and I totally adored that song.

  • Sean December 14, 2007, 6:26 am

    “You’ve Got the Touch” gets bonus points for being butchered by Marky Mark in Boogie Nights…

  • paul December 14, 2007, 8:42 am

    Ummm you left out the Highlander theme! Are you insane!?

  • Great White Snark December 14, 2007, 8:47 am

    Wow, Paul, good call. Highlander was a complete oversight.

  • nickolai December 14, 2007, 10:17 am

    awesome list, but Flash Gordon as #1? Any of the other ones is clearly power-anthemier than that one.

  • Great White Snark December 14, 2007, 1:00 pm

    nickolai, I can only recommend that you listen again.

  • Nathan D December 14, 2007, 6:48 pm

    nickolai – what are you smokin’. Any song other than that at #1 would have caused me to stop reading this blog altogether. for a while.

    And, man, I never realized the transformers movie had such a legit cast.

  • paul December 15, 2007, 11:55 am

    Sheww I feel so much better now. Thanks GWS. I think Flash is a good call, although I would have went with Transformers or HIghlander.

  • Great White Snark December 15, 2007, 1:54 pm

    In my heart, the Transformers theme is the kick-ass’inest power anthem, but I had to give more points to the other songs for their relative ubiquity.

  • Anim8or December 16, 2007, 7:31 pm

    I think the highlander theme deserved to be in the top 5…

    even though the song sorta sucks, it was HIGHLANDER (I mean, THE geek movie of our youth)… Then it was QUEEN!!!!

  • Great White Snark December 17, 2007, 12:26 am

    Yeah, you know, if I had to do it over, Highlander probably would have made it onto the list.

    Sorry, I can only be damn-near perfect. Every once in a while I make mistakes.

  • Paul December 17, 2007, 10:09 am

    This is why I never make top ten lists. hehe

  • Great White Snark December 17, 2007, 12:48 pm

    If I hadn’t done this (entertaining and well-devised) list, no one would have reminded me of the joy of the Highlander theme.

  • Rudy December 19, 2007, 11:02 am

    Actually that’s why you make Top 10 lists: there’s room for correction = comments = traffic.

    Good call on the Highlander theme. I still watch the movie.

  • Soundtrack Geek January 4, 2008, 1:01 pm

    Fantastic stuff! God I love the 80s! Stan Bush! Dare! I Want to make an 80s tribute as well, but not yet. There are so many movies and even more great soundtracks to choose from. Thanks for this great post!

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