Marriages between an exceptional film sequence and a great pop song can make for very special combustions.

I’m talking about the use of one or more songs (either acquired or originally composed) that have enhanced and deepened the emotional value of a non-musical film. And a certain film that, after merging with the right song or songs, acquires a certain dimensionality or legendary quality for itself.

A situation, in short, in which both the movie and the music experience a major mutual upgrade.

Example #1: Berlin‘s “Take My Breath Away” was not only written for Top Gun — it was forever welded to the legend of that film and vice versa.

Example #2: That blues number (I don’t even know the title!) performed by the Mighty Joe Young Blues Bandin Michael Mann‘s Thief (’81). I’ve never forgotten that song, and Thief was hugely amplified by it. Performed at The Katz & Jammer club on Chicago’s North Side.

Example #3: Phil Collins‘ “In The Air Tonight” was one thing when it popped in January ’81, but it became a whole ‘nother thing when it was used for that sex-on-a-train scene sequence in Risky Business, which opened two and half years later (August ’83).

HE Picks: (1) “Moon River,” Breakfast at Tiffany’s; (2) Blondie‘s “Call Me”, American Gigolo; (3) Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid; (4) “The Power of Love,” Back to the Future; (5) “Up Where We Belong”, An Officer and a Gentleman…the list goes on and on.