Married journo pally to HE: “We were listening to sounds in the car when up popped a tune from Tom Waits’ score for One From the Heart. I’ve always loved this bluesy/jazzy collaboration with Crystal Gayle, and have long felt that it, along with Curtis Mayfield‘s ‘Superfly,’ may be the finest song composed exclusively for a film….ever, I mean.

“Maybe your readers could have some fun with this? What’s the best song score composed exclusively for a film? Broadway shows and previously recorded works don’t count.”

HE to Married Journo Pally: Excellent topic and thanks for suggesting it, although I’m frankly mystified that you would find Waits and Gayle’s One From The Heart song and especially their performance of it…I’m dumbfounded that you find it captivating.

I’m primarily talking about Waits, a seriously respected and certainly a distinctive song stylist, but he’s always infuriated me — to me he’s always has always sounded like a slurry, drunken, degenerate bullfrog lying in the gutter. And you can never understand a word he’s singing — Waits would rather die than fall into line on that score.

Again — I’m not putting Waits down. Well, I am but at the same time I’m acknowledging that he’s revered by people who know the music realm better than I. If I was smart I’d keep my yap shut about him, but I can’t help it. He always sounds the same and does the same thing every damn time with every lyric and song — same mood, same feeling, same “whoaaagghhh!!…rejoice and soak in the hoarse and gravelly boozer sounds I’m putting out here….like Charles Bukowski I’m a man of the bottle or at least I sound like one, and I tell the truth every damn time.”

I’ve never been that much of a fan of Mayfield’s “Superfly” either — a decent early ’70s AM-radio track but calm down.

My two favorite songs written directly for the screen were created in the early ’80s, and less than three years apart.

#1 is “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” the Tina Turner song from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (’85) — lyrics by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle.

#2 is “Up Where We Belong” from Taylor Hackford‘s An Officer and a Gentleman (’82) — composed by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie, lyrics by Will Jennings.

And no, I don’t care if the music snobs put me down for having shallow or banal taste in movie tunes. I recognize and respect the artistry of Tom Waits but I’ve never really liked anything he’s ever performed. Sue me but “Up Where We Belong” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero” are pleasing, arresting — they have a catchy, hook-y quality, and are well produced, and they seem to enhance the value of the films from whence they sprang.

Neither Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or An Officer and a Gentleman are grade-A films, but…I suppose what I’m actually saying is that the songs are better than the films. They reach in and turn the tumbler.

Say it loud, repeat often: Fuck the snobs.

Oh, and speaking of banal: Bill Conti‘s main-title melody for Broadcast News [after the jump] is about as drippy and whore-ish and old-farty as it gets, but it’s well-produced and it works. I’m sorry but it does.