Most rockers don't enjoy musicals. Let's be honest-you won't see any Hell's Angels crooning out "Oh, what a beautiful morning!" or "I've grown accustomed to her face." Even the most rocking rock musicals (like Tommy, Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror Show, Rock of Ages, Rent, just to name a few) are either jukebox musicals or have been overdone so much that they're nearly considered "lame" by rock standards. Sometimes, to get the rockers singing along, one has to make a musical movie that's not a musical. This list takes a look at the best original rock songs from movies about music (for various reasons, this list will not include songs from Spinal Tap, Pirate Radio, The Commitments, Empire Records, Cadillac Records, or Ray).
5. "Fever Dog" by Stillwater in Almost Famous- There is so much starpower in this Cameron Crowe film (Jason Lee, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Zooey Deschanel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Jay Baruchel, Jimmy Fallon, and Rainn Wilson) that one almost forgets about the music. Almost (get it?). This signature song by the fictional band (written by the real Nancy Wilson) combines Lynyryd Skynyrd with Pearl Jam in an excellent slow groove tune, and the fact that the actors (Crudup, Lee, John Fedevich, and Mark Kozelek) played their own instruments just adds to this song's awesomeness.
4. "That Thing You Do" by The Oneders (Wonders) in That Thing You Do- Yes, 60s rock is still rock. This movie about the rise and fall of a one-hit wonder was written and directed by Tom Hanks. The song was originally "written" as a ballad, but thanks to Tom Everett Scott's drum-player adrenaline, the song becomes an upbeat tune immediately and becomes a massive hit. It was really written by Adam Schlesinger, the bassist from Fountains of Wayne, charted in the Billboard charts, and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe.
3. "Stand Up" by Steel Dragon in Rock Star- Inspired by the real-life story of Tim "Ripper" Owens, this movie tells the story of a tribute band singer who gets recruited to be the lead vocalist of his favorite band. Okay, yes, it's Marky Mark as the lead singer (no, he doesn't do the rock vocals), but it is Jason Bonham on drums and Zakk Wylde on guitar in this Sammy Hagar tune. And boy, does he shred during the up-tempo solo break.
2. "Fight" by No Vacancy in School of Rock- This song kicks off the movie with a bang, with headbanging guitar riffs and pounding drums. Although Jack Black doesn't have anything to do with this song (despite what the movie tells you), that really is Rent's Adam Pascal screaming the lead vocals. The only problem with this song is that it's way too short.
1. "On the Dark Side" by Eddie and the Cruisers in Eddie and the Cruisers- If you have Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band and add a Kurt Cobain-esque death conspiracy theory, that's the Cruisers. The song is written and performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (yep, that's a real band) and they score the entire film. This song may not have the headbanging factor, but it definitely includes a mysterious piano intro, audience participation, a great sax solo, and it's the only song on this list that's still played on rock radio.