30 Days, 30 Songs: Day 11 – A song on the soundtrack of your favorite movie

It has to be “Pretty in Pink,” doesn’t it? I’m seeing Psychedelic Furs in November and I’m beyond thrilled. John Hughes heard the song and took it literally, this is from SongFacts:

  • Richard Butler explained the song’s meaning to Mojo magazine November 2010: “The song was about a girl who kinda sleeps around, and thinks it’s really cool and thinks everybody really likes her, but they really don’t. She’s just being used. It’s quite scathing.”
  • John Hughes named his 1986 movie after this song. Starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, and Jon Cryer, Hughes wrote the plot around the song’s lyrics, but according to The Psychedelic Furs, he muffed the meaning. Richard Butler recalled to Mojo how this song got co-opted onto the Pretty In Pink movie: “We did the song (on 1981’s Talk Talk Talk), and were very pleased with it. It wasn’t that we were disappointed it wasn’t a hit to begin with – at that point, we didn’t know what was going on, or whether any of them were singles or whether we were that kind of band. A few years later, Molly Ringwald took it to John Hughes and said, ‘I love this song, we should use it for a movie.’ He took it away, listened to it, and wrote Pretty In Pink, which totally got the whole thing wrong. It was nothing like the spirit of the song at all. It’s really hard to say whether it was damaging for us. I suppose we got tied in with the story of the film, and if that’s what people thought the story was about, and didn’t look much further than that, they were getting a very false impression.”
  • This song was re-released with the movie, which was 5 years after it first came out. The re-release charted at #41 US and #18 UK. When it first came out in 1981, it hit #43 UK and did not chart in the US. This new version remixed to make the song more appealing to a Pop music audience. The original includes much rougher, edgier guitar riffs, and the closing, barely audible lines are muttered by Furs lead singer Richard Butler as though he’s ruminating in stream of consciousness style about Caroline while he’s in a drunken haze. The remix has more polished, more upbeats riffs, and while the same lines are included in the trail-off, a louder riff plays over them to make them even less audible and make the overall effect more pop and less bitter.

I very much identify with this song. It’s just the best.

BONUS: song not on the soundtrack from my favorite movie, “Positively Lost Me” by one of my favorites, The Rave-Ups. Not including this song  would be the biggest misstep of soundtrack history.

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