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The other day, my boss was giving me a ride home and we started talking about “The Godfather.” Both of us happen to love that film and we spent well over half an hour discussing the characters, our favorite moments, and even trading lines back and forth. (Yes, I do realize how geeky that is.)

Thinking about it later, I realized that even today there are probably about 500 million living people who have seen “The Godfather.” And I would bet that 20 percent of them could hum the movie’s soundtrack without even trying. The music was so distinctive, so much a part of every important scene that it embedded itself in the psyche of more than one percent of the earth’s population.

Great movie soundtracks can be almost as effective as the films they represent. So, in that spirit, I’ve chosen five wonderful songs that were prominently featured on the big screen.

Song: New Slang

Artist: The Shins

Movie: Garden State

OK, I confess, I didn’t actually see “Garden State,” but I love The Shins and this song is an example of why. Yes, they are probably trying too hard to be sensitive hipsters, but that doesn’t change how great they sound.

Song: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Artist: Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

Movie: The Big Lebowski

Generally, I’m not a big Kenny Rogers fan, but this song is so good humored, and goes with the movie so well, that it’s impossible not to like it.

Song: Hard Sun

Artist: Eddie Vedder

Movie: Into the Wild

For my money, “Into the Wild” is three for three: a brilliant book, an incredible film and a beautiful soundtrack. Eddie Vedder does a great job of giving voice to the tragic, yet oddly uplifting, life of a memorable young man.

Song: How You Like Me Now

Artist: The Heavy

Movie: The Fighter

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a huge fan of this movie, but the song is really catchy and upbeat.

Song: Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

Artist: David Bowie

Movie: Cat People

A different version of this moody pop song was used in “Inglorious Bastards,” but Bowie actually wrote it for “Cat People.” The movie was made in 1982, and was viewed at the time as a highly controversial violent, erotic thriller. Today, it just seems silly and rather tame, but luckily the song holds up much better.


1. New Slang

2. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

3. Hard Sun

4.How You Like Me Now

5. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)


In this new column, Editor Erika Taylor shares her favorite playlists. Tune in to hear her picks each issue.

Note: Downloading the playlist requires iTunes 10, which is available for free on the iTunes Website