The Top Ten: Theme tunes that outlived their films

From Survivor's Eye of the Tiger to Madonna's Into the Groove

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Suggested by Mike Higgins, editor of 'The New Review', who is always right (rule one of journalism) and who nominated 'Superfly' by Curtis Mayfield – the soundtrack album outgrossed the film.

1. 'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor

Has probably stood the test of time more robustly than 1982's Rocky III.

2. 'You Light Up My Life' by Kasey Cisyk

"Flop movie, huge song," says Truly S of this 1977 hit, lip-synched in the film by its star, Didi Conn.

3. 'The Harder They Come' by Jimmy Cliff

"The movie's not great, but the soundtrack by Jimmy Cliff, the Maytals etc is sublime," says Chris Stagg of this 1972 Jamaican crime drama.

4. 'Nine to Five' by Dolly Parton

Alan Robertson says the song "has surely outlived the [1980] film".

5. 'The Cat' by Jimmy Smith

Theme tune of The Carpetbaggers, 1964. Used by The Money Programme for 40 years. Thanks to David Boothroyd.

6. 'The Mission', 1986 soundtrack by Ennio Morricone

"Used in numerous ads and TV shows – millions will have heard these tracks and have no idea where they came from," says Richard Moodey.

7. 'Rock Around the Clock' by Bill Haley & His Comets

Originally a B-side, used over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle, 1955. Social history from Jon Baines and Allan Draycott.

8. 'Theme from Shaft' by Isaac Hayes

Despite its title, no one remembers the 1971 film, apart from Adam Huntley.

9. 'Unchained Melody' by Todd Duncan

From Unchained, a 1955 prison docu-drama. Nominated by Allan Draycott, Steven Duckworth, Alastair Meeks, Arieh Kovler, Alan Jowett and others.

10. 'Into the Groove' by Madonna

From Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985. Suggested by Allan Draycott, though it is actually a good film.

Next week: Fictional fiction, such as 'Rochelle, Rochelle', a film featured in Seinfeld

Coming soon: Zeugmas, such as 'He took his hat and his leave'. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to