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Top Ten Cheesy 80's Soundtracks for Working Out

The 80's were the apex of civilization, when the American dream reached it's golden age zenith before crashing down hard in the decades that followed. Simple and plain - the 80's were fun! Unfortunately I was a kid in the 80's, so I missed out on doing primo blow in Miami, pumping iron on Venice Beach and spraying on excessive amounts of aquanet hairspray while wearing spandex tights. One legacy of the 80's that I did inherit was my love for the MOVIE Soundtrack. An artform all its own, that now finally had a decade that knew what to do with it! The 80's Movie Soundtrack proved a viable way to make money and sell records, while combining the big and small screen crossover appeals of the music video driven MTV era. It made perfect sense and became a Hollywood regularity soon after the success of soundtracks like Beverly hills Cop, Footloose, Purple Rain, Stand by Me and the Lost Boys. The success of the Stand by Me Soundtrack was important for introducing a new generation to the music of the fifties and with a huge Leadoff single from the biggest rock group on the planet (at the time) INXS - the Lost Boys Soundtrack was an official Event that has since become a cult classic. 

This top ten list aims to bring new light to some 80's Soundtracks that have been forgotten, under-appreciated, ignored or just plain hated on. All of which are perfect to listen to while forcing yourself to exercise. So the next time you have forty minutes to kill at the gym, try adding a little 80's cheese to your workout by adding these soundtracks to your playlist. 

# 10

This movie totally sucks! Notable for introducing us to future great thespian Nicholas Cage, it was "like totally" the first Mall, suburban teen girl 80's chic flick. It was a massive successive and earned over 200% profits, thus ensuring a long acting career for Cage, a rumored 18th century Vampire. What doesn't suck is the Soundtrack, full of blossoming New Wave acts that got the short end of the stick due to legal problems and coke head producers.  The soundtrack was never officially released, Epic Records cancelled it due to clearance problems with some of the songs. Instead, a different six-Song mini-album was manufactured by Roadshow Records, a one-off subsidiary of Atlantic Releasing. The album was never commercially released, but a few copies leaked and became highly valued collector's items. In 1994, Rhino Records released a compilation of songs from the film's soundtrack on compact disc which peaked at #155 on the Billboard 200. This was followed by a second volume titled More Music from the Valley Girl Soundtrack in 1995. 

Listen to the complete album Here. 

The most famous song featured in the movie and on the soundtrack is Modern English's 'I Melt with You'

# 9
      Top Gun

This is pure 80's cheese at its finest. A staple of thrift store bins everywhere, this Soundtrack is one vinyl record that won't disappoint. A summer favorite of 1986, Top Gun spent five consecutive weeks at #1 on the billboard charts. The opener 'Danger Zone' is a macho classic, bulging with synthed out keys, jets taking off the aircraft carrier vibes and hammering riffs that punctuate the totally bitchin' song produced by Uber producer Giorgio Moroder. This Kenny Loggins banger gets the album off to a blistering start. Loggins, seems to have had a musical career based solely off the 80's Soundtrack! lol

The most famous song on the Top Gun soundtrack is Berlin's 'Take my breath away'

However the song that has been associated the most with Top Gun is the boys being boys theme played during the infamous volleyball scene. The song is ridiculous, campy, extra cheesy and could only be composed by the King of 80's soundtracks himself - Kenny Loggins!

The best parts of the Top Gun soundtrack are the Guitar instrumentals by virtuoso musician Harold Faltermeyer.

# 8
      Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

There's no denying that Wrath of Khan is the greatest Star Trek movie ever. So It's no wonder that its soundtrack is also great. Composed by a baby-faced 28 year old James Horner, whose only previous credit was scoring the underground horror movie Wolfen.  The Wrath of Khan soundtrack is full of great musical moments, with sweeping moods, haunting synths and beautiful melodies fit for a moonlight fly over the rings of Saturn. Horner has gone on to compose a wide range of classic film scores, but the Wrath of Khan was where he first demonstrated his vast potential. So where's the cheese?  It's Star Trek, duh...

# 7

Universally regarded as one of the worst movies of all time, Xanadu barely broke even at the box office despite starring media darling Olivia newton John and a sweet dancing cameo from sugar footed Gene Kelly. The film  was so bad it inspired the Razzies and quickly sank to VHS cult status. Eventually it ended up on torrent heaven where I was able to download it out of pure curiosity. It dripped in 80's rainbow cheese but was absolutely hilarious to watch and personally Olivia has never looked hotter. Steaming up the Southland on her quest to save a rad dilapidated art deco club while rolling around on roller skates aided by goofy effects and a ridiculous disco inspired soundtrack dreamt up by arena rockers ELO. Xanadu's soundtrack is universally disdained. While the reasons for this are mostly because disco backlash and the fact that although the movie was a dud, the soundtrack was a commercial success boasting five top twenty singles that refused to erase the memories of the awful celluloid dud. Somehow all of Olivia's other albums totally suck but her two Movie soundtracks Grease and Xanadu are certified classics. The power of 80's cheese is all over the Xanadu soundtrack. It even has a truly great song 'Magic'

# 6
      Rocky IV

The Rocky soundtrack series is iconic but for pure patriotic cheese nothing beats part four of the installment. With legendary tracks like the Survivor blue collar epic 'Eye of the Tiger' and James Brown's final funk hit 'Living in America' the Rocky IV soundtrack peeked at #10 on the billboard album charts while moving over a million copies. The soundtrack has inspired countless gym memberships and even helped create the famous TRAINING MONTAGE scene that has become a staple of sports movie cheese ever since. It can be argued that Rocky IV is the greatest Rocky of them all and by weird 80's soundtrack law, the Rocky IV soundtrack easily beats up all the other Rocky soundtracks by default. 'Burning Heart' is just a perfect song to hear blasting in some packed arena during the ring walk to a UFC fight. It captures that vibe perfectly even though the days of America worrying about those damn commies seems like a weird twilight zone joke. Of course nowadays Rocky would be fighting some bad ass Muslim terrorist.

The choreographed film version of 'Living in America' is pure 80's gold. I have always wondered if Apollo Creed's ring entrance inspired Prince Naseem Hamed's future awe-inspiring boxing entrances. Sly Stallone is a real cinematic visionary and had the awesome idea to get James Brown to funk the shit out of the packed arena right before Ivan Drago killed Creed. This monumental story arc blew the audience away and forced Rocky to go avenge his homeboy in communist Russia. America, Fuck Yeah!

The moronic John Cafferty song 'Heart's on Fire' is the album's only real clunker besides 'Double or Nothing' the duet between Gladys Knight and 80's Soundtrack King Kenny Loggins. The best song on the Rocky IV soundtrack is the Robert Tepper stunner 'No easy way Out' - unfortunately Tepper was never able to capitalize on this top 50 hit and with little help from his record label his solo albums went nowhere. Sly seemed to like him and even threw him a bone on the Cobra soundtrack, but Tepper's song 'Angel of the City' stunk up the charts much like the craptastic movie that inspired it stunk up the box office. Tepper eventually ended up in Dover, Delaware with six kids to feed, a failed music career and virtually no easy way out.

# 5
      Ghostbusters 2

Barely qualifying as an 80's album the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack is full of cheesy pop tracks, Hip-hop disasters and bizarre ballads that somehow manage to blend together in a cornball combustion of 80's awesomeness. The Run D.M.C. rap remix of the classic Ray Parker theme song 'Ghostbusters Rap' is just plain awful but New Edition's 'Supernatural' makes up for it thanks to some killer vocals from Johnny Gill. Out of place songs from James Taylor and Elton John muddy the set, but thanks to slept-on gems from Oingo Boingo and Doug. E. Fresh, Ghostbusters 2 remains a well-rounded  album. Perennial 80's soundtrack contributor Glenn Frey once again delivered the goods with 'Flip City'

But the crowning achievement of the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack is the Bobby Brown classic 'On our Own' a song that made Bobby an international star and helped establish a new genre of R and B. The video featured a ton of cameos and contained some of the best graphics used by Hollywood at the time. It's still totally gnarly.

# 4
      The Monster Squad

"Where am I going to get Silver Bullets? K-Mart?"

I loved this movie as a kid. If River Phoenix had been in it then it might had been more popular. Considered a flop, this tale about a bunch of kids battling the most famous screen monsters in film history has since become a cult classic. I even think a remake was in the works, which makes sense because the basic premise of the film is a good one. The cheesed out soundtrack is what makes the movie memorable, however only the film's fantastic score by Bruce Broughton has been officially released. Missing are the hilariously bad 'Monster Squad Rap' and some dude named Michael Sembello's 'Rock until you Drop' - two songs that are so drenched in 80's cheese they would be impossible to find if it weren't for YouTube.

# 3
      Howard the Duck

One of the biggest flops of all time, George Lucas disowned this disaster that ruined the lives of many people that worked on it. Including Universal executive Frank Price who was quickly canned after the Duck lost over forty million dollars in 1986. The movie is fucking awful despite boasting sexy as hell Leah Thompson in skimpy 80's outfits. The soundtrack was also considered a disaster and pretty much crushed the dreams that electro pioneer Thomas Dolby had of composing film scores. The Howard the Duck soundtrack oozes with spunky 80's cheese and even features vocals from officer Judy Hoffs of 21 Jump Street! Thomas Dolby does a good job producing most of the music, which features steamy vocals from Leah Thompson. Even George Clinton adds some flair to the doomed affair on the soundtrack's theme song. The best song on the album is 'Hunger City' proving that Leah Thompson easily could have been a sultry punk princess.

# 2
      A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

The famed Nightmare on Elm Street franchise reached its peak with part 4: The Dream Master. Freddy was never as funny, wicked or popular. It made perfect sense to capitalize on Freddy's popularity with that perfect movie tie-in vehicle known as the 80's soundtrack. The producers realized they could make a huge profit if they totally cheesed out the soundtrack for Mtv. The idea was a good one as the previous Freddy soundtrack had the killer Dokken cut 'Dream Warriors' and they probably figured with a higher budget they could get some major label acts. Unfortunately those acts were the washed up Blondie, the Vinnie Vincent invasion, Go West, a decrepit Billy Idol and the motherfucking Fat Boys! 

So while the film, helmed by Die Hard director Renny Harlin went to #1 at the box office and became the highest grossing Freddy film up to that point, the soundtrack quickly became a forgotten laughing stock in teenage bedrooms everywhere. If your brain doesn't explode from the near intoxicating levels of 80's cheese this soundtrack puts out, then you might survive to actually enjoy this lost 80's classic. 

The opener 'Running from this Nightmare' from Tuesday Knight is a campy horror clunker while the Vinnie Vincent Invasion's cheesy metal ballad 'Love Kills' is actually really good. That being said, I have no idea what the fuck it is doing on the soundtrack?! It totally has nothing to do with the movie. I guess they were trying to cash into the hair metal market or something. Didn't work. The rest of the album doesn't work either, featuring 80's post-wave punk songs that reaaaalllllyyyy suck. Except for Vigil's 'Therapist' and a recycled gem from Sinead O'Conner 'I want your hands on me' The Dream Master soundtrack is bound to give you nightmares. The album's saving grace is one of the most cheesy spectacles ever seen or heard that could only have happened in the 80's - A Freddy Kruger Rap Video! Hahaha yes by this point in the 80's the white record label executives realized that rap music meant millions of dollars and since this fad didn't seem to be going away why not take advantage of it and make a Freddy raps record! To pull this off they hired Hip-Hop pioneers the Fat Boys. Now the Fat Boys were the first Hip-Hoppers to have real mainstream commercial success and helped pave the way for Hip-Hop to being a commercially viable artform in later decades. They even starred in their very own movie, the freaking awesome 'Disorderlies' so what would happen if the Fat Boys met Freddy? Would they eat him? hell no they challenge him to a rap battle that is so heavy in 80's cheese it almost tears a hole in the space time continuum. "My name is Freddy and I'm here to say" Lol. don't quit your dayjob Fred...

while the Nightmare 4 soundtrack is a cheesy disaster, the official score by Craig Safan is a synthesized instrumental horror masterpiece. Perfect background music to plan your next act of depravity to.

# 1

      The Karate Kid

Ah, the 80's and karate go hand in hand together. When I was 10 I spent a summer in Sacramento, California living in an apartment complex across the street from a 7-11 and a Korean Dojo. Needless to say my room was full of plastic throwing stars, nunchuks, and Ninja magazines. Karate lessons were a must and I remember vividly watching the Karate Kid at the movie theatre with my Grandmother. It was Epic! Yet I had no idea how awesome the soundtrack from 1984 truly was until a found a dusty cassette of it in a forgotten thrift store bin in parts unknown. With some musical help from oscar winning composer Bill Conti, the soundtrack wants to let everybody know right off the bat that it takes itself super serious. Even the blue collared soundtrack veterans Survivor get the album off to an inspirational start with 'The Moment of Truth' 

The album clunks along with the Casio sounding Paul Davies track 'Two to Tango' and makes the ears bleed with the worst beach song ever from the annoying duo Jan and Dean 'Bop on the Beach'
The soundtrack remains horrendous with cuts from Shandi, Gang of Four, the Matches and Broken Edge totally stinking up the joint and a Baxter Robinson song that is so corny I dare you to listen to it without laughing or cringing. That's a long list of 80's clunkers filling up an album ranked #1 - Well that's because the Karate Kid soundtrack has two songs that are so full of bodacious 80's cheese they can single handily propel any soundtrack to the vaunted #1 position. 'Young Hearts' by the Commuters is such a great example of cheesy songwriting, 80's musicianship and a catchy hook that puts you on the sandy California beaches where your karate skills just might be needed to save the lusty 80's teen dream Leah Thompson. 

The Karate Kid soundtrack has become immortal thanks to the greatest workout and motivational song ever written. A song so buffed with 80's cheese it's impossible not to like. We're talking of course about Joe Esposito's 'You're the Best'

So there you have it, the Top Ten Cheesy 80's Soundtracks for Working Out. Now get your ass to the gym and never forget that YOU are the best around....

This post first appeared on Xaviant Haze, please read the originial post: here

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Top Ten Cheesy 80's Soundtracks for Working Out


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