Footloose was a throwback to '50s rock & roll movies, with a silly plot about a town where it was illegal to dance. It was a major hit, as was its soundtrack, which spent a grand total of ten weeks at number one and sold over seven million copies. It's easy to see why – the album delivers its mainstream pop, anthemic rock, and light dance-pop with style and an abundance of hooks. Six of the nine tracks became Top 40 hits, and three – Kenny Loggins' bouncy title song, the excellent power ballad "Almost Paradise" (a duet between Loverboy's Mike Reno and Heart's Ann Wilson), and Deniece Williams' frothy, charming "Let's Hear It for the Boy" – shot into the Top Ten. The sound and production of Footloose has dated badly – there is a reliance on synthesizers and drum machines that instantly announces that the record was made in 1984 – but that isn't necessarily a weakness. Not only does it function as a time capsule of a certain moment in pop music history, but many of the songs are catchy enough to transcend their production. There's nothing of substance on the Footloose soundtrack, but it's a light, entertaining listen. Sometimes, that can be better than something substantial.
Forrest Gump (1994) is one of the most successful films ever made, winning Tom Hanks his second successive Best Actor Oscar (he won the previous year for Philadelphia) as well as claiming the Best Picture Oscar and many other awards and nominations, including several for music. A unique fable of American life from the 1950s to the 80s, the film blends comedy, drama, war, romance and groundbreaking special effects into a social and political portrait of the passing years, all seen through the eyes of the intellectually challenged but immensely likeable Forrest Gump. The soundtrack is a double album featuring 31 classic pop tunes plus a suite from Alan Silvestri's rich orchestral music, represented more completely on the companion score album. Opening with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", this is a fine anthology of three decades of American music, taking in everything from Joan Baez's "Blowin' In The Wind" to Aretha Franklin's "Respect", The Mammas and The Papas' "California Dreamin'" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson". Here also is Scott McKenzie with "San Francisco", plus Jefferson Airplane, the Supremes, Lynyrd Skynrd and many more. Like American Graffiti (1973), this is one of the great pop soundtracks, happily at home in just about any music collection.