Special Report

The Most Popular Songs Originally Written for Movies

Movies and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is no genre that hasn’t had a memorable song associated with it. Sometimes there’s a symbiotic relationship and both are successful, but there are times when a song overshadows the movie. In a few cases, more than one song from a film becomes a hit. (Whether or not they made the charts, these are the greatest songs from American movies.) 

To determine the most popular songs originally written for movies, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs that were originally written or recorded for a feature film were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 100 points, a week at No. 2 worth 99 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 100 worth one point. Chart data is current through the week of November 19, 2022.

Thirty-four songs on our list summited the Billboard Hot 100. The oldest of them is B.J. Thomas’s  “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from the Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1969, a song that captured the breezy anti-hero vibe of the late 1960s. 

Six of the songs that climbed to No. 1 stayed there for 10 weeks or longer. The longest at No. 1 was Whitney Houston’s ballad “I Will Always Love You,” from the motion picture “The Bodyguard,” (which she also starred in). The song held the top spot for 14 weeks.

Click here to see the most popular songs originally written for the movies

“Saturday Night Fever,” released at the height of disco fever in 1977, vaulted John Travolta into superstardom, and produced two Bee Gees hits that reached the Billboard Hot 100 apex, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever.” 

Two songs from this year made our list – OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” and the collaboration of Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz and the “Encanto” cast, for “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the animated hit “Encanto.” (See how many songs from that animated Disney hit made the list of best original songs from Disney movies.)

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