Quip Tide has falsely been accused of intentionally planting songs in readers’ minds, most recently by publishing “Unimpeachable,” a spoof on the Nat King/Natalie Cole classic, “Unforgettable.” Several people have accosted me about the revised lyrics (sound bite: “See you in court/With Mueller’s Report”), suggesting that they were unable to stop humming the tune for nearly a week.
I should have run a warning with that column: “If this song gets stuck in your head for more than four hours, consult your doctor.”
At the risk of again lodging tunes between people’s ears, this week’s column is about hit songs that never became movie titles. There are lots of popular songs that appeared for the first time in movies and their titles (“The Sound of Music” and nearly any movie song title that begins with “The Theme From ...”). Other songs found themselves on movie marquees years after they were popular. (They include “Stand By Me,” “Home for the Holidays,” “Lean on Me,” “My Girl,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman,” though the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts twist on the Cinderella story dropped the “Oh” from Roy Orbison’s title.)
But what about hit songs that haven’t become movie titles? Many were used in movies, but not in the title. Here are a few, and the story lines that their titles might generate:
* “Wipe Out.” This surf anthem with only two words of lyrics — three if you count the weird laugh — has been in the soundtracks of at least 20 movies, but never in the title. The movie version would feature all but one of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates flopping and face-planting their way to also-ran stardom.
* “Cool Jerk,” which was one of those song-and-dance crazes, like the Twist, Watusi, and Bunny Hop, but without the craze. The Cool Jerk was more a controlled epileptic seizure than a fad, there being only one one-hit wonder to dance it to. As a movie, it will be the reunion of “The Big Bang Theory” cast.
* “Last Kiss,” one of those driver-education songs that you know will go horribly wrong from the first line, “We were out on a date in her Daddy’s car.” Note to teens: if her Dad offers you the keys to his car he’s going to have two reasons to hate you. The cinematic version will feature a Tesla Model 3 with a demonically possessed CPU.
* “Na Na Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye.” I can only imagine one plot for this, but can’t imagine anyone kissing him.
Kids, try this at home next time PG&E calls a “power emergency” and forces you to communicate with air as your only medium. Pick a decade and take turns making a hit song title into a movie plot.
“Louie Louie” has already been a movie, firstname.lastname@example.org is sad to say. On Twitter: @louiecastoria