VARIOUS ARTISTS – PRETTY IN PINK ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK
Released February 28, 1986 – 30 years ago
While most 80s teen flicks were full of vapid, corporate-rock filler, the soundtrack accompanying John Hughes’ teen-romance opus, Pretty In Pink, features one of the finest new wave anthologies to ever accompany a movie.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar and curated by Kris Kerry. Each Monday at 4pm Kris stops by KXCI’s studio to give us insight on this classic album at 91.3FM and kxci.org.
Pretty In Pink was a 1986 teen movie produced by American screenwriter, producer, and director John Hughes. He directed and scripted some of the most successful comedy films in the 1980s and early 1990s. Furthermore, he helped establish the 80s teen movie as a genera to itself with Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), and Some Kind of Wonderful (1987).
In addition to Pretty In Pink, Hughes also directed, produced, or scripted National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Mr. Mom (1983), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Uncle Buck (1989), She’s Having a Baby (1988), Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992).
Hughes is also known for helping to launch the careers of numerous actors, including Michael Keaton, Bill Paxton, Macaulay Culkin, and several of The 80s “Brat Pack,” which generally includes Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Spader, and Judd Nelson. Most of the “Brat Pack” members disliked the moniker, however the films they starred in together became benchmarks within 80s popular culture and are considered some of the most influential of their time.
The Pretty In Pink soundtrack has deemed “one of the best” in modern cinema by both Rolling Stone and The Huffington Post.
The Pretty In Pink screenplay was written by Hughes, however it was directed by a young Howard Deutch, who had envisioned a film score comprised primarily of theme music. Hughes insisted that the soundtrack use new wave/post-punk music throughout the film. Deutch also directed Hughe’s film Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), along with a ton of movies and TV series (Melrose Place, American Horror Story, and True Blood).
The title song, “Pretty In Pink,” first appeared on The Psychedelic Furs 1981 album Talk Talk Talk. This track acted, in part, as inspiration for the film, and was re-recorded specifically for the film’s opening sequence in a version that was somewhat mellower and more sax-heavy.
“Left of Center” features Joe Jackson on the Piano and pre-dates Suzanne Vega’s break-out album, Solitude Standing by a year, which featured “Tom’s Diner” and “Luka.”
Two other prominent songs on the album, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s “If You Leave” and Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Bring On the Dancing Horses,” were written specifically for the film in 1985. “Bring On the Dancing Horses,” however was released a few months earlier than this soundtrack on the semi-compilation album, Songs to Learn and Sing.
New Order’s “Shellshock” was one of three of the band’s songs in the movie, but the only one to be included on the soundtrack. “Thieves Like Us” (released on 1987s Substance) and the instrumental “Elegia” (from 1985s Low-Life) also appear in the film.
Nik Kershaw’s “Wouldn’t It Be Good” appears on album as a cover by Three Dog Night vocalist, Danny Hutton (The Danny Hutton Hitters). Danny Hutton managed several punk and post-punk bands following the split of Three Dog Night. The Danny Hutton Hitters was the only band he was in after Three Dog Night. Kershaw’s original version appeared on his 1983 debut.
“Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” only showed up on Smiths compilations. It was original released as a B-side on the single “William, It Was Really Nothing” in 1984.
For the 30th anniversary, Pretty In Pink is showing in select theaters this month, and is expected to include behind the scenes footage.
Hughes died in 2009 from a massive heart attack. He was only 59.