Soundtrack Saturday: “Sixteen Candles”

When I started the Soundtrack Saturday feature in 2006 on my old blog, I did so because I’d discovered that most of the movies that were pivotal to my coming of age have amazing soundtracks that were either never released in full, are long out of print, or both. Several of those soundtracks come from John Hughes flicks, like this week’s subject, Sixteen Candles (1984). I’ve been wanting to post about this movie for some time, but it took me a while to get my shit together.

Sixteen Candles might possibly have been my first “favorite” movie as a kid. After Star Wars, that is. I was lucky enough to have parents who didn’t mind my brother and me watching movies rated PG-13 or higher as long as the boobies were kept to a minimum, but Sixteen Candles was only PG, despite the boobies it featured, so it got a thumbs-up in my house. In fact we often watched it together — quality family time!

If you’re a Popdose reader and you don’t know what this movie is about, then I have to wonder about you. And in case you’re someone who hasn’t seen it yet (so sad), here’s the lowdown (if you’d rather skip my synopsis you can just read the movie poster above): It’s Samantha Baker’s (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday, and in the midst of the hubbub surrounding her older sister Ginny’s (Blanche Baker) wedding, her family has forgotten all about it. To add to Samantha’s misery, she has a crush on senior Jake Ryan (Michael Shoeffling) but is pretty sure he has no idea she exists; she’s constantly being hounded by the king of the nerds, a.k.a. Farmer Ted (Anthony Michael Hall); and she gets stuck entertaining her grandparents’ cuckoo foreign exchange student, Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), at the school dance.

Of course, as with many John Hughes comedies from the ’80s, wackiness ensues over the course of the evening for several characters: Long Duk Dong meets the woman of his dreams and they wreak havoc wherever they go; Farmer Ted gets the privilege of driving Jake’s drunk girlfriend (Haviland Morris) home from a party she threw at Jake’s house; Jake decides he likes Samantha and tries to find out if she likes him; and Samantha tries to forget the entire night ever happened. Samantha’s nightmare seemingly continues the next day at her sister’s wedding, but things eventually turn around, leaving the film with a happy ending.

As I mentioned earlier, the official soundtrack album is out of print and tragically incomplete — the original release only contained a fraction of the songs featured in the film. I tried to find everything, but I’m missing a couple of tracks, most notably “Geek Boogie” by Ira Newborn & the Geeks. I know that a complete version of this soundtrack is something many ’80s movie buffs have sought out over the years, so I did my best to provide that for you here.

Kajagoogoo – Kajagoogoo (Main Title Song)
AC/DC – Snowballed
Darlene Love – Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry
Paul Young – Love of the Common People
Altered Images – Happy Birthday
The Temple City Kazoo Orchestra – Kazooed on Klassics
Ray Anthony and His Orchestra – Dragnet
Night Ranger – Rumours in the Air
Ray Anthony and His Orchestra – Peter Gunn Theme
Spandau Ballet – True
Oingo Boingo – Wild Sex (In the Working Class)
The Specials – Little Bitch
Tim Finn- Growing Pains
Nick Heyward – When It Started to Begin
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Lenny
Nick Heyward – Whistle Down the Wind
Divinyls – Ring Me Up
Nino Rota – Love Theme From The Godfather
The Vapors – Turning Japanese
The Revillos – Rev Up
The Premiers – Farmer John
Annie Golden – Hang Up the Phone
Patti Smith – Gloria
Frank Sinatra – Theme From New York, New York
Wham! – Young Guns (Go for It)
Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
David Bowie – Young Americans
Thompson Twins – If You Were Here
The Stray Cats – Sixteen Candles

  • Jill

    Kelly, wow this is really comprehensive. I used to have the cassette which had like 8 songs maybe. Thank you so much this is awesome!

  • DavidMedsker

    Divinyls? That's who did that song? I always wondered who that was. Incredible post.

  • Eric S.

    Is there any 80's movie that Oingo Boingo didn't have a song in? No wonder Danny Elfman can't stay away from soundtracks.

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  • EightE1

    How cool is this post? Kelly, you've done it again. I'm filled with the spirit — I've gotta find my DVD and watch this again.

    Whassa-hopnin', Hot Stuff?


  • flaregun

    My ex-wife's favorite movie which I have had to sit through countless times, good soundtrack though.
    Oh, and they are so PERKY.
    I can't believe my grandmother actually felt me up.

  • enohead

    I love you for posting this.

  • Chris X

    No more wanky my yankee!

  • The Man I Used To Be

    “If You Were Here” by the Thompson Twins is a mid-80s synth masterpiece. The placement of the song in the last scene helps too.

  • long

    the donger need food

  • Rob

    I wish I could complete everyone's collection because I have “Geek Boogie” on my ipod – but somehow not on my computer.

    I used “Geek” as the background music to one of two personal John Hughes mixes I posted on my blog a while back:

    One takes sound clips from “Sixteen Candles” and sets it to “Geek Boogie”; another does the same by pairing “Ferris Bueller” sound clips with “Oh Yeah” by Yello and “March of the Swivelheads” by the English Beat.

    Hope you enjoy.

    If you can't tell, I'm a big fan of both movies – and their music.

  • Carrie

    Thank you. I love the 80's soundtracks.

  • Scot

    Somewhere in my intraweb surfing I came across a Sixteen Candles soundtrack post where the author had tracked down and interviewed Ira Newborn. I snagged a bunch of mp3 from that post, inclusing Geek Boogie. I'm at work, but I'll email 'em to you when I get home if I remember.

  • trickhips

    thank you so much for this. i collected as much of the vinyl and cassette material as i could back in 1986-1990, when it could still be readily had. this is a great post.

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  • Surlyboi

    I spent about three months five years ago chasing down all these songs to put together my own version of the soundtrack. Great job.

  • christine

    OH man, I'm so sad I missed this!! I have the cassette of this soundtrack and have been hunting songs for years. I started my Specials collection after hunting down songs from this movie. Any chance of posting it again?

  • will

    dude, encore! so pissed I missed this!

  • will

    dude, encore! so pissed I missed this!

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  • Just saying

    “Our House” by Madness is not mentioned but is in the movie.

  • Just saying

    “Our House” by Madness is not mentioned but is in the movie.

  • Retro Remixes

    I LOVE this column. It's brilliant and very necessary. I noticed the links are dead so if anyone's still looking for some of these,we have an almost-complete version at Retro Remixes. Alas,I have also been unable to find “Geek Boogie”. It is apparently lost to the ages.

  • Kyra

    Could you please re-upload this?