We spend a lot of time on this site talking about the forgotten music of years past. While we tend to focus on Mellow Gold, clearly we could apply the same type of analysis and discussion to a number of different types of music. Music that deserves our love, but has sadly fallen by the wayside. So, um, no time like the present, right?

Yes, that’s right, Jefito and I are collaborating to bring you a brand-new series. One that, again, focuses on that may have slipped from the public’s ears, but are never far from our hearts. Like most blog activity, it was sparked by idle chatter, but we’re really excited about it (actually, I’m excited — Jeff’s really really excited), and we think — nay, we demand — that you won’t be able to help yourself from following this new series from this blog to Jeff’s and back again. Mellowmas was fun, but it was just a warmup.

All right. Enough dicking around. Today, the two of us proudly present:

What is a Lost Soundtrack Classic, you ask? Good question. A Lost Soundtrack Classic is:

1) Primarily from a movie released in the ’80s;

2) A song that was, at the time, either included in the movie or on the soundtrack, but not available otherwise;

3) A song that often accompanies a montage in the movie, usually when the protagonist is finally getting over their hardship and climbing their way up the ladder to success.

There’s a very good possibility your brain is already working overtime, thinking of songs you remember from your favorite (or least favorite) flicks. That’s good — you think like us. We’ve got a robust list of these gems, and we’re going to do something long overdue: we’re going to honor these songs. We’re going to pay them the tribute they deserve. And in as many cases as possible, we’re going to hunt down the artists (some famous, some perhaps not-so-famous, to put it gently) and interview them regarding their important contributions to the world of cinema.

This is a lofty goal, and one we take seriously. We were, after all, at a very impressionable age when these movies and their soundtracks were released; we can’t help but have deep, unironic affection for them, and we weren’t sure how to do them justice. We discussed logistics ad nauseam, and even thought about throwing in the towel a few times. Honestly, it was discouraging.

But then, a voice crept into our heads:

Try to be best
Cause you’re only a man
And a man’s gotta learn to take it
Try to believe
Though the going gets rough
That you gotta hang tough to make it

History repeats itself
Try and you’ll succeed
Never doubt that you’re the one
And you can have your dreams!

And it was then, dear readers, that we knew what we had to do: We had to find out more about “You’re The Best,” from The Karate Kid.

Joe Esposito – You’re The Best (download)
From The Karate Kid (Amazon)

You remember “You’re The Best,” don’t you? The song that accompanies Daniel-san as he starts taking down members of the Cobra Kai at the All-Valley Karate Tournament? If you don’t, you shouldn’t be here here’s a refresher:


It didn’t take a lot of sleuthing to find out two things about this song:

1) The whole world loves it. Everybody from Danny Devito to Sports Guy Bill Simmons to Turkish Star Wars (?) to random YouTube d-bags. This song is adored the world over.

2) Nobody knows a damn thing about the man who brought “You’re The Best” to life: Joe “Bean” Esposito, and that’s where we come in.

According to the bio posted at Joe’s official website, we should all be ashamed of ourselves for not being better acquainted with the Bean; not only does he have a handful of albums to his credit, but he’s a three-time Grammy nominee, as well as “the other voice” in Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark,” and he’s contributed music to a whole bunch of movies. (Really. Too many to list. Go check it out.) But we still needed to know more — we demanded the full story behind Esposito and “You’re The Best.” And so, without further ado, LOST SOUNDTRACK CLASSICS PRESENTS: An Interview With Joe “Bean” Esposito!

1. You worked on both Rocky III and Rocky IV. From a musical standpoint, which do you feel was the better movie?
As far as which song was better, I originally did “You’re the Best” for Rocky III, but it didn’t make it, so the director, John Avildsen, used it for “Karate Kid.” I liked what Survivor did with “Eye of the Tiger,” but I also really liked “Hearts on Fire” a lot, and I don’t know if one is better than the other or not — although “Eye of the Tiger” was a hit record. I actually did a version of “Hearts on Fire,” but the record company used John Cafferty’s version. I think that was political — he was signed to the Scotti Brothers’ management company. I liked both movies a lot. I think Sylvester Stallone is the king of sequels.

2. To what extent are you aware of the — for lack of a better word — cult surrounding “You’re the Best,” and how do you feel about it?
I really can’t explain the song’s cult following. Everyone from my son’s generation knows that song and loves it. My son is a professional baseball player — he pitches for the Colorado Rockies’ triple-A team — and I can’t tell you how many people know that I’m his Dad because of that song. It’s amazing.

That movie, of course was very popular, and everyone uses all the catchphrases. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it — it gives me a little something back for all the years I put in. Don’t forget, I’m in Vegas, singing in lounges, and sometimes it’s a little discouraging. But when someone remembers what I’ve done from a movie, or a hit song I was on, it makes me feel pretty good. I have some real good friends who always encourage me, and it really helps me to keep going.

3. When you saw The Karate Kid, did you actually believe Ralph Macchio could beat anyone up?
I don’t think so. But it was fun watching.

4. Which Stallone was better to work with: Frank or Sylvester?
I enjoyed working with both Sylvester And Frank. Frank is very talented in his own right, and a fine singer. I had a good time being on the set of Staying Alive. When we wrote some songs for that movie, I got to see Sylvester in action, and meet John Travolta.

5. You contributed the song “Lady, Lady, Lady” to the soundtrack for Flashdance. Is it true that you sang backing vocals on the song “What A Feeling?” If so, did you have any reservations about singing the line “I am rhythm now?”
How in the world did you know I sang backgrounds on “What a Feeling”? You guys are amazing! I never thought about singing “I am rhythm now,” But it doesn’t bother me at all. I would take another Flashdance anytime! That soundtrack has been very good to me and my family.

Here’s some more trivia: I almost sang “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” from Dirty Dancing. Jimmy Ienner, who was the music supervisor on the movie, called me and asked if Donna Summer would be willing to sing something, but she turned it down because of the title. I’m not saying we would have definitely done the song, but you never know.

Oh, the ups and downs of the music business. That’s why when something like “You’re the Best,” or Flashdance, or whatever else comes along, you really appreciate it. I’ve been very lucky to have done some of the things I’ve been involved with.

6. Can you give us an update on your career, including your upcoming album?
Right now, I perform and live in Las Vegas. Very different from the music industry — it’s really the casino business. I am writing songs and doing some recording. You can check my website and you will know where I am and what I’m doing.

Special thanks to Joe Esposito for taking the time to speak to us about “You’re The Best” and his long career in the music industry. Joe’s got two albums on Amazon: Treated And Released (which, for some unknown reason, is credited to Billy Vera & The Beaters…screw those guys!) and his collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, Solitary Men – check ’em out, why don’t you? And the next time you’re in Vegas, see if he’s performing. Maybe you can even convince him to sing to you while you’re kicking some punk’s ass.

Okay, it’s finally time: let us know the songs you remember that fit our criteria. We’ll do our very best to cover them all in future editions of LOST SOUNDTRACK CLASSICS!

About the Author

Jason Hare

Jason Hare used to love Christmas. He feels differently now.

View All Articles