Any film that’s billed as A Rock & Roll Fable better have a killer soundtrack, and Streets of Fire surprisingly manages to live up to that charge. The film is a slice of 80s neon soaked retro rock and tough guy patter. The plot follows Tom Cody, a vet who is back on the street, and looking for his Ex a Singer named Ellen Aim who has just been kidnapped by a gang and Tom and a group of hangers on have to rescue her. All of this looks cool, and has a certain charm, but it really ends up with the music being the star. Not only the star, but a bigger hit than the film with the best known track Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You" reaching Billboard’s top 10 in 1984. I recall having heard it often on the local Top 40 station when I was growing up. It’s a slick pop tune that is just catchy enough, just glossy enough and just smooth enough to be one of the greatest one hit wonder pop songs of the 80s.
The strongest and most overblown tunes on the soundtrack came from writer Jim Steinman, best know for his work with Meatloaf in the 70s. "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" and "Nowhere Fast," both by Fire Inc. have an urgency and power that can not be denied. They are grand and striking, and they keep a beat and energy that most songs this long can’t outside of musical theater. They have anthem written all over them, it’s almost too bad that they seem to be forgotten at this point. I would like to think that every 9th grade dance in the world would end with Tonight is What it Means to be Young.
The Blasters, a great 80s retro rockabilly band, not only provide two tracks for the album, but also appeared live playing One Bad Stud in the film. I don’t have their tracks listed under the album on my iTunes because they are included on their complete recordings, which I also own. Needless to say they are essential to any collection of 80s LA bands that should have been bigger. I also find there is a element of reality in their inclusion in Streets of Fire, as if their music and presence is saying that there is a reality beyond the faux 50s of the film that can’t be hidden.
The soundtrack for Streets of Fire is one of the best of the 80s, and it’s well worth picking up a copy. It is about time that someone out there got smart and offered an affordable Bluray/ DVD/ Download/ Copy of the Soundtrack all in one package.
Marilyn Martin - "Sorcerer"
The Fixx - "Deeper and Deeper"
Greg Phillinganes - "Countdown to Love"
The Blasters - "One Bad Stud"
Maria McKee - "Never Be You"
Ry Cooder - "Hold That Snake"
The Blasters - Blue Shadows
Next: Wristcutters The Original Soundtrack coming 7 April 2011