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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, we check out the top old songs made popular again thanks to film and TV show soundtracks.

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Remember that time you heard a song on a movie soundtrack that made you stop and think, “Wait, what is this gem? And why haven’t I heard it before?” This isn’t a rare occurrence. Film and TV shows have a unique ability to breathe new life into old songs, propelling forgotten classics back into the spotlight and reminding us of the musical treasures of the past. Remember the Saltburn craze that sparked an unexpected revival of the 2001 hit, Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie-Ellis Bexter?

In this post, we’ll embark on a nostalgic journey, exploring some of the most iconic instances where film and TV soundtracks resurrected old songs and sent them soaring back up the charts.

To help us out, the experts at BonusFinder examined search volumes for a series of coveted soundtracks, both a month before and after the release of the associated movie or series, to unveil the top old songs made popular again and the tunes reaping the most benefits by delving into potential royalty earnings on Spotify.

Top 15 Old Songs Made Popular Again Thanks To Soundtracks

RankSongArtistMovie/TV showNo. of TikTok videosGlobal Monthly Search Volumes Before Movie/TVGlobal Monthly Search Volumes After Movie/TVSearch increase (%)
1Goo Goo Muck (1981)The CrampsWednesday (2022)243,04274015,1001,940.54%
2Red Right Hand (1994)Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsPeaky Blinders (2013)57,6306702,600288.06%
3Running Up That Hill (1985)Kate BushStranger Things S4 (2022)2,760,70024,40051,600111.48%
4Material Girl (1985)MadonnaBridgerton (2022)1,328,60076,400132,30073.17%
5Bloody Mary (2011)Lady GagaWednesday (2022)74,1001,6002,40050.00%
6Straight Outta Compton (1988)N.W.AStraight Outta Compton (2015)15,3286,6009,40042.42%
7Head Like a Hole (1989)Nine Inch NailsBlack Mirror (2019)4,4464,5005,70026.67%
8Something In The Way (1991)NirvanaThe Batman (2022)253,10030,00037,30024.33%
9Seven Wonders (1987)Fleetwood MacAmerican Horror Story: Coven (2014)11,94454062014.81%
10Immigrant Song (1970)Led ZeppelinThor: Ragnarok (2017)128,37234,30037,80010.20%
11Bad (1984)U2The 100 (2020)8715,6006,1008.93%
12Murder On The Dancefloor (2001)‎Sophie Ellis-BextorSaltburn (2023)411,30011,50012,0004.35%
13Dream On (1973)AerosmithThe Boys (2020)84,40097,20099,3002.16%
14Danger Zone (1986)Kenny LogginsTop Gun: Maverick (2022)387,20049,40050,4002.02%
15Crash into Me (1996)Dave Matthews BandLady Bird (2017)5407,3007,4001.37%

Goo Goo Muck

Topping the list with a staggering 1,940% increase in searches is The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” (1981), which catapulted to stardom after being used as the backdrop for a spooky dance choreography in Netflix’s 2022 smash-hit Wednesday. The ‘80s tune quickly turned into a huge TikTok sensation, experiencing a meteoric rise from a mere 300 videos to an astonishing 200,000 in a single month.

Released in 1962 by Ronnie Cook and the Gaylads, it tells the tale of a teenager who transforms into a monstrous “Goo Goo Muck” at night, roaming the streets in search of something to eat. The song’s catchy melody and campy lyrics hold a certain B-movie charm, but it faded into obscurity shortly after its release.

Jenna Ortega, who portrays Wednesday, choreographed the dance herself, adding her own dark and quirky flair to the movement. The scene quickly went viral, with fans recreating the dance and dissecting the song’s deeper meaning.

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Red Right Hand

In second is Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” (1994) which found fame as the theme song of the BBC series Peaky Blinders, receiving a 288% bump in searches a month after the programme’s premiere.

This hauntingly beautiful song isn’t just a catchy theme tune; it’s a thematic cornerstone for the show, perfectly capturing the essence of Tommy Shelby and the Peaky Blinders themselves. The song’s lyrics about a man haunted by his past and seeking redemption resonate with Tommy’s own internal struggle. He grapples with the weight of his actions and the violence that has become his way of life.

Throughout the series, “Red Right Hand” has been reimagined by various artists, each version adding a new layer of depth to the show’s themes. From PJ Harvey’s ethereal rendition to the raw energy of Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker’s collaboration, each cover song reflects the changing dynamics and escalating stakes within the Peaky Blinders’ world.

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Running Up That Hill

Resurrected by one of Netflix’s biggest hits, Stranger Things, the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush has been struck by luck in 2022 when her 1985 track “Running Up That Hill” took center stage in an iconic scene where Max frantically fled the Upside Down villain Vecna. The song reclimbed the charts nearly four decades after its release, successfully attracting a new generation of listeners with a 111% jump in searches, ranking third in the study.

Released in 1985, “Running Up That Hill” explores themes of escapism, yearning, and a desire to break free from limitations. The song’s lyrics resonate deeply with Max’s emotional state. She’s grappling with the trauma of Billy’s death, and Vecna preys on her vulnerability. The song becomes her anchor, a reminder of the life and happiness she desperately wants to hold onto.

“Running Up That Hill” isn’t just a song in Stranger Things; it’s a crucial element of the narrative. It provides a powerful emotional core to Max’s journey, showcasing the strength and resilience of the human spirit. The song’s message of hope and perseverance resonates with viewers long after the scene ends, leaving a lasting impression that goes far beyond the realm of entertainment.

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Material Girl

Madonna’s “Material Girl” (1985) comes fourth with searches escalating by a notable 73% after being given a fresh orchestral twist in the second season of Netflix’s royal hit Bridgerton (2022).

The inclusion of a pop song from the late 20th century in an early 19th century setting was no accident. It was a deliberate choice by the show’s creator, Chris Van Dusen, who aimed to create a sense of playful anachronism. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy melody served as a stark contrast to the traditional string orchestra music typically associated with period dramas.

The lyrics of “Material Girl” explore themes of social status and materialism, which are central to Bridgerton’s plot. The Sharmas are newcomers to the London social scene, and the song could be interpreted as a subtle commentary on the societal pressures of wealth and appearances.

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Bloody Mary

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” rounds off the top five after a sped-up version went viral on TikTok with fans adopting Wednesday’s dance to the 2011 pop song, despite not actually being featured in the show. The song’s overall mood aligns perfectly with the dramatic nature of the dance. The contortions and poses echo the dark imagery of the lyrics, creating a visually cohesive performance.

With its dark, electronic beats and haunting lyrics, it resonated with fans who embraced its theatricality and gothic undertones. However, for a large portion of the world, the song remained a lesser-known gem in Gaga’s vast discography.

Thanks to TikTok, “Bloody Mary” is no longer a cult classic confined to a niche audience. It’s a song that has transcended its original release and found a new life in the digital age. The dance craze may come and go, but it has undeniably left a lasting mark on the legacy of Lady Gaga’s music. So next time you hear those opening synth notes of “Bloody Mary,” you might not just think of dark lyrics and gothic imagery – you might also picture a wave of TikTok users contorting their bodies with dramatic flair.

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Murder On The Dance Floor

Despite a modest 4.35% uptick in search volumes, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor” (2001) surging popularity is indisputable. The song’s resurgence is evident on TikTok, with a huge spike in users recreating Barry Keoghan’s dance moves as video count soared to 411,300 on the platform, a significant leap from just 571 the day before the movie release.

The song choice itself is a deliberate subversion of expectations. “Murder on the Dance Floor” is a catchy, danceable tune with seemingly lighthearted lyrics about “killing the groove” and “burning the house down.” However, juxtaposed against Oliver’s calculated actions and the film’s dark undertones, the song takes on a more sinister meaning. Oliver’s joyous dance becomes a metaphor for his successful manipulation and ultimate triumph over the Catton family. Oliver’s nudity symbolizes him shedding the façade he maintained to gain the Catton’s trust and inherit Saltburn. The dance becomes a display of his true self, reveling in his ruthless victory.

The “Murder on the Dance Floor” scene has sparked debate among viewers. Some find it brilliant, a darkly comedic and unexpected twist on the narrative. Others find it jarring and unnecessary. Regardless of interpretation, the scene undeniably adds a layer of complexity to Oliver’s character and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

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