With heart-shaped cookies in grocery stores and rom-coms queued up on Netflix, it can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day is upon us. And what’s the secret to creating a night-in worthy romantic movie? Great couplings and excellent chemistry, but to us, it also takes some of the greatest love songs ever written. After all, without “Earth Angel,” Lorraine and George McFly don’t get their first kiss at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and without Frank Sinatra, Harry doesn’t run down the streets of New York City to tell Sally he’s in love with her.
It’s the power of music + sound that elevates those iconic moments and helps the characters rise to the occasion. The result is enduring emotional connections for onscreen lovers and romance-adoring audiences alike. In other words, the right song at the right moment can, ahem, “lift us up where we belong.”
So in the spirit of the season of romance, we recruited some of Made Music’s own to share some of their favorite love song moments from movie history. Scroll on and take in a healthy dose of nostalgia, a few words of love, and plenty of cheese, courtesy of our music + movie-loving team.
And if you don’t see your favorite on our list? We’ve got you covered with a playlist of love songs fit for your whatever Valentine’s mood you’re going for.
You are so beautiful. It’s one of the simplest and most profound declarations a lover can say to a paramour, and it is certifiably one of the greatest love songs of all time.
You’ve probably enjoyed renditions by Billy Preston, Joe Cocker, Kenny Rogers, or Norah Jones, but I think we can all agree that the song’s true potential was not realized until 1994, when Alfalfa sang it directly to his true love, Darla, on a romantic rowboat ride for two, his hair pointed skyward, somewhere in the waterways of an undefined California suburb (sidenote: I’m going to steal this date idea).
Because while Alfalfa may not have the same talent or training as those other singers, what he does have is the vulnerability, inspiration, and courage to cast off the shackles of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club, look Darla right in the eyes, and sing those magic words.
– Lucas Murray, Supervising Music Producer
A movie about a one-hit wonder, with a featured original song that truly fit the bill, and then charted in real life. I had a huge crush on Tom Everett Scott, and the That Thing You Do! songbook featured prominently in the weekly jam sessions I had with the bands I played in during middle school. Only as an adult was I aware of and able to appreciate that Adam Schlesinger wrote that title song — an incredibly prolific and talented songwriter and artist who tragically passed from complications of Covid-19.
– Amy Crawford, ECD, Music Products
As a Gen-Xr, a lover of good cheese, and a kinda sensitive dude, I can’t help but be transported by certain cultural milestones of the 1980s. The Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes duet “Up Where We Belong” brings the best-est stinkiest cheese of that decade (the bell piano of the DX-7 intro gives it all up, friends.)
And, yes, we’ve heard all the love songs and all the eagle-fly-on-a-mountain-high metaphors. Still, a deeper listen can take us to a more profound place, one that blends a quasi-church-ey Bach chorale, two-voice harmony heaven and a universal praise of love as a vehicle to healing and resistance. Could even be ecstatic, if you ask me. Oh, and it did win the Oscar AND the Grammy in 1983. Good cheese stinks for a reason.
– Alexis Cuadrado, Senior Music Producer
I’ve never seen City of Angels, but when it was released I felt it deep down in my aching middle-school heart through the song “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, written for the movie. I know the film explores the pains of being human, of love, of longing, and lyrics like “you bleed just to know you’re alive” really captured angst as I too struggled with what it meant to be seen and human, navigating teenage crushes and blooming relationships for the first time.
Dedicated to my inner youth, laying on her bed with her CD player, who can still hear the final refrain now, “When everything’s made to be broken. I just want you to know who I am.”
– Kristen Lueck, Account Director
With all due respect to Leonard Cohen: most songs from the Shrek franchise people of a certain age only know thanks to those movies. It’s part of my theory that Shrek 2 will be credited with forever altering the course of pop culture history.
While “Accidentally in Love” was written especially for the opening of Shrek 2, it’s one of the franchise’s most memorable musical moments. Through references to blue skies and strawberry ice cream, the song’s a surrender to the ooey gooiness of fairytale love stories — the kind of love Shrek never thought he’d have. That’s romance, folks!
– Danielle Gutierrez, Writer + Senior Marketing Manager
The handsome, considerate boyfriend waiting with his hot car, flowers and dog in bow — the stuff of my tween dreams and a high bar for romance my dating life never delivered on. Reflecting now, I wish they’d dropped the full body hug and let her ride high on her self love. But it was the 80’s.
– Lauren McGuire, President
The moment “These Eyes” is featured in 2007’s Superbad isn’t during a climactic kiss or some romantic meet cute (unless you count Michael Cera stumbling into a dorm-room-chic coke den as one).
But when you think about it, maybe a nervous, voice-cracking rendition of a song originally from 1968 does represent the things we do for love – be it following your best friend to a random party to steal booze, or risking life and limb to finally tell your crush how you really feel.
Through thick and thin, sometimes we just need to tell those around us that no matter what happens, the hurtin’s on me.
– Alex Coutts, SVP, Head of Experience