Soundtrack Studies: Electric Light Orchestra Sells Movies
  • THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2013

  • Posted by: Matt Howard

When you think of epic film scene-soundtrack moments, which songs pop into your mind? Maybe it's just me, but I tend to hear the ringing of the Rolling Stones in the back of my brain. Whether it's "Gimme Shelter" in Goodfellas or "I Am Waiting" in Rushmore, the Stones seem to monopolize my long-term memory. There is, however, another group whose music over the years has battled with the Stones as their tunes take movies the extra mile.

Watching the most recent trailer for David O. Russell's upcoming (sure-to-be award-winning) American Hustle, you'll hear "10538 Overture" - the first song ever written by Electric Light Orchestra. Without its slow-built tension and eventual, orchestral urgency, this trailer would be a bunch of attractive people in silly costumes speaking nonsensical one-liners. In this instance, the story line and dynamic cast of characters are only additional perks - ELO's Jeff Lynne sells this movie.




This isn't the only trailer that's utilized Lynne's music. ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" was responsible for convincing us that Jim Carrey in a dramatic role can be a good thing...sometimes.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)




And when it's not selling dramas about memory-erased heartbreak, ELO's music is selling kids' flicks. "Don't Bring Me Down" was used earlier this summer in a trailer for Planes:




Their musical catalog isn't only reputable for its use in trailers. Throughout the past four and a half decades, songs been scattered throughout countless films. From the outrageous Xanadu to Donnie Brasco, the brilliant and spacey work of perfectionist composer Jeff Lynne remains timeless on the silver screen. American Hustle, in fact, is not David O. Russell's first dabble with ELO as he featured "Livin' Thing" in Boogie Nights. But there is one scene that sticks out as the greatest film usage of ELO to date. Back in 1996, Bobby and Peter Farrelly borrowed from group's 1973 release On the Third Day, a little song called "Showdown". Bowling + Bill Murray + ELO = Climactic brilliance.



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