5 Songs Written For Films That Became Hits

Music and cinema often go hand in hand. From famous movie scores like Star Wars to blockbuster hits like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic, music can be just as impactful as the films themselves. While there have been many hit songs that have been featured in films, there are several that have gone in the reverse order. Check out a handful of songs you didn’t know were written for films that then became hits.

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1. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (Holiday Inn)

“White Christmas” has long been a holiday classic, but some may not realize that it was originally written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 holiday film, Holiday Inn, which stars Bing Crosby. The song was a sleeper hit, initially overshadowed by Holiday Inn‘s other hit, “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” “White Christmas” eventually rose to the top of the charts, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Holiday 100 and No. 12 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

“White Christmas” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1943 and became the title of the 1954 film that also saw Crosby as the leading man. The fact that it’s a holiday song has not contained the song’s impact, as “White Christmas” is the biggest-selling single of all time, having sold an estimated 50 million physical copies worldwide.

2. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (Titanic)

There’s no sound quite as melancholy as that of the penny whistle that greets you at the start of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” The song was penned by James Horner and Will Jennings as the theme song for the blockbuster film, Titanic. The song was released on both the Titanic soundtrack and Dion’s album, Let’s Talk About Love in November 1997 and released as a single that same month. From Dion’s convincing delivery to the touching lyrics that connect to the heartbreaking ending to the film, “My Heart Will Go On” was a worldwide hit.

Its legacy is undeniable: it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1998, along with four Grammy Awards, and hit No. 1 in more than 25 countries. It’s one of the best-selling singles of all time with more than 18 million copies sold and is the second biggest-selling single by a woman behind Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

[RELATED: 7 Unforgettable Songs from Movies You Should Be Listening to Today]

3. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (Frozen)

When it comes to movies that have birthed hit songs, there may be no more popular example than “Let it Go” from Frozen. What started off as a liberating song performed by Idina Menzel’s character Elsa turned into a global phenomenon.

Penned by husband and wife songwriting duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, “Let It Go” took on a new life outside of the blockbuster Disney film. In addition to winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2014, it hit the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first song from a Disney animated film to do so since 1995. Having been translated into 25 languages, “Let it Go” has truly resonated with audiences around the world.

4. “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)

When Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga starred alongside each other in the 2018 adaption of A Star is Born, it’s likely that neither of them knew just how popular their duet, “Shallow,” would be. Co-written by Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Mark Ronson, and Anthony Rossomando, “Shallow” can first be heard in a pivotal scene in the movie wherein Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, invites Gaga’s character Ally to sing it with him onstage.

The song exploded on and off the screen and was a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won several awards, including the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

5. “I’m Just Ken” by Ryan Gosling (Barbie: The Movie)

With the arrival of the soundtrack for the widely popular Barbie movie that features several A-list names, including Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo, comes Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” that quickly proved to be a standout. The song was penned by the album’s producers, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, as an ’80s power ballad to capture the second-best mentality of Gosling’s character, Ken. Though it was intended just for the soundtrack, Gosling requested that he sing it in the movie.

“You really fall in love with this hapless, but immediately sympathetic figure,” Ronson told Vanity Fair about writing “I’m Just Ken.” “I instantly had this idea for this lyric: I’m just Ken / Anywhere else I’d be a 10. It just seemed funny. It felt a little bit emo, like, this poor guy. He’s so hot, but can’t get the time of day.” Surprisingly, the song shot to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart and has accumulated more than 50 million streams on Spotify.

Photo by ALICE CHICHE/AFP via Getty Images

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