If you were alive in the 1980's, chances are that the films of John Hughes have worked their way into your memory and/or heart. Whether it was that kiss over cake in Sixteen Candles, that never ending detention in Breakfast Club or Kevin Macallister's ill-fated aftershave encounter in Home Alone, the late-great Hughes created a nostalgic view of youth that still resonates whether you lived it or not.
For the Record: John Hughes (Holiday Road), the musical revue now playing at Show at Barre through Dec. 30, brings memorable songs of Hughes films to life, taking audiences back to the day when Simple Minds ruled the airwaves. For more on the Hughes musical madness, directors Shane Scheel and Christopher Lloyd Bratten gave us some insights about the songs and films that made Hughes' into an icon.
5. “I'm So Excited,” The Pointer Sisters – National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Shane Scheel: I grew up with the Vacation movies. Every summer my family would take a Griswold style vacation. We would pack up the car and pick grandma up along the way. My sister and I would fight in the back seat. We visited some crazy relatives, had car trouble, got lost and stayed in some hilarious lodges. John Hughes knew how to write about 80's families. Plus “I'm So Excited” is on the em>Vacation soundtrack. My first directing job was for the Main Street Sisters in Buhler, Kansas. I was 10 and this song was the opening number.
Christopher Lloyd Bratten: “I'm So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters was the theme song to my childhood. How could anyone not get excited listening to this song? Plus, it has a killer piano part, so I'm a little biased since that's my instrument.
4. “This Woman's Work,” Kate Bush – She's Having a Baby
SS: I tend to be nostalgic about the lesser-known John Hughes film She's Having A Baby. Hughes looked through the eyes of young adults coming of age, struggling with commitment and starting a family. His first romantic comedy. The Kate Bush tune “This Woman's Work” is used brilliantly.
CLB: “This Woman's Work” by Kate Bush is definitely a favorite. I had never heard this song before we started creating For The Record: John Hughes, but I fell in love with it instantly. It has such pristine beauty and simplicity, and its melodic and lyrical lines are breathtaking.
3. “Young Americans,” David Bowie – Sixteen Candles
CLB: David Bowie is, in my opinion, one of the masterminds of the 80s. I actually think he's an alien, and his lyrics are evidence of that. Come to think of it, most of the songs from the 80's have bizarre and cryptic lyrics. But who cares, because the songs are so catchy, right? The chorus to “Young Americans” often gets stuck in my head long after the show has ended. It's energetic, with a light-hearted spirit yet pointed lyrics, and I love the background vocals.
2. “Somewhere In My Memory,” John Williams – Home Alone
CLB: Home Alone is a given. It's a Christmas classic, and it speaks to the child in all of us, inspiring the wonder, joy and love of the holiday season. Not to mention it contains one of the most memorable moments in movie history — little Macaulay Culkin screaming as he slaps the aftershave on his face. “Somewhere In My Memory,” the film's signature song, sparks a warm, fuzzy feeling in me every time I hear the melody.
1. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” The Smiths, performed by Dream Academy – Ferris Bueller's Day Off
CLB: My favorite John Hughes movie by far is Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I grew up with this movie, and I don't think there was a single kid out there who didn't want to be Ferris Bueller. Ferris defied boundaries and stereotypes — he was cool but also a little geeky, he was attractive but not a supermodel, he was a rebel but with good intentions. I still wish I could have a single day as eventful and profound as Ferris Bueller's day off.
“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by The Smiths is another simple yet profoundly moving ballad. The lyrics give voice to a longing that exists in all of us – asking, begging, the universe to please answer our prayers and grant us happiness, just once. This is an emotional struggle that most teenagers face as they enter the world and begin to face life's harsh realities. Sometimes just hearing our anguish echoed through another's words soothes our souls.