If you're under the age of 40 and have head-banged to Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody” — which came out in 1975 — you've probably been influenced by the 1992 classic (?) SNL-spin-off comedy Wayne's World. But that's not its only banger; in fact, seemingly the entire soundtrack infiltrated the musical culture of generation X and beyond.
This year, the film turns 21, finally legal to drink, and the cast and crew is celebrating with a screening and discussion tonight at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (It's sold out, but a standby line will form at 5:30 p.m.) In honor of the movie that made us all bow down to Alice Cooper and the Fender Stratocaster, here are the five most culturally significant songs from its totally amazing, excellent soundtrack. Party on.
5) Tia Carrere's “Ballroom Blitz”
Originally recorded by British rock band The Sweet in 1973 and later covered by punk bands The Rezillos, The Damned and The Buzzcocks, among dozens of others, “Ballroom Blitz” was arguably best performed by Cassandra (Tia Carrere) of the fictonal Wayne's World band, Crucial Taunt. Her high-pitched shrieking and howling gives the sing-along a whole new urgency as it leads the movie into its climactic series of multiple-choice endings — including the Scooby Doo variation.
4) Gary Wright's “Dream Weaver”
Gary Wright re-recorded a longer version of his 1975 soft rock ballad specifically for use in Wayne's World, and it's become the ultimate love-at-first-sight sound bite. It soundtracks, of course, Wayne falling head over heels for the bass-slinging, Cantonese-speaking Cassandra.
3) Jimi Hendrix's “Foxy Lady”
Just as “Dream Weaver” is the song that plays in Wayne's mind when he sees Cassandra, Hendrix's “Foxy Lady” (1967) is Garth's own personal anthem for his dream girl, Donna Dixon, whom he imagines serenading at the coffee shop. Lacking all the swagger and sex appeal of Hendrix, Garth's “Foxy Lady” dance routine is, for better or worse, now synonymous with the song.
2) Alice Cooper's “Feed My Frankenstein”
Released the same year as Wayne's World, Alice Cooper's “Feed My Frankenstein” is the only song on the soundtrack that's actually performed in the movie by its original writer and performer. Cooper emerges from a giant skeleton's torso during his on-screen concert, while Wayne and Garth tout the incomparable joys of a having a backstage pass. (We're not worthy!)
1) Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Ballroom Blitz” is the film's last song, while 1975's “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975) is in its opening credits. An unlikely pop hit — very few people, if anyone, actually understand the lyrics — it's become a beloved karaoke anthem. In the movie it's sung in unison as Wayne and Garth cruise through the streets of Aurora and their buddy in the back seat tries not to spew.