Top Ten Thursdays: The Top Ten Songs From John Hughes Soundtracks

​As a baby of the '80s (well, I was actually born in '78), John Hughes' films played an important role in entertaining and, in all likelihood, shaping me. VHS copies of Vacation, Christmas Vacation, The Great Outdoors, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Mr. Mom all enjoyed regular rotation in our household.

Home Alone came out when my friends and I were in seventh grade. We rode our bikes to the theater the weekend it opened, and laughed so loud and hard that soda squirted out our noses. On my own in college I would later discover Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and the filmmaker's masterpiece The Breakfast Club.   

Hughes passed away suddenly last week at age 59, but will be remembered fondly for making movies that were at once humorous and humane. His soundtracks accomplished the same delicate balance. Here's my highly subjective list of the best songs to appear in Hughes' films.

1. "The Spirit of Christmas," by Ray Charles, from Christmas Vacation

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Every time the attic scene comes on, and I hear Ray Charles deliver my all-time favorite Christmas song, in my all-time favorite Christmas movie, I feel a need to wipe away a manly tear. The touching images and sweet sounds evoke a lot of strong memories for me. My family hasn't missed watching Christmas Vacation together during the holidays once in the 20 years since its release. My parents keep a DVD at their house. I inherited the original VHS copy, which I plan to hold onto for a very long time.

2. "Don't You (Forget About Me)," by Simple Minds, from Breakfast Club

A mix of melancholy and nostalgic happiness overcome me every time I hear this smash from '85, the year I enjoyed a wonderful second grade experience (and my first crush) at Hershey Elementary school in Pennsylvania.

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