Top 10 Favorite Songs from Movie Soundtracks: NUMBER 7
7. Once Upon A Time in New York City – from Oliver and Company
Something I didn’t mention in the previous entry was the use of reverb in the song, which many songs since the late 50s took advantage off to create an engaging sound-scape. Some people may argue that reverb or echo chamber effects are used so much that they are a crutch, and are intended to cover up the faults of a poor singer. But I tend to think that whether or not that’s true, that I freaking love a song with reverb in it. Reverb adds a magical quality (as if I haven’t used that word enough) or a haunting quality to almost every song that uses it, and it is more than welcome. In the case of Huey Lewis and the News, they have always used reverb in their songs, and indeed many 80s artists looking for a “brighter” more pop edge to their music tended to utilize it.
It seems odd that a film, essentially powered by Billy Joel, decided to open with a Huey Lewis track, but one that perfectly sets the stage. Huey may not have any News here, but he still has his trademark sound, and one that perfectly fits the world of New York that Oliver and Company tries to paint. I love the use of synth horns that open the song, the use of tambourines for added zest, and the use of chimes and a light synth organ for sparkle. Mixed with Huey’s melancholy yet supportive lyrics and singing voice, it’s another beautiful track that I have often found myself singing to when watching the film.
Although Oliver and Company had a soundtrack released on both CD, Cassette tape and Vinyl, they are rather hard to come by, and the soundtrack was never released in digital format. Furthermore, none of Huey Lewis’ personal albums include the song, and any version you stumble upon on I-Tunes is a decidedly crappy rendition sung by someone hired by Disney to add to their sing-along CD collection: which almost always have inferior versions of their songs. So either you’ll have to track down a used copy of the soundtrack, or just buy the film. Either way, it should be worth your money.