10 Popular Artists Who Released Original Songs for Movies

When music and film collide, the result is a 2x serving of hit-maker proportions. Musical films have been around since the early parts of the 1900s. Adapting and blending with the wants, needs and pretty pleases of the audience, the film industry has seen it all – from scripting entire musicals to collaborating with massively successful artists and working with renowned composers to bring the magic on-screen.

Quickest to think of are Disney classics like ‘A Whole New World’ from ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen, and ‘Reflection’ from 1998’s animated ‘Mulan’ film by none other than pop royalty Aguilera herself. Songs are written to fit within the film, often pushing the story along by including important bits of dialogue into the lyrics with visuals to match. Characters could do a complete 180° and discover shrouded mysteries, make friends, make enemies, make haste, or make a meal, singing and dancing all the way through.

While numerous songs from blockbuster films still make the rounds today, music in film and visual entertainment on a grand scale has been widely applied and equally enjoyed. Most recently, the soundtrack from 2023’s hit film ‘Barbie’ has been sweeping accolades and peaking on charts. Produced by Mark Ronson, Kevin Weaver, and Brandon Davis, ‘Barbie the Album’ featured the likes of Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Ice Spice, Sam Smith, Pinkpanthress, Charli XCX, and more! Apart from the soundtrack making the rounds on the internet, it was well received commercially – peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Soundtrack Year-End charts, winning the Top Soundtrack award at the Billboard Music Awards, and getting nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media at the Grammys 2024.

The list of music in (musical) films is understandably hefty, but we’re taking a specific look at that sweet spot where pop music crosses over to the big screens. Where you’d sit through end credits because the song is just that good, or tolerate a lengthy montage with your ears piqued and your Siri on “I’m listening.” From action and drama to fantasy and romance, here are ten popular songs by pop artists for some of the biggest films of our time.

Doja Cat – ‘Vegas’ (‘ELVIS’)

Doja Cat – ‘Vegas’

Doja Cat’s ‘Vegas’ was rolled out as the lead single from the soundtrack for the Austin Butler starrer Elvis Presley biopic ‘Elvis.’ The film was directed by Baz Luhrmann and became one of the biggest movies released last year.

‘Vegas’ has garnered over 280 million streams on Spotify and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Produced by Yeti Beats, the producer behind ‘Woman’ and ‘Kiss Me More,’ and Rogét Chahayed, Travis Scott’s ‘Sicko Mode’ producer, ‘Vegas’ samples Big Mama Thornton’s ‘Hound Dog.’ Yeti Beats, Rogét Chahayed, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Doja Cat have been credited as the songwriters of the track on Spotify.

ZAYN, Taylor Swift – ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ (‘Fifty Shades Darker’)

ZAYN, Taylor Swift – ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’

Peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, ZAYN and Taylor Swift’s collaboration ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ became an instant hit. It amassed over 1.3 billion streams on Spotify and was played everywhere! Recorded for the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ sequel ‘Fifty Shades Darker,’ the song was produced by Jack Antonoff. Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, and Sam Dew penned the lyrics for the song.

‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ also received ‘Best Song Written for Visual Media’ Grammy nod and won a trophy for best collaboration at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The accompanying music video for the song was released on Taylor Swift, ZAYN, and Fifty Shades’ YouTube channels, and they have collectively surpassed 980 million views on the platform.

Beyoncé – ‘Be Alive’ (‘King Richard’)

Beyoncé – ‘Be Alive’

‘Be Alive’ was recorded for the 2021 biopic ‘King Richard.’ Starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, the movie received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Song, and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Song nomination.

Beyoncé sang the song and co-wrote it with DIXSON, who also produced the track. The Grammy-winning singer opened the 2022 Academy Awards with the performance of this song at the Tragniew Park Tennis Courts in Compton, California.

Adele – ‘Skyfall’ (‘Skyfall’)

Adele – ‘Skyfall’

‘Skyfall’ was written by Adele and Paul Epworth (who also penned Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and ‘Holy The Girl’ by Rina Sawayama). The track, produced by Epworth, was the theme song for the 2012 James Bond film ‘Skyfall.’ It peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media. ‘Skyfall’ also won the Brit Award for Best British Single and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Song. The ‘Easy On Me’ singer performed the song at the Oscars in 2013.

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey – Don’t Call Me An Angel (‘Charlie’s Angels’)

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey – Don’t Call Me An Angel

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Don’t Call Me An Angel’ was rolled out as the lead single from the soundtrack for the 2019 film ‘Charlie’s Angels’ starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska. The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its accompanying music video has surpassed 217 million views on YouTube. This is Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey’s first song together.

Ilya, who has production credits on Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ and ‘Side to Side,’ produced the track with Max Martin. Ilya, Max Martin (‘Blinding Lights,’ ‘Side to Side’), Savan Kotecha (‘Can’t Feel My Face,’ ‘Into You’), Finnish singer-songwriter Alma, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus are credited as songwriters of ‘Don’t Call Me An Angel’ on Spotify.

Kehlani & G-Eazy – ‘Good Life’ (‘Fast & Furious 8’)

Kehlani & G-Eazy – ‘Good Life’

Kehlani and American rapper G-Eazy teamed up to record ‘Good Life’ for the eighth installment of the ‘Fast & Furious’ film series titled ‘The Fate of the Furious.’ ‘Good Life’ peaked at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kehlani had worked with G-Eazy prior to this collaboration featuring on the track ‘Everything Will Be OK’ from his 2015 album ‘When It’s Dark Out.’

Kendrick, SZA – ‘All The Stars’ (‘Black Panther’)

Kendrick, SZA – ‘All The Stars’

‘All The Stars,’ one of the most iconic end credit songs of all time, was produced by Sounwave and AI Shux (producer of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’). It received 4 Grammy nods and its music video won the 2018 MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.

It was also nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars and Best Song at the Critics Choice Awards. ‘All The Stars’ was co-written by AI Shux, Sounwave, Anthony Tiffith, Kendrick Lamar, and SZA. The song has surpassed 1.1 billion streams on Spotify.

Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, Logic, Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Sucker for Pain’ (‘Suicide Squad’)

Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, Logic, Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Sucker for Pain’

Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne, X Ambassadors, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, and Logic were recruited to record a song for the soundtrack of the Margot Robbie starrer 2016 film ‘Suicide Squad.’ The star-studded track, which has amassed over 986 million streams on Spotify, was produced by Alex da Kid, who has produced hits like ‘Airplanes’ – B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams and ‘Love the Way You Lie’ by Eminem featuring Rihanna. ‘Sucker for Pain’ peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 22 weeks.

Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’ (‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’)

Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’

Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’ for the 2011 film ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ is an evergreen song that will be played at weddings for a thousand years. Perri co-wrote it with David Hodges, who has songwriting credits on songs like Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Because of You,’ ‘Here’s to Never Growing Up’ by Avril Lavigne, and David Archuleta’s ‘Crush.’ Alexandra Patsavas, David Hodges, and Paul Katz produced the song, which has over 1.2 billion streams on Spotify. The accompanying music video for ‘A Thousand Years’ saw Christina Perri singing the song in a room while the floor was covered with candles. It also included film scenes, and the video has received over 2.1 billion views on YouTube. 

Lana Del Rey – ‘Young and Beautiful’ (‘The Great Gatsby‘)

Lana Del Rey – ‘Young and Beautiful’

Lana Del Rey co-wrote one of her biggest hits ‘Young and Beautiful’ with Rick Nowel, who has also penned Lana’s ‘Summertime Sadness,’ ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ by MARINA, and Alessia Cara’s ‘Out Of Love.’ It was released for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film ‘The Great Gatsby,’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, and the song features in the trailer for the film too. 

‘Young and Beautiful’ peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a Best Song Written for Visual Media Grammy nod as well as a Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nomination for Best Song. Having surpassed over 750 million streams on Spotify, it is one of the most popular Lana Del Rey songs to date.

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