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The Days of Radio: Movie Love Song Duets of the 80s

Updated on June 12, 2017

Plug Your Headphones and Tune In

During the 80s, there were love songs specially made for movies. You have the title of the song and just underneath you'll read, “love theme from the movie…” They go together like two lovebirds, complimenting each other in a way that even if you forget the song title, you’d probably remember the movie.

“I can’t remember the title…but, it’s that song from that movie with Kevin Bacon!” I heard something like that before. Heck, I must’ve probably said it myself. You see, movie theme songs are intimately connected to their movies. For example, how can you watch the trailer of 1981’s Endless Love without the song playing in the background? Doesn't work, right? Here, we present movie love song duets—some of the best and well-loved of all.

We offer a playlist of essential listening. We’ve provided links of the songs from Youtube, not videos but quality audio that you could appreciate. Listen to the song with accompanying lyrics and sing along to your heart’s desire. Since, it’s a duet, grab someone and have the full experience. It’s fun to be mushy once in a while. We’re now On Air.

Suddenly

Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard

from the movie "Xanadu"

Xana-duet

Two people meet at a magical gala, a twinkle, their hearts beat, and suddenly they are in love. Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard's whimsy love affair with words is pure joy. One sings while the other listens and vice versa. They tease each other, touching, trembling and blushing. Then, there's that great blending of voices towards the chorus and you find yourself floating above cloud 9.

"Suddenly" is one of those songs that's unmistakably 80s, cool, jazzy and groovy. The perfect argument that they don't make these kind of music like they used to. The song reached no.20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was composed and produced by John Farrar, Newton-John's constant collaborator in many of her hits including "You're the One That I Want" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You."

Song Information

Soundtrack album
Xanadu
Artists
Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard
Date of release
October 1980
Label
Jet Records
Composer
John Farrar
Producer
John Farrar
Movie
Xanadu (1980) Universal Pictures
Director
Robert Greenwald
Starring
Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beack & Gene Kelly

Lyrics

"Suddenly"

She walks in and I'm suddenly a hero
I'm taken in my hopes begin to rise
Look at me can't you tell I'd be so
Thrilled to see the message in your eyes
You make it seem I'm so close to my dream
And then suddenly it's all there

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I'm ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don't need the answers
Cos I, I'm ready to take all my chances with you

How can I feel you're all that matters
I'd rely on anything you say
I'll take care that no illusions shatter
If you dare to say what you should say
You make it seem I'm so close to my dream
And then suddenly it's all there

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I'm ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don't need the answers
Cos I, I'm ready to take all my chances with you

Why do I feel so alive when you're near
There's no way any hurt can get thru
Longing to spend every moment of the day with you

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I'm ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don't need the answers
Cos I, I'm ready to take all my chances with you

LISTEN TO THE SONG!

Up Where We Belong

Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes

from the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman"

Gentleman Joe and the Maiden

The song advises lovers to take the chance and face the challenges of tomorrow. The road for lovers is winding with many obstacles but there is nothing that love cannot conquer. "Up Where We Belong" is meant to inspire and with Joe Cocker's manly, assuring voice complimented by Jennifer Warnes' feminine strength, the song uplifts to a grandness, unreachable by defeat.

An Officer and a Gentleman producer Don Simpson nearly had the song cut from the film saying that it wasn't good enough. To his surprise, the song reached no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, won the Oscar and Golden Globe awards for Best Original Song, and sold over 2 million copies to be certified as Platinum. Cocker and Warnes were the Grammy winners for Best Pop Performance by a Duo.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
An Officer and a Gentleman
Artists
Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
Date of release
August 1982
Label
Island
Composer
Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie & Will Jennings
Producer
Stewart Levine
Movie
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) Paramount Pictures
Director
Taylor Hackford
Starring
Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith & Louis Gossett, Jr.

Lyrics

"Up Where We Belong"

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world, few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it's real, I keep it alive

The road is long, there are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to "used to be"
Live their lives, looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our life, out there to find

The road is long, there are mountains in our way,
But we climb them a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

Time goes by
No time to cry
Life's you and I
Alive, today

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

LISTEN TO THE SONG

Separate Lives

Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin

from the movie "White Nights"

White Night Stand

It tells of a whirlwind love affair with the lovers trying hard to keep their feelings on hold. It is never easy to let go of someone that has made you happy, even if you know its wrong, so you “build that wall” to separate yourself. In this Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin duet, you could feel the pain in their voices, the melody doesn’t help at all to ease it. Who else but Stephen Bishop, the composer could come up with such a sad song. “Yes for now, we'll go on living separate lives”—at least the ending leaves some hope.

“Separate Lives” was nominated for Best Original Score in the Oscar Awards losing to Lionel Richie’s “Say You Say You” from the same soundtrack album. Both changed places at no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
White Nights
Artists
Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin
Date of release
November 1985
Label
Atlantic/Virgin Records/WEA
Composer
Stephen Bishop
Producer
Arif Mardin, Hugh Padgham & Phil Collins
Movie
White Nights (1985)
Director
Taylor Hackford
Starring
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Geraldine Page, Helen Mirren, Jerzy Skolimowski & ISabella Rossellini

Lyrics

"Separate Lives"

You called me from the room in your hotel
All full of romance for someone that you met
And telling me how sorry you were, leaving so soon
And that you miss me sometimes when you're alone in your room
Do I feel lonely too?

You have no right to ask me how I feel
You have no right to speak to me so kind
We can't go on just holding on to time
Now that we're living separate lives

Well I held on to let you go
And if you lost your love for me, well you never let it show
There was no way to compromise
So now we're living (living)
Separate lives

Ooh, it's so typical, love leads to isolation
So you build that wall (build that wall)
Yes, you build that wall (build that wall)
And you make it stronger

Well you have no right to ask me how I feel
You have no right to speak to me so kind
Some day I might (I might) find myself looking in your eyes
But for now, we'll go on living separate lives
Yes for now, we'll go on living separate lives
Separate lives

LISTEN TO THE SONG!

The Time of My Life

Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

from the movie "Dirty Dancing"

Righteous Lovers

The song separates itself from other duets because you can actually tango to it. Of course, it comes from a movie that is about dancing, “Time of Your Life” croons and swoons to an irresistible beat as the singers swear on the mighty name of love. “Because I've had the time of my life. No, I never felt this way before. Yes I swear it's the truth. And I owe it all to you” –the chorus gets repeated over and over, and no, it’s not a one night stand, they’re truly destined to dance the night away, perhaps, for all eternity.

Jennifer Warnes appears for the second time on this list, here with Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers fame, sealing her reputation as a go-to girl for hit duets. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts and won both the Oscar and Golden Globes Best Song category. As for Medley, the baritone-voiced crooner may have looked awkward at first, but boy, did he knock this song out of the ballpark. Their voices blend immaculately.

Song Information

Soundtrack Album
Dirty Dancing
Artists
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
Date of release
September 1987
Label
RCA
Composers
John DeNicola, Donald Markowitz, Franke Revite
Producer
Michael Lloyd
Movie
Dirty Dancing (1987) Vestron Pictures
Director
Emile Ardolino
Starring
Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes & Jack Weston

Lyrics

"The Time of My Life"

Now I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you

'Cause I've had the time of my life
And I owe it all to you

I've been waiting for so long
Now I've finally found someone to stand by me
We saw the writing on the wall
And we felt this magical fantasy
Now with passion in our eyes
There's no way we could disguise it secretly
So we take each others hand
'Cause we seem to understand the urgency

Just remember
You're the one thing
I can't get enough of
So I'll tell you something
This could be love

Because I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you
Hey baby

With my body and soul
I want you more than you'll ever know
So we'll just let it go
Don't be afraid to lose control, no

Yes, I know what's on your mind when you say
"Stay with me tonight" (stay with me)
And remember
You're the one thing
I can't get enough of
So I'll tell you something
This could be love

Because I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you
'Cause I've had the time of my life
And I've searched through every open door (never felt this way)
Till I found the truth
And I owe it all to you

Now I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before (never felt this way)
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you

I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before (never felt this way)
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you
'Cause I've had the time of my life (I had time of my life)
And I've searched through every open door (you do it to me, baby)
Till I found the truth (you do it to me, baby)
And I owe it all to you

LISTEN TO THE SONG!

Almost Paradise

Mike Reno & Ann Wilson

from the movie "Footloose"

The Heart of a Loverboy

“Almost Paradise” is about two people who have almost given up on love, and having met each other never realized that it could be like heaven. The line “Almost paradise. We´re knocking on heaven´s door. Almost paradise. How could we ask for more?”—is both sensual and chaste. Body and soul. The melody is melancholic, serious even, it’s making eye contact and never looking away, hearts locking and the key thrown away.

Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson of Heart come from two rock bands that has made love the center of their attention. Here, they turn to each other, their destinies meet, their voices wrap around a song that reached millions of lovers and peaked at no.7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s almost fate.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
Footloose
Artists
Mike Reno & Ann Wilson
Date of release
May 1984
Label
Columbia
Composer
Eric Carmen & Dean Pitchford
Producer
Keith Olsen
Movie
Footloose (1984) Paramount Pictures
Director
Herbert Ross
Starring
Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow

Lyrics

"Almost Paradise"

I thought that dreams belonged to other men
´Cuz each time I got close
They´d fall apart again

I feared my heart would beat in secrecy
I faced the nights alone
Oh, how could I have know
That all my life I only needed you

Almost paradise
We´re knocking on heaven´s door
Almost paradise
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever in your eyes
Paradise

It seems like perfect love´s so hard to find
I´d almost given up
You must have read my mind

And all these dreams I saved for a rainy day
They´re finally comin´ true
I´ll share them all with you
´Cus now we hold the future in our hands

Almost paradise
We´re knocking on heaven´s door
Almost paradise
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever in your eyes
Paradise

And in your arms salvation´s not so far away
It's gettin' closer, closer every day

Almost paradise
We´re knocking on heaven´s door
Almost paradise
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever in your eyes
Paradise

LISTEN TO THE SONG

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us

Starship

from the movie "Mannequin"

Star-struck

Heavy on synthesizers with a searing guitar solo, Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” is your love song duet for the 80s glam rock generation. You’d know its glam when the male singer is trying to out-falsetto the female singer. The song is just vigorous and energetic, Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick have varying tonal qualities but when they reach those high notes, their voices join together and become one.

This song is just too enjoyable not to reach no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was considered platinum in four countries. You could only imagine how many people had sung this inside their cars, in college dorms, in karaoke bars, heck, everywhere—its the anthem of the pastel-rich decade of hairsprays, glitters and eyeliners, and it has never lost its luster.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
Single
Artist
Starship
Date of release
January 1987
Label
Grunt/RCA/BMG
Composers
Albert Hammons & Diane Warren
Producer
Narada Michael Walden
Movie
Mannequin (1986) 20th Century Fox/Cannon Films
Director
Michael Gottlieb
Starring
Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty & G.W. Bailey

Lyrics

"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us"

Looking in your eyes I see a paradise
This world that I've found
Is too good to be true
Standing here beside you
Want so much to give you
This love in my heart that I'm feeling for you

Let 'em say we're crazy, I don't care about that
Put your hand in my hand baby
Don't ever look back
Let the world around us just fall apart
Baby we can make it if we're heart to heart

And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us now

I'm so glad I found you
I'm not gonna lose you
Whatever it takes I will stay here with you
Take it to the good times
See it through the bad times
Whatever it takes is what I'm gonna do

Let 'em say we're crazy, what do they know
Put your arms around me baby
Don't ever let go
Let the world around us just fall apart
Baby we can make it if we're heart to heart

And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us

Ooh, all that I need is you
All that I ever need
And all that I want to do
Is hold you forever, ever and ever, hey

And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us
Nothing's gonna stop us, whoa
Nothing's gonna stop us now, oh no

Hey baby, I know, hey baby, nothing's gonna stop us
Hey baby, woo, nothing, hey baby
Nothing's gonna stop us now yeah

LISTEN TO THE SONG!

How Do You Keep the Music Playing?

James Ingarm & Patti Austin

from the movie "Best Friends"

Only the Soulful Keeps On Singing

Like great love songs, it starts with the piano and lets the voice enter gradually that you’d hear its quality. And James Ingram and Patti Austin have that quality—whole and full with a clarity that breaths life to what the song is about: keeping the love alive. Although it feels more like an Ingram song, Austin catches up in the second chorus—a magnificent blending of voices where Ingram sings the verse. There, they’re voices both reach the high notes, and amazingly, it works!—probably, the highlight of the song.

Written by the legendary Michael Legrand who wrote the song “Windmills of Your Mind,” scored the musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and countless others, with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the song reached no.45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
single
Artists
James Ingram & Patti Austin
Date of release
1982
Label
Warner Bros. Music
Composers
Michael Legrand, Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
Producers
Johnny Mandel & Quincy Jones
Movie
Best Friends (1982) Warner Bros.
Director
Norman Jewisom
Starring
Birt Reynolds, Goldie Hawn, Jessica Tandy and Barnard Hughes

Lyrics

"How Do You Keep The Music Playing?"

How do you keep the music playing?
How do you make it last?
How do you keep the song from fading
too fast?

How do you lose yourself to someone
and never lose your way?
How do you not run out of new things
to say?

And since you know we're always changing
How can it be the same?

And tell me how year after year
You're sure your heart won't fall apart
Each time you hear his name?

I know the way I feel for you is now or never
The more I love, the more that I'm afraid
That in your eyes I may not see forever, forever

If we can be the best of lovers
Yet be the best of friends
If we can try with every day to make it better as it grows
With any luck than I suppose
The music never ends

I know (how do you keep the music playing)
the way I feel for you is now or never (how do you make it last)
The more I love the more that I'm afraid
(how do you keep the song from fading)
That in your eyes I may not see forever
(Keep the song from fading)
Forever

If we can be the best of lovers
yet be the best of friends
If we can try with every day to make it better as it goes
With any luck than I suppose
The music never ends

LISTEN TO THE SONG!

Endless Love

Lionel Richie & Diana Ross

from the movie "Endless Love"

The Greatest Duet of All Time

No list would be complete without it. “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross is widely considered as the greatest duet ever. It’s longevity and appeal are baffling. Here, you have a seemingly standard written love song. The lyrics—simple, unsophisticated poetry; the melody—mushy; the delivery—oversentimental. As a whole, it’s well, corny. And yet, we are drawn to it. We are suckered in. The energy of the song, its universal theme, the unequivocal message they all just come together.

Its not surprising that Richie wrote the song since he was also responsible for some of the cheesiest love songs made—“Truly,” “Hello,” and “Stuck On You.” Not to mention the one he wrote for Kenny Rogers, “Lady.” But, “Endless Love” is his crowning glory, a Billboard Hot 100 no.1 single and must have been played a million times already on radios, stereos and jukeboxes—it is the theme song for all the Romeo and Juliets of the world.

Song Information

Soundtrack album
Endless Love
Artists
Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Date of release
August 1981
Label
Motown
Composer
Lionel Richie
Producer
Lionel Richie
Movie
Endless Love (1981) Universal Pictures
Director
Franco Zeffirelli
Starring
Brooke Shields, Martin Hewitt, Shirley Knight and Son Murray

Lyrics

"Endless Love"

My love, there's only you in my life
The only thing that's right

My first love,
You're every breath that I take
You're every step I make

And I, I
I want to share
All my love with you
No one else will do

And your eyes
Your eyes, your eyes
They tell me how much you care
Ooh yes, you will always be
My endless love

Two hearts, two hearts that beat as one
Our lives have just begun

Forever (oh) I'll hold you close in my arms
I can't resist your charms

And love oh, love
I'll be a fool for you I'm sure
You know I don't mind
Oh, you know I don't mind

'Cause you,
You mean the world to me
Oh I know
I've found in you
My endless love

Oh, and love oh, love
I'll be that fool for you I'm sure
You know I don't mind
Oh you know, I don't mind

And, yes you'll be the only one
'Cause no one can deny
This love I have inside
And I'll give it all to you
My love, my love, my love
My endless love

LISTEN TO THE SONG

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