The only thing that Cameron Crowe loves more than a good needle drop is a good needle drop that’s introduced by one of his characters belting out the soundtrack’s featured song. This pick in Vanilla Sky, symbolic of all the sing-alongs in Crowe’s films, could just as easily have gone to John Mahoney’s Steely Dan cover from Say Anything… or the bit in Jerry Maguire in which our hero delivers an impassioned rendition of “Free Fallin,” but it’s like I always say: When life hands you the opportunity to post a video of a heavily scarred Tom Cruise screaming along to Joan Osborne, don’t blow it.
Given that he broke into the entertainment world as a teenaged journalist for Rolling Stone and later married the lead guitarist of Heart, it’s hardly a surprise that Cameron Crowe’s movies are overflowing with great music. But it’s not just his taste that has made his films so fun to listen to—Crowe possesses a rare knack for knowing exactly when to deploy a certain song for maximum emotional impact, and almost all of the most iconic moments from his movies are inextricably connected to the music that’s playing behind them.
With Aloha hitting theaters this Friday (complete with a soundtrack that spans from Fleetwood Mac and the Tallest Man on Earth to local Hawaiian musicians like Ledward Kaapana), we thought it would be fun to look back at the best music moments in Cameron Crowe movies. And it was. Check out our picks of the top 10 below.
Aloha opens Fri 29.