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Top 30 favorite songs from the movies

Barry Levine, copy editor and paginator

Barry Levine, copy editor and paginator

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This column is dedicated to Joyce Kirk, a resident of Albany since 1958. The 79-year-old, who was a teacher/counselor in the Dougherty County School System for 30 years, is recovering from a stroke she suffered 18 months ago. She has progressed from using a walker to a cane. Despite her struggles, she still has her smile and effervescent personality.

This is one that the "Music Man," Carlton Fletcher, our longtime cohort, has not pulled from his bag of musical lists.

The "Thrilla from Ocilla" had his original Top 500 all-time songs in order of preference and then his second Top 500 list in order of preference. Rumor has it that he now is working on his third Top 500 list.

But the "Music Man" never has developed a list of his favorite songs from the movies. And because he never has developed a movie list, here is my Top 30 favorite songs from the movies. Again, they are my favorites and not necessarily the most famous or popular.

The songs are listed in chronological order and not order of preference. I'll leave that for the "Music Man."

1936 -- "The Way You Look Tonight" performed by Fred Astaire in the movie "Swing Time." The Oscar-winning song later was released as a single by the Jaguars in1956 and the Lettermen in 1961. It has been recorded by more than 100 artists, including Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.

1936 -- "Ol' Man River" was sung by Paul Robeson in "Show Boat." An All-America running back for Rutgers University in 1917 and 1918, Robeson has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He later incurred difficulties with the federal government because of his political views.

1939 -- Who could forget the all-time classic "Gone With the Wind" starring Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara, Hattie McDaniel as Mammy, Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O'Hara, Barbara O'Neill as Ellen O'Hara and George "Superman" Reeves as Stuart Tarleton? The Civil War era movie featured its classic theme song "Tara's Theme."

1942 -- "White Christmas" was performed by the legendary Bing Crosby in "Holiday Inn." This Academy Award-winner is an all-time Christmas classic.

1943 -- "Casablanca," starring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman in her most famous role as Isla Lund and Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo. Also playing major roles were Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Claude Rains. Dooley Wilson played Sam, the piano player who sang "As Time Goes By," which has become as famous as the movie.

1944 -- Bing Crosby, who played a young priest replacing Barry Fitzgerald in a small parish, also won an Oscar for "Swinging on A Star" from the movie "Going My Way." The song was released as a single by Big Dee Irwin in 1963 and became a Top 40 hit.

1954 -- "I'll Go Home With Bonnie Jean" sung by Gene Kelly, Van Johnson and the chorus from the musical "Brigadoon." You won't find this on many Top 30 lists, but it easily made mine.

1955 -- "Rock Around the Clock" was performed by Bill Haley and His Comets in the movie "Blackboard Jungle," which starred Glenn Ford and Anne Francis. "Rock Around the Clock" reached No. 1 on the pop charts, and many consider it the beginning of the rock 'n' roll era.

1956 -- Doris Day sang the Oscar-winning song "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "The Man Who Knew Too Much" as her husband, portrayed by Jimmy Stewart, searched for their son in London.

1959 -- "A Summer Place" starred heart throbs Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee in a love story. Hugo Winterhalter recorded the theme from "A Summer Place." Percy Faith and His Orchestra recorded a single of the theme, and it became a then-record No. 1 hit for nine consecutive weeks in 1960.

1960 -- The Oscar-winner for best movie, "The Apartment," was a comedy-drama starring Oscar nominees Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine as well as Fred McMurray. The "Theme from The Apartment" was released as a single in 1960 and became a Top 10 hit by the piano duo Ferrante and Teicher.

1961 -- Arguably the most beloved U.S. musical of all-time, "West Side Story," a 1950s version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," had a plethora of incredible songs, but the two best were "Tonight," performed by Marni Nixon, and "Maria," sung by Russ Tamblyn. Flip a coin to determine which song was the best from the film that won 10 Oscars.

1961 -- "Moon River" sung by Audrey Hepburn and Andy Williams in the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's." An absolute must on any list off all-time movie songs. This Oscar-winner also reached the Top 10 in 1961 performed by Jerry Butler and the Henry Mancini Orchestra. This tune has been recorded hundreds of times during the past half-century.

1962 -- The Academy Award-winning "Days of Wine and Roses," performed by Henry Mancini's Orchestra, was the theme song from the movie by the same name. It is one of the most renowned instrumentals in celluloid history.

1964 -- One of the best musicals of all-time, "My Fair Lady" captured eight Oscars and was loaded with memorable songs. My favorite was "Get Me to the Church on Time," performed by Stanley Holloway, who portrayed Alfred P. Doolittle.

1964 -- Of all the James Bond thrillers during the past five decades, the best song from the series was "Goldfinger," performed by Shirley Bassey from the movie of the same name.

1967 -- "Mrs. Robinson" was performed by Simon and Garfunkel from the movie "The Graduate." This became the duo's second No. 1 hit in 1968, following the "Sounds of Silence" in 1965. And how could you not include a song that had the line, "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"

1970 -- "Love Story" starred Oscar-nominees Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw and was a drama about the two 25-year-old lovers. The movie's title theme was performed by Francis Lai and his Orchestra. It became a Top 30 hit in 1971 performed by Lai and Andy Williams and the Henry Mancini Orchestra.

1973 -- "The Way We Were" sung by Barbra Streisand from the movie by the same name that starred Streisand and Robert Redford. The Academy Award-winning song was released as a single the same year, and it became Streisand's first No. 1 hit.

1976 -- "Gonna Fly Now" was the Oscar-nominated song performed by Bill Conti's Orchestra from the movie "Rocky." People fell in love with the song during the summer of '76.

1977 -- One of the biggest movies of the Disco era, "Saturday Night Fever" starred John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney and Donna Pesco. Easily the most remembered song from the movie was "Stayin' Alive" by the BeeGees.

1978 -- Named for the 1950s subculture greasers, "Grease" was centered in fictional Rydell High School in 1959 and starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Oliva Newton-John as Sandy Dumbrowski. Travolta and Newton-John sang the most memorable hit from the flick, "Summer Nights."

1980 -- "The Jazz Singer," starring Neil Diamond, Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz, was a remake of the 1927 film with Al Jolson. The movie generated three Top 10 hits: "America," "Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again." "America" was my favorite.

1983 -- "The Big Chill" was loaded with previous rock 'n' roll hits, but the one that I still love to hear is "The Weight" by The Band.

1986 -- Set in the Catskill Mountains in New York in the early 1960s, "Dirty Dancing" featured Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray, as well as Jerry Orbach and Cynthia Rhodes in supporting roles. Loaded with old-time rock 'n' roll hits, the best of the bunch was the original "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," performed by Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and Jennifer Warnes.

1990 -- The Righteous Brothers performed "Unchained Melody" in "Ghost" during one of the most sensuous scenes in movie history with Demi Moore and Swayze. Before the Righteous Brothers made "Unchained Melody" in 1965, it was recorded by three performers in 1955: Al Hibbler, one of the first blind popular singers; Roy Hamilton, a native of Leesburg; and June Valli. The versions by Hibbler and Hamilton were Top 10 hits.

1992 -- "I Will Always Love You" was sung by Whitney Houston in "The Bodyguard." Written by Dolly Parton nearly two decades earlier, "I Will Always Love You" was No. 1 for a record 14 weeks. I still can't believe that Houston's incredible voice has been silenced.