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SoundTRAX: Peter Gabriel and "Say Anything"

Peter Gabriel is onstage holding a boombox above his head.
Timothy Norris
NBC News

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

It would be a crime against humanity to have a movie music feature on the great Peter Gabriel's birthday and not mention that film.

Say Anything is a favorite of mine. It was delightful when I saw it in 1989 and I still can't pass it up if I come across it now.

You've got Cameron Crowe in his directing debut, you've got arguably the most ideal quirky-but-cute romantic lead in John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler, and yes, there's the music.

Or more specifically, that song, in one of the most iconic musical moments in film history. One that's been parodied by everyone from Otto in The Simpsons to Deadpool.

Lloyd in a trench coat over his Clash t-shirt, hoisting a boombox over his head and playing... Billy Idol?

Yep, that was Crowe's initial plan, as he told Blender magazine in 2002:

"The sad truth is, I wrote that scene for Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover,” if you can believe it. There was one day I liked that song, and that was the day I wrote the scene. By the next day, I knew it was a hideously wrong choice. We searched for the right song the whole time we were making Say Anything…, and we ended up filming the scene to “Party at Ground Zero” by Fishbone. Cusack was in a deep Fishbone phase – he was a passionate fan."


We're all extremely grateful Crowe went with a decidedly more romantic tune, one he'd put on a mixtape for Nancy Wilson before they married in 1986.

So in honor of Peter Gabriel's 73rd birthday, today's SoundTRAX is, naturally, "In Your Eyes."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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