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SoundTRAX: "Sixteen Candles"

The soundtrack for "Sixteen Candles" features Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling sitting on a dining table with a birthday cake between them.
MCA Records
Universal Pictures

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

You are not ready for this math. I know I'm not.

Sixteen Candles, the classic 80s coming of age film, turns 39 today.

Sure, in the cold, harsh light of 2023, there are many moments that didn't age well. Honestly, there are some elements that were cringe-worthy even in 1984.

But it had the two things that were required to make a beloved 80s classic: John Hughes and Molly Ringwald.

Hughes wrote the script and made his directorial debut with Sixteen Candles and would go on to be unmatched in telling awkward stories of adolescence— with Ringwald as the lead more often than not.

This is the film that made her a star, portraying Samantha Baker, a girl not only shocked to learn her family forgot her all-important 16th birthday, Sam is also in the throes of a serious crush on the popular Jake Ryan.

There's also ample comic relief from Anthony Michael Hall, who is billed simply as "The Geek" and referred to as "Farmer Ted."

And then there's the music.

But that's a good news/bad news thing.

The good news? The movie had more than 30 terrific songs in it, from classics from Frank Sinatra and Darlene Love, to 80s favorites from Paul Young, Kajagoogoo, The Specials, David Bowie, General Public, and more.

The bad news? The official soundtrack was inexplicably just a six-song mini LP.

And that's where today's selection comes from— so I can celebrate Annie Golden.

She may not be a household name, but she's had an amazing career.

Maybe you know her from Broadway, where she's been in productions like Hair and Into the Woods. Perhaps you were lucky enough to see her perform with her iconic punk band The Shirts. There was also her recurring role on Cheers as Cliff Clavin's girlfriend, Margaret. But fans of Orange is the New Black probably recognize her for playing the mute character Norma.

But for today's SoundTRAX selection, we're celebrating Annie Golden's contribution to the Sixteen Candles soundtrack, a bouncy little earworm of a tune called "Hang Up the Phone."

(And the video! So very, very 80s.)

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

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