Boogie Nights hit theaters in 1997. Even though the movie is fiction, it’s loosely based on the life of John Holmes. In the film, an adult film director, played by Burt Reynolds, meets a working-class guy, played by Mark Wahlberg, and gives him a shot to act in his productions. The movie was nominated for 64 awards from BAFTA to the Academy Awards and took home 36. The film Boogie Nights features almost 50 different songs, but only 13 made it on the official soundtrack. This is a ranking of the songs that made the final cut for the Boogie Nights Soundtrack.
13. Jungle Fever – Chakachas
This song has remained a popular choice for movies, games, and commercials throughout the years. It reached #8 on the United States Billboard Hot 100. Boogie Nights was the first movie to feature it, followed by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004. Molson Coors Beverage Company used Jungle Fever for them I Am Canadian ad series.
12. Intro (Feel The Heat) – Mark Wahlberg & John C. Reilly
Aside from his primary profession as an adult movie icon, Mark Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler tried his hand at a singing career. In the movie, he and Reed try their hand at songwriting. Eminem later sampled this tune on one of his albums.
11. The Big Top (Theme From Boogie Nights) – Michael Penn, Patrick Warren
This song plays at the beginning and end of the movie. According to Grantland, it’s meant to be ominous. Additionally, it’s intended to convey the film is a cautionary tale.
10. Livin’ Thing – Electric Light Orchestra
Since the movie is quite heavy many may not stick around for the end credits. However, if you choose to sit through them and catch your breath, you’ll hear this fantastic song. It’s the first tune after the movie ends.
9. Spill The Wine – War
Jimi Hendrix’s girl sang back up on this song. It’s a stand-out from many songs of the decade because it features harmonica, flute, and conga drums. Several years after it was released, The Isley Brothers added it 1971 album, Givin’ It All Back. When you watch Boogie Nights, you’ll catch it at the pool party scene.
8. Magnet & Steel – Walter Egan
According to Songfacts, Egan wanted to use the stroll beat, made famous by Chuck Willis on a song. It was his first time recording a solo album, but he collaborated with two great musicians, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Nicks was rumored to be the inspiration for this song.
7. Brand New Key – Melanie
This is a great addition to the soundtrack because it’s about someone on roller skates. In the movie, Heather Graham’s character is never without them. After the song dropped on December 25, 1971, it went to #1 and stayed there for three weeks. Some think it may have boosted roller skate sales that year.
6. Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye
The first version of this song was over 12 minutes long. Gaye worked with sound engineer Art Stewart on the track. Before being on the Boogie Nights Soundtrack, it was included as the final side of Gaye’s 1977 double live album, Marvin Gaye Live At The London Palladium.
5. Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden & Whitehead
When the characters of Jerome and Becky meet for the first time in the movie, Jerome bypasses small talk. His first words to her are, “it’s all about love.” The lyrics of this song are appropriate for the scene since they’re all about two people who take on the world together.
4. Machine Gun – The Commodores
This is an instrumental song by the group that was their first single, released in 1974 just as disco was hitting the mainstream. Aside from being featured in the movie, it was played after Nigeria’s national anthem.
3. Best of My Love – The Emotions
Since Boogie Nights takes place in the 70s, it’s only natural the soundtrack would be heavy on disco. This historical song was the first time an all-female group went to the top of the charts and stayed there for five weeks. The group collaborated with Earth Wind and Fire for the song and later worked with them on another piece, Boogie Wonderland, perhaps a harbinger to being featured in the movie.
2. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
This song is on the group’s eleventh album and one of their most popular, Pet Sounds. Written by Brian Wilson, God Only Knows went into the history books for being the first time God was mentioned in a song title. The instrumentation is also unique, utilizing harpsichord and French horns in the opening instrumentation. Alongside The Beatles, the group was one of the most popular at the time. Even though there was something of an across the pond rivalry, The Beatles guitarist Paul McCartney thought this was one of the best songs ever recorded. The song is featured during a montage in the movie. During it, you see a commercial shooting with one of the characters, another returning to school, and a third character’s baby coming into the world.
1. Sister Christian – Night Ranger
The inspiration for this song is from the sister of Night Ranger’s drummer, Kelly Keagy. His sister Kristy was 10 years younger, and he felt she was growing up far too fast. Initially, he wanted to call the song Sister Kristy, but too many people mistakenly thought it was Christian, and the title stuck. The song is featured on the group’s second album, Midnight Madness, and surprised everyone since they didn’t think a ballad could be the lead single. Since it was one of a few songs with a video, MTV played it quite a lot when the network kicked off in 1981. Even though the lyrics are beautiful, it’s featured in one of the movie’s more troubling scenes. Dirk, Reed, and Todd go to someone’s house to score drugs. While there, he starts playing Russian Roulette but still gets $5,000 from them.