The Goonies was a hit straight out of the gate, grossing $125 million at the box office against a budget of $19 million. But if anything, it’s got even bigger in the years since, becoming one of the most popular cult favorites of the last 40 years. In 2017, the Library of Congress recognized its significance by preserving it in the United States National Film Registry. But no movie, no matter how great, can afford a lousy soundtrack. Fortunately, The Goonies soundtrack is every bit as entertaining as the film. Steven Spielberg appointed Cyndi Lauper as musical director of the soundtrack, who subsequently bought on board a bunch of friends like The Bangles and Teena Maria to make the quintessential ’80s tracklist. Here’s how we rank all the songs from The Goonies soundtrack in order of greatness.
10. Theme from The Goonies – Robert Grusin
The Goonies wouldn’t be The Goonies without Robert Grusin’s fabulous score. Since he began his career in the 1960s, Grusin has had a hand in numerous scores, including those for The Graduate, Tootsie, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Mulholland Falls, and The Firm. His work on The Milagro Beanfield War won him an Oscar, while his scores for The Firm, Havana, The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and On Golden Pond all earned him Oscar nominations.
9. Eight Arms to Hold You – The Goon Squad
Producer Arthur Baker decided to get by with a little help from the Beatles for this song, borrowing the working title of their movie Help for its title. It was performed by The Goon Squad (a studio group composed of a bunch of people that someone, somewhere has the names of, but so far, isn’t sharing) specifically for the movie. Unfortunately, the scene it was meant to accompany (which found Data shoving a tape recorder blasting the song into the mouth of an octopus to scare it off) got deleted, and the song got cut too. Fortunately, it still made its way onto the soundtrack. Released as a single in 1985, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart and number eighty on the Hot R&B Singles chart.
8. Save the Night – Joseph Williams
Joseph Williams is best known for his work with Toto, serving as their lead vocalist from 1986 to 1988, 2010 to 2019, and from 2020 until the present. For The Goonies soundtrack, he ventured out alone, delivering a perfect nugget of ’80s pop that might sound pre-historic from a production point of view, but is still as massively enjoyable today as it ever was.
7. 14K – Teena Maria
When The Goonies came out in 1985, Teena Maria was still riding the wave of 1984’s Starchild, the biggest selling album of her career, and Lovergirl, her highest-charting single. Her contribution to the soundtrack, 14K, didn’t replicate the success of either, stalling at number 84 on the R&B charts, but it’s still worth taking for a spin or two.
6. Love Is Alive – Phillip Bailey
Phillip Bailey is best known as one of the lead singers of Earth, Wind & Fire. His four-octave range has earned him seven Grammys, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music, multiple number ones, and, in 1985, a place in movie history with this dazzling number from The Goonies soundtrack.
5. Wherever You’re Goin’ (It’s Alright) – REO Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon may have formed in the ’60s, but it wasn’t until the early ’80s that they hit their commercial stride with number one hits like Keep On Loving You and Can’t Fight This Feeling. 1985 represented the pinnacle of their fame, yet weirdly, Wherever You’re Goin’ (It’s Alright) failed to make the slightest dent in the charts when it was released as a single from The Goonies soundtrack.
4. I Got Nothing – The Bangles
Although The Bangles hadn’t quite reached the height of their fame at the time The Goonies was released in 1985, they were well on their way, thanks largely to Cyndi Lauper giving them a big boost by inviting them to appear as the opening act of her Fun Tour. Lauper, who served as musical director for The Goonies, also got them a place on the soundtrack, which they filled with this super catchy pop confection.
3. What a Thrill – Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper made two contributions to The Goonies, The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough, which she’s made no effort to hide her dislike of, and What a Thrill, a song she’s never really expressed an opinion about either way… although considering it earned her a nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards, we’re guessing she doesn’t hate it.
2. She’s So Good to Me – Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross could sign the telephone directory and make it sound good. Four years into his solo career, he wrote and recorded this magical number for The Goonies soundtrack. It might be one of his most underrated songs, and the production might be dated, but that voice could still move mountains.
1. The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough – Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper served as musical director for The Goonies soundtrack, putting her in the perfect position to show a little love to some of her showbiz friends like The Bangles. Weirdly, of the two songs she choose to contribute, one – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough (or Good Enough, as it was before Warner Bros decided to turn the title into something a little more marketable) – is one she’s gone on record to say she hates. She refused to perform it at live shows from 1987 until 2004, eventually relenting and adding it to her setlist after years of pressure from fans. But even if she’s never been a fan of the song herself, it’s still a hugely enjoyable listen for the rest of us. Released as a single in June 1985, it reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Lauper’s 5th top ten single.