Starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, and Brandon T. Jackson as a group of high maintenance movie stars making a film about the Vietnam War, Tropic Thunder was a major hit back in the mid-2000s, topping the US box office for three weeks and grossing over $195 million worldwide. Just as memorable as the movie is the soundtrack, which consists of a collection of classic rock and roll hits from the ’70s together with a judicious sprinkling of hip-hop. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Tropic Thunder soundtrack.
15. I Love Tha P***y – Brandon T. Jackson
Brandon T. Jackson didn’t just star in Tropic Thunder, he contributed to the soundtrack with I Love Tha Pussy.
14. Ready Set Go – Ben Gidsjoy
Ben Gidsjoy might not be the best-known name on the Tropic Thunder soundtrack, but he does a fine job of keeping up with the other famous names with the exhilarating Ready Set Go.
13. I Just Want to Celebrate – The Mooney Suzuki
Rare Earth scored one of the biggest hits of the 1970s with I Just Want to Celebrate, which reached a new audience when The Mooney Suzuki’s cover made it onto the Tropic Thunder soundtrack.
12. Get Back – Ludacris
Ludacris earned a top 20 hit with Get Back in 2005, which originally featured on his fourth studio album, The Red Light District.
11. Sadeness – Enigma
This shimmering, wonderfully quirky blast of new age dance gave Engima a major hit in 1990, topping the charts in the UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and reaching the top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
10. Movin’ on Up – Ja’net DuBois
If you’ve ever caught an episode of the ’70s sitcom The Jeffersons, you’ll already be familiar with Movin’ on Up, which Ja’net DuBois both co-wrote and performed as its theme song.
9. Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group
Frankenstein has been covered by dozens of artists over the decades, but it’s The Edgar Winter Group’s original version that made it to the Tropic Thunder soundtrack. Since its release in 1972, it’s sold over 1 million copies.
8. Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill
In 1977, Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill had one of the biggest hits of his career with Sometimes When We Touch, a song he was inspired to write after falling in love with a woman who didn’t feel the same way. “She was interested in another man, so that was breaking my heart. So I thought I needed to write a song that would capture her and win her over—that would be so passionate in a sense that she’d see that I’m the only guy for her,” he explained during an interview in 2017. An international hit, it reached number 1 in South Africa and Canada, number 3 in Australia and on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 10 in the UK.
7. I’d Love to Change the World – Ten Years After
Ten Years After earned the biggest hit of their career with I’d Love to Change the World, which took the band to number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 on its release in April 1971.
6. Name of the Game (The Crystal Method’s Big Ass T.T. Mix) – The Crystal Method
The Crystal Method hardly ever play Name of the Game live, but in fairness, they don’t need to – since its release in 2001, it’s featured in so many different films and movies, it’s almost impossible to escape it anyway. As well as Tropic Thunder, you can hear it on the soundtracks to Resident Evil, Blade II, Blade: Trinity, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and many more.
5. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
Most people would be hard-pressed to name more than one MC Hammer song, but considering the one most of us do know managed to top multiple charts around the world, pick up Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Rap Solo Performance, and become the first rap song to ever be Grammy-nominated for Record of the Year, Hammer still has a lot to be proud about.
4. Run Through the Jungle – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Most people assume Run Through the Jungle is about the Vietnam War. Considering how many of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s biggest hits were written as protest songs about the war, it’s a fair assumption. Yet according to songwriter John Fogerty, it was actually inspired by the growing problem of gun violence in the US at the time. “The thing I wanted to talk about was gun control and the proliferation of guns,” he explained to Rolling Stone. “I remember reading around that time that there was one gun for every man, woman and child in America, which I found staggering. I just thought it was disturbing that it was such a jungle for our citizens just to walk around in our own country at least having to be aware that there are so many private guns owned by some responsible and maybe many irresponsible people.”
3. Ball of Confusion – The Temptations
The Temptations earned a major hit with this high voltage sizzler back in 1970, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the R&B Charts. It’s been covered by several other artists since, most notably by Tina Turner, who earned a top 5 hit with her synth-heavy version in 1982.
2. The Pusher – Steppenwolf
It’ll forever be associated with Easy Rider, but Steppenwolf’s The Pusher also makes an awesome addition to the Tropic Thunder soundtrack.
1. War – Edwin Starr
The most successful protest song in the history of the charts, Edwin Starr’s intensely powerful version of War spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 before earning the singer a nomination for Best R&B Male Vocal at the following year’s Grammys.