The Best Song from a Motion Picture award was introduced to the Academy Awards in 1934, the seventh celebration. Since that point a wide range of classic songs have won the award. This is your guide to the 10 best. They are listed in reverse chronological order.
"The Way You Look Tonight" is the subject of so many well known recordings that many fans do not realize it was first sung by Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers in the movie Swing Time. The Lettermen took a version of the song to #13 on the US pop singles chart in 1961. It was also recorded by such artists as Tony Bennett, Doris Day, and Frank Sinatra.
"Over the Rainbow" is one of the most frequently recorded songs of all time. However, it was first written for the film The Wizard Of Oz and sung by a teenage Judy Garland. The National Endowment for the Arts selected "Over the Rainbow" as the #1 song of the century and the American Film Institute listed it as the top movie song of all time. The opening lyrics were the subject of a 2005 postage stamp.
"White Christmas" was not originally the most popular song from the soundtrack to Holiday Inn, but by the end of 1942 it was a #1 hit. Ultimately, "White Christmas" spent 11 weeks at #1 and became a perennial bestseller. Bing Crosby's recording of the classic ranks as one of the bestselling recordings of all time.
The songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote both the score for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the hit single "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." They took home Academy Awards for both. Reportedly, the song was originally offered to both Ray Stevens and Bob Dylan to record before B.J. Thomas ultimately recorded the classic version. It was a #1 pop hit and was at the top of the charts as the 1970s began.
Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft" was a groundbreaking recording in multiple ways. It was the first song written by an African American to win the Academy Award for Best Song. The funky dance orientation of the song was a precursor to the rise of disco later in the 1970s. "Theme From Shaft" was also a massive commercial success hitting #1 on the pop singles chart.
Barbra Streisand, the star of the film A Star Is Born, cowrote "Evergreen" with songwriter Paul Williams. It won Barbra Streisand her second Academy Award after she won the first for acting in Funny Girl. "Evergreen" spent three weeks at #1 on the pop singles chart and won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
Giorgio Moroder first recorded "Flashdance...What a Feeling" with singer-songwriter Joe Esposito as the vocalist. However, Irene Cara was chosen to sing the song to have a female vocalist parallel the female protagonist of the film. "Flashdance...What a Feeling" turned into a #1 pop hit and became the biggest hit of Irene Cara's career. It also won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal.
"My Heart Will Go On" was originally composed as an instrumental motif for several scenes in Titanic, and words were written later to include the song in the end credits. Celine Dion's recording of the song became the biggest hit of her career and one of the bestselling songs of all time. "My Heart Will Go On" hit #1 around the world and became the bestselling song in the world in 1998. It also won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Eminem's "Lose Yourself" became the first rap song to win the Academy Award for Best Song. Eminem starred in the film 8 Mile and wrote much of the song on the set as the movie was being filmed. "Lose Yourself" was one of the biggest commercial successes of Academy Award winning songs. It spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold over five million digital copies.
For the 50th anniversary James Bond film, producers chose the world's most celebrated pop singer of the moment Adele to put together the theme song. It reached the top 10 on the pop singles chart in both the US and the UK while hitting #1 on pop charts in many other countries around the world. In February 2013 "Skyfall" became the first James Bond theme to win the Academy Award for Best Song.