Many movies rely on songs to set the mood, and there are some that are relied upon a lot – what we like to call ‘Soundtrack Staples’. In this instalment we check out the relentlessly upbeat ‘Walking on Sunshine’ from Katrina & the Waves – wo-ow!
Katrina & the Waves formed in Britain, complete with US singer Katrina Leskanich, as Mama’s Cookin’. Mercifully they changed their name soon after to the slightly less crap moniker that we know them by now, and who many consider to be a classic one hit wonder, even though they actually weren’t.
They recorded a self-financed album in 1983, which only ended up being picked up in Canada. It did, however, contain a little ditty entitled Walking on Sunshine. Success north of the States led to a deal with Capitol Records, re-recording was done, and the rest is history.
While it’s easily one of the more well-known songs of the ’80s, Walking on Sunshine never actually made it to number one. In Australia it peaked at number four, one of its highest chart placings worldwide. It was also the 21st best selling single here for 1985.
While Katrina & the Waves never bettered the international chart success of the song, they did win the Eurovision Song Contest of 1997, representing the UK with the song Love Shine a Light.
If you haven’t heard Walking on Sunshine enough on the radio, in ads, on TV shows and, of course, in movies, here’s the original video, with the films that it’s appeared in (so far) further down the page.
The Secret of My Success (1987)
Many moviegoers were walking on sunshine at seeing Michael J Fox in his undies in this comedic tale, which saw him playing an ambitious young business type who finds a slick shortcut to making it big.
Longtime Companion (1989)
A romantic drama that tackled the AIDS outbreak, named after the euphemism that became common in the press for gay lovers. This movie also featured early appearances from Mary-Louise Parker and Dermot Mulroney.
Look Who’s Talking (1989)
A kids-have-adult-voices comedy that pre-dates The Boss Baby, in which John Travolta uses Walking on Sunshine to practice some moves for Pulp Fiction – even if that flick did come some five years later…
Rowan Atkinson’s much-loved peculiar little man invades the States, with Sunshine leading his charge. Well OK, it pops up partway through.
American Psycho (2000)
The old justapose a happy song with something or somebody creepy trick was at play as Christian Bale brought Bret Easton Ellis’s Patrick Bateman to disturbing life.
High Fidelity (2000)
Walking on Sunshine first thing on a Monday morning. Oh Jack Black, you wacky funster you…
The Master of Disguise (2002)
Poor Dana Carvey, he just didn’t work as well without Wayne. Even the popular sound of Katrina and her wavy pals couldn’t help this one succeed.
Daddy Day Care (2003)
Happy film. Happy song. This Eddie Murphy vs the kids flick knew what it was doing.
Raise Your Voice (2004)
This song is going to make Hilary Duff a world famous bigger-than-Madonna superstar like for eva and eva and eva and… Oh.
Christmas in Wonderland (2007)
There’s that drumbeat again – it must be Christmas! With A Night at the Roxbury‘s Chris Kattan, alongside the likes of Carmen Electra, Patrick Swayze and even Mr Tim Curry, the producers probably thought so too. But do you remember this film ever existing?
Coopers’ Camera (2008)
Hmm, Sunshine really must have been big in Canada, here’s our second Canadian Chrissie flick. Ooh, it plays over a snow scene – ho, ho, ho!
Music fight! The first feature from Duncan Jones – aka Zowie Bowie – was ace, and not just because of the presence of Sam Rockwell. The song in question was used to great effect… and now we want to hear a mashup of it and a certain song by The Police.
New in Town (2009)
Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr do the fish-out-of-water romcom thing. We missed this one somehow…
Camille Rewinds (2012)
Here’s the pitch for this French film: Camille is left by her *BLEEP* of a husband of 25 years for a younger model. Camille drinks herself into a coma. Camille finds herself back as her 16-year-old self. Obviously somebody thought that it was a good idea.
OK, stop tittering you lot in the back row! This is a Norwegian sex comedy. It contains Walking on Sunshine. Apparently.
Coming Out (2013)
Walking on Sunshine really gets around. This film revolves around a famous gay Hungarian actor who’s out and proud, but then apparently discovers that he might like women too. At this point we should say NUDITY WARNING.