A lot has happened in the 25 years since Wayne’s World first hit theaters on Valentine’s Day, 1992. Mountains have crumbled into the sea. Whole countries have been carved up into other, littler countries. Pets have died. And we’ve seen several presidents come and go, only to have their legacies completely blown away by a giant, orange hot air balloon with terrible hair.
If reading all that is making you feel old or depressed, it’s okay. It’s time to remember the ’90s, that special decade where big screen spin-offs of doofy Saturday Night Live skits could see the light of day and actually be pretty funny, if not artistic. Wayne’s World, the movie, however, is both.
While some jokes refer to Kierkegaard, modern psychology and the Cantonese dialect, director Penelope Spheeris (behind the renowned Decline of Western Civilization metal docs) turned the movie into an homage to alternative cinema, littering it with topical parodies, post-classical editing, and hilarious meta-cinema devices. (Specifically, Wayne and Garth keep breaking the fourth wall for comedic effect.)
Given the movie’s artistry, it makes sense that the soundtrack is equally eclectic. In typical Wayne’s World fashion, it’s time to make a list of film’s songs, ranked from totally bogus to most excellent.
This song is so good it could give Stan Mikita’s famous glazed donut a run for its money… NOT! Rhino Bucket’s “Ride with Yourself” sounds like a poor, rather tedious hair metal knock off AC/DC’s peak Highway to Hell-era fodder. In fact, the Los Angeles quartet sounds so much like the seminal Australian rockers (especially vocalist Georg Dolivo’s impersonation of Bon Scott) AC/DC’s second drummer Simon Wright ended up hitting the skins for them from 1993 to 2006. Still, this tune perfectly sets up the whole hair metal, hard rock vibe of Wayne’s World.
At this point, it’s probably safe to say that Eric Clapton’s solo career has had more than a few sour notes. As an immaculate blues guitar player who honed his chops with The Yardbirds, Cream and Derek and the Dominos, Clapton should have stuck to shredding standards or reviving groundbreaking classics. Instead, he’s decided to churn out mediocre pop music. “Lovin’ your Lovin,” an outtake from the slick, Phil Collins-produced 1985 album Behind the Sun might be the worst example. But the canned song found a home on the_ Wayne’s World_ soundtrack, where Clapton’s cheesy up-the-neck solo and bubblegum love lyrics are just what the movie begs for.
Most everyone has heard Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” and “By the Way,” but it’s easy to forget that RHCP used to be an obnoxious freak funk band. This 1992 B-side, “Sikamikanico,” is a ridiculous, rambunctious song that should have been used in a moshing scene. Instead Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) pops it in his brand new CD player as he and his girlfriend Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere) drive to check out his dream guitar. Wayne aptly zones out to the “Sikamikanico” strangeness. He obviously gets the absurdity.
This version of the Wayne’s World theme sucks. No way? Way! Don’t misunderstand: The original Wayne’s World theme is probably one of the most memorable tunes in the history of moving pictures. Composed with help from former SNL bandleader and guitarist, G.E. Smith, the ditty is just too simple and fun to sing along with to be unlovable. But when it gets extended into a poorly produced, crunchy rocker for the closing credits, it’s quite a turn off. In fact, it sounds no better than the ridiculous corporate jingle tightwad sponsor Noah Vanderhoff taps his foot to after hotshot TV exec (Rob Lowe) takes over the show. Bogus.
Cinderella’s also got an AC/DC obsession, but unlike Rhino Bucket, the Philadelphia-born band’s only memorable single, “Hot and Bothered,” is a bit more subtle and tasteful in its mimicry. Even if the chiming guitar lick rolling under Tom Keifer’s unique screech doesn’t set the song apart, it makes for good source music background noise. To that end, the tune’s video is pretty sweet. In it, the band sweats it out on stage as Wayne and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) watch alongside a crew hot girlies and relive some highlights from the movie.
With the same bombast of In Living Color and the soulfulness of The Black Crowes, BulletBoys’ “Rock Candy” fits in nicely with Wayne’s World’s raucous worldview and equally rockin’ soundtrack. In a decade of noted economic prosperity and general contentedness, 1992 was a particularly tumultuous year. Old George Bush was still hanging around at that time, leaving little reminders of his precious Gulf War. Meanwhile, the Yugoslav Wars were brutally beginning. Pumping a fist to heavy metal while singing along to simple lyrics about cute chicks with sticky sweet features was a welcomed escape.
No, no. You don’t need to go back to the past for this one. Early ’90s Black Sabbath, featuring vocalist Ronnie James Dio, drummer Vinny Appice, plus O.G. bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi, perfectly channeled Black Sabbath’s early ’70s energy to create Dehumanizer, which Time Machine is plucked from. Considered one of Black Sabbath’s heaviest efforts, each of the album’s 10 tracks is a headbanger’s ball. Undoubtedly, “Time Machine” warped a few necks and cleaned a few clocks upon its release, so it’s a major bummer the cut didn’t get more, uh, time on the silver screen.
In the early ‘90s, underrated rocker Dwight Twilley had a small comeback thanks to the use of his song “Why You Wanna Break My Heart” as Crucial Taunt’s demo single in Wayne’s World. In the capable hands of Tia Carrere, the faintly catchy song is given new life, making it one of the soundtracks better listens. It’s easy to forget that Carrere’s character Cassandra, the lead singer of Crucial Taunt, is more fact than fiction, being based on the actress’ real-life musical chops. Carrere’s first solo album, Dream, went platinum in the Philippines. Then she won “Best Hawaiian Music Album” Grammy awards for 2009’s ‘Ikena and 2011’s Huana Ke Aloha.
Even if this song can’t be found on every version of the Wayne’s World soundtrack and didn’t get much use in the movie, it deserves to be on this list. Recorded in 1989, years before Soundgarden injected more grunge into its sound, the track is a charged up burner defined by Chris Cornell’s supernatural wail and an epic feedback loop intro. Meanwhile, the fluid work of drummer Matt Cameron might just parallel Garth’s amazing local music store drum solo…sheeyea, right?!
On it’s own, The Sweet’s 1973 song “The Ballroom Blitz” is a annoyingly catchy, middling single, but as sung by Wayne’s World co-star Tia Carrere, it becomes a sexy, fun, revamped romp that encapsulates the film’s carefree essence. Next to Crucial Taunt’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” which seduced Wayne at the Gasworks and was used a B-side of Carrere’s “Ballroom Blitz” cover in real life, this rendition wins over Sharp Records label owner, Frankie “Mr. Big” Sharp (well, at least in the mega-happy alternate ending).
The infectious and groovy chorus of Gary Wright’s 1975 hit “DreamWeaver” is probably one of the coolest songs to ever characterize on-screen love. The first time Wayne sees his heartthrob Cassandra, while she’s paying Hendrix at the Gasworks, the funky “DreamWeaver” hook fades in, twinkling stars fill the frame, and Wright belts out his lilting lyric, “Ooh, dream weaver, I believe you can get me through the night!” Little known fact—Wright, who was a pioneer of the synth’s use in pop music, played keyboards with George Harrison. Wright also performed on Broadway as a child actor. Most importantly, he re-recorded a longer, pepped up version of “DreamWeaver” just for Wayne’s World.
In a futile attempt to steal Cassandra away from Wayne, Benjamin (Rob Lowe’s slimy TV exec character), gives him two tickets and backstage passes to Alice Cooper’s concert in Milwaukee. Obviously, Wayne and Garth make a trip out of it, stopping to recreate the Laverne & Shirley opening montage before seeing Cooper slay “Feed My Frankenstein,” a chugging, cleverly written cut that could bring a cadaver back to life (mostly because it’s filled with Halloween-themed double entendres about sex). Contrast this song and its subject matter to Cooper backstage. When Wayne and Garth meet him, he gives them a chewy history lesson about Milwaukee.
Garth is really into one of the waitresses at Stan Mikita’s Donuts, but if he’s going make her swoon, he’s gonna have to talk to her. As Wayne advises him, “ I say puke…If you blow chunks and she bolts, then it was never meant to be.” Don’t worry Garth, she’ll dig your killer smile and genuine personality…As if! Garth, to get the donut girl of your dreams, you’re going to need a little help from Jimi Hendrix. Or at least that’s what Garth fantasizes about in one of the most beloved scenes from Wayne’s World. To woo his ideal babe, he thinks about tossing a quarter in the jukebox and blasting Hendrix’s 1967 hit “Foxy Lady.” While lip syncing to the song, he dances toward her, leaving her wanting and ready to score. “I’m coming to get ya,” Garth mouths, before he’s snapped back to reality. And, scene.
Not much has to be said about why this is the best song from Wayne’s World. Seeing Wayne and his crew roll around Aurora, Ill. in Garth’s 1976 AMC Pacer (aka the “mirthmobile”), singing along to this esoteric Queen tune without a care in the world is such an endearing scene. Due to its use in the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody” got an unexpected boost in popularity. One year after frontman Freddie Mercury died from AIDS-related complications, the remaining members of Queen got to watch the song shoot up to the No. 2 slot of the Billboard Singles chart. Considering that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a nearly six-minute ballad with opera overtones and a hard rock bridge, it’s not a typical single. But now, like Wayne’s World, it’s been carved into the ledger of popular culture as a classic, sung at weddings or karaoke bars across the land.