Muscle Music: A Schwarzenegger Soundtrack Retrospective

Today, veteran action icon and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's new movie The Last Stand hits theaters. Being the face of pulse-pounding action for almost four decades, Schwarzenegger's butt-kicking (and occasional comic mischief) has often been accompanied by the most bombastic music possible. In honor of the star's return to the top of movie marques, we've assembled five of our favorite Schwarzenegger music moments. From soundtrack cuts to music video cameos, these sleek tunes helped make the silver screen shine before Schwarzenegger blows something to kingdom come. Let's take a listen to some of that great muscle music.


Power Station- “We Fight For Love” 1985
from Commando
Ahh yes, Commando. While many neglect it when considering the Arnold's more celebrated classics like Conan, The Terminator and Jingle All the Way, in many ways Commando is the quintessential Schwarzenegger film. The tale of a man going on a solo quest to thwart an international terrorist organization who has kidnapped his daughter, the movie follows the preferred Schwarzenegger formula of 1) Find bad guy 2) Brutally murder him 3) Say witty pun 4) Repeat. It's all tenderloin. The movie's theme “We Fight For Love” works as not only as an interpretation of Schwarzenegger overcoming all odds to save his beloved daughter, but how much Schwarzenegger himself fights all barriers of taste and logic on screen to give us the breathtaking violence and macho wordplay we so desire. He fuels the Power Station in all of us.

Little Richard and Philip Bailey – “Twins” 1988
From Twins
For an artist who is as visually show-stopping and theatrically gifted as Little Richard, it's surprising (and possibly a crime) he hasn't made more music videos. Even the ones that do exist, aren't on YouTube and require citizens like myself to hit the wild west that is Yahoo Music to uncover them, including this gem from the Schwarzenegger/DeVito comedy Twins. A duet with Philip Bailey, “Twins” is to montages of Schwarzenegger doing mundane tasks what the Alban Berg's Lulu is to palindromes. Why Little Richard wasn't hired to do the title track for every future Schwarzenegger project will remain one of life's greatest mysteries.


Guns 'N' Roses – “You Could Be Mine” 1992
From Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Schwarzenegger and Axl Rose have had an interesting relationship. When it came time for James Cameron and company to sit down with the band and negotiate including the first single from their Use Your Illusion album in Terminator 2, Arnold invited the entire band to his home to work out the deal. As a result, not only did we get one of the greatest sci-fi/action films ever made full of Guns 'n' Roses references and one of the all time memorable movie-music cross-promotional videos, but a lifelong bond was formed. Schwarzenegger would go on to refer to the band, albeit in a MUCH different form, as his “good buddies” on MTV's “TRL” years later when promoting the soundtrack to his 1999 film End of Days that featured G'N'R's “Oh My God”, which would remain the group's only officially released new song in a 14 year span.

AC/DC – “Big Gun” 1993
from Last Action Hero
If you have any positive memory from the mis-marketed satire Last Action Hero, chances are it's the soundtrack's lead single “Big Gun.” Considered one of the best AC/DC b-sides, the video features the unforgettable imagery of Schwarzenegger carrying guitarist Angus Young on his shoulders. While the movie has become something of a cult classic, the soundtrack's become something of a rite of passage for crate digging metalheads looking for some exclusive gems that have gone under-appreciated for far too long.


Bon Jovi – “Say It Isn't So” 2000
from the Biggest Year in the History of the Music Industry
While not from a movie per se, Bon Jovi's tribute to the art of cinema and Hollywood magic could only have existed at a time when the music industry was willing to excessively fund absolutely anything and everything. Creating a live action version of the animated back-lot trope, the video features everything that can go wrong when filming a bunch of different people in close-quarters. Schwarzenegger rides through to remind us just long enough how great he was in Terminator, before becoming the governor of the very same state three years later. Coincidence?

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