Performer: Tangerine Dream
Songwriters: Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, Johannes Schmoelling
Original Release: Risky Business
Definitive Version: None
One could argue, I suppose, that this song shouldn’t be included on this list. The other day I heard Tangerine Dream (not this song) on the New Age channel on Sirius, and, well, remember my rule about the genre of a performer being the determining factor and not a particular song? It would seem that Tangerine Dream has been classified, at least by Sirius, as a new-age group, so I should no more include them than I would Loreena McKennitt.
Well, like Joel Goodson’s father said, my house, my rules. I’m including this song anyway.
Speaking of Joel Goodson, I had no interest in seeing Risky Business when it came out—none. All I knew about it was the trailer, and that was plenty. Maybe it’s on YouTube, but if you haven’t seen it or don’t remember it, it consisted solely of Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear to Bob Seger and talking on the phone to his parents while some babe is draped all over him, lying to them about the huge party going on in the background.
Ah, so it’s a fun-filled teenage sex romp, just like the ones I never had when I was in high school and still wasn’t having (Beth and I had not done the deed yet) … not interested.
Beth wanted to see it, however, so, not wanting to incur her wrath, I took her to see the movie. I can’t remember at which theater it was playing, but I think it was at Loews Arlington, which was the closest theater to where each of us lived.
Of course, the movie starts with this song and the character Tom Cruise played—Joel Goodson—recounting this elaborate dream he has about going over to a neighbor’s house to sex up a babe in the shower. Cue eye roll by me in the audience.
But then, of course, it changes. He can’t find the said babe and ends up in school at the end of the SAT he was supposed to take, and he realizes he’s ruined his chances of getting into college. Cue eye widen by me in the audience.
Over the next two hours, I sat in stunned silence as I realized that Risky Business was not the movie I was expecting at all. I mean, of course, it had the scenes that were in the trailer, including the big party at the end, but to say Risky Business is a teenage sex comedy would be like saying Bull Durham is a baseball movie: It is, but you’re missing the point.
Years later, I stumbled upon the review of Risky Business by Roger Ebert, who said that it was a movie that not only drew comparisons with The Graduate but also earned them. Wow. The Graduate was the standard-bearer as far as male coming-of-age movies went, so that was some high praise, indeed.
I thanked Beth profusely afterward for forcing me to go to see Risky Business against my will. It became one of my all-time favorite movies, and a big part of that was the music, particularly the eerie synth tunes by Tangerine Dream. I wanted to get the soundtrack, but, like high-school girls proved elusive to Joel Goodson (a theme to which I DEFINITELY could relate), so did the Risky Business soundtrack evade me in a puff of shower steam.
One time, Beth and I went to a nearby record shop, Record & Tape Outlet, looking to order the album, only to be told by the store clerk that no such thing existed. Well, I knew a soundtrack album existed, because I had seen it in some store at a time before I wanted to buy it.
Beth wasn’t there at the time, but she knew I believed I saw it, and that was good enough for her. So she took the clerk to task. “My boyfriend has seen it, so don’t you tell ME that it doesn’t exist …” That was pretty awesome.
Anyway, what I later found out was that the soundtrack album was an import, not officially released for some reason in the United States—at least for a while. That’s why it was so elusive. I finally found a tape of it in a store in Indiana, I think, and thus able to prove beyond any doubt that a Risky Business soundtrack did in fact exist.
I’m a sucker for a happy ending; aren’t you?