Pop Goes The Movies: DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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In the pantheon of 1980s pop culture, few elements are more iconic than the image of Judd Nelson, fists clenched in triumph, striding across a football field as the opening notes of "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds echo in the background. This moment from John Hughes' seminal teen movie, "The Breakfast Club" (1985), has become an enduring symbol of teenage defiance and liberation.

Creating a song that could capture and amplify such an emotionally potent scene was a daunting task, but one that Keith Forsey, Steve Schiff, and the Scottish rock band Simple Minds rose to meet. The result was a song that not only defined a generation but also left a lasting impact on the intersection of film and music.

"Don't You Forget About Me" began its life in the creative minds of Keith Forsey, an English songwriter, and Steve Schiff, a guitarist for Nina Hagen. Forsey, already with a Grammy for co-writing "Flashdance...What a Feeling," had a knack for creating memorable movie songs. Both musicians were inspired by the spirit of the '80s, combining it with a strong sense of melodic pop and a post-punk new wave aesthetic. They penned the song with Simple Minds in mind, enchanted by the band's atmospheric sound and Jim Kerr's expressive vocals.

Despite this, the band was initially reluctant to record the song, considering it a step away from their self-penned material. They finally agreed after persuasion from their label, A&M Records, and the result was a pop-rock anthem that would mark a turning point in their career. The production, helmed by Forsey, was slick but not overly so, allowing the band's gritty energy to shine through.

The song's success was immediate. It soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1985, becoming the band's biggest hit in the States. It also charted highly in the UK, reaching the number 7 position - a testament to its broad international appeal.

The fusion of the song's rebellious spirit and the emotionally-charged narrative of "The Breakfast Club" led to the powerful cinematic moment that continues to resonate today. It captured the zeitgeist, embodying the struggle for self-identity and the power of nonconformity, themes that resonated with a generation of teenagers across the globe.

Yet, the cultural impact of "Don't You Forget About Me" was not limited to its contribution to the film. It sparked a trend of using pop songs to amplify the emotional core of a movie, becoming a blueprint for film music in the years to come. Just as Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" defined the eponymous film, or how Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" became synonymous with its film, "Don't You Forget About Me" has become inseparable from "The Breakfast Club."

In the years following its release, "Don't You Forget About Me" has continued to be a touchstone of popular culture. The song has been covered numerous times, by artists as diverse as Billy Idol, Life of Agony, and Victoria Justice. In 2010, the song was even inducted into the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) Pop Music Hall of Fame, reflecting its enduring popularity.

Despite the initial reluctance of Simple Minds to record the track, it has since become a cornerstone of their discography. Jim Kerr acknowledged the importance of the song in an interview with Q Magazine in 2013, stating: "In the end, it gave us a lot of freedom to carry on and make the records we really wanted to."

The legacy of "Don't You Forget About Me" extends beyond its chart performance and pop culture penetration. It serves as a testament to the transformative power of music when coupled with compelling storytelling. The song's blending of rock and pop aesthetics was not only indicative of the shifting musical landscape of the '80s but also a precursor to the increasingly genre-blending nature of pop music in the decades to come.

In conclusion, "Don't You Forget About Me" remains a touchstone of the 1980s, embodying the spirit of an era while transcending it. The song and its indelible connection to "The Breakfast Club" serve as a reminder of a time when pop could capture the angst and ecstasy of teenage life, forever immortalizing that fleeting moment of adolescent rebellion on the big screen. As it continues to resonate with new generations, the song proves that we haven't, and perhaps never will, forget about it.

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