Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be familiar with the soaring heroic orchestral themes of their favorite heroes and The Avengers, but there is some pop chart music that could also be heard in various films of the MCU. These films featured some of the most widely known songs of all time, but they also had some hidden gems. It’s hard not to love AC/DC’s Back In Black, Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Pop, The Jackson Five’s I Want You Back, and No Doubt’s Just A Girl. But some films had deep cuts like Camilo Azuquita’s Borombon, Spoon’s Underdog, or Silver’s “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang.” Whatever the case may be, these songs were essential in order to help move the story forward or set the tone.
To celebrate the release of Avengers: Endgame, we take a look back at some of our favorite songs that could be heard throughout the MCU films. This will strictly be about the songs and not so much the instrumentals. These songs speak to who the characters are or what the themes of the films.
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Back In Black” – AC/DC; “Institutionalized” – Suicidal Tendencies; “Slept On Tony” – Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge; “Iron Man” Black Sabbath
My Favorite Song: It only seems appropriate that the Iron Man theme from Black Sabbath be the anthem for the titular hero. It speaks to the bad boy rebellious persona that Tony Stark is known for. While it may be a little bit on the nose in terms of choice of song, there’s no denying it fits the tone of the film
Iron Man 2
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash, “The Magnificent Seven” – The Clash; “California Love” – 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman; “Another One Bites The Dust” – Queen; “It Takes Two” – Base and DJ E-Z Rock; “Robot Rock” – Daft Punk; “Groove Holmes” – Beastie Boys; “Highway To Hell” – AC/DC.
Favorite Song: There are a ton of songs and pieces pulled from songs that could be heard throughout the film, especially during party when Tony and Rhodey are fighting to the late DJ AM’s mix of 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman’s “California Love,” Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two,” and Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock.” And it’s hard to ignore the Beastie Boys’ Groove Holmes. But my favorite by far is “High Way To Hell” by AC/DC. Again it just speaks to Tony’s personality and how he just doesn’t play by the rules.
Songs That Could Be Heard: Billy Swan’s Can I Help, The Foo Fighters – “Walk”
My Favorite Song: Although Thor doesn’t have that many songs, The Foo Fighters’ “Walk” helped set the tone for Thor, who finds himself banished to Earth after disobeying his father’s direct orders to not confront the Frost Giants. In this scene, he is drinking boilermakers with Erik Selvig after learning a valuable lesson in humility. He pours his soul out to him, and they both bond over the fact that they both did not listen to their fathers, both of whom were just trying to teach them very important lessons in life.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Songs That Could Be Heard: The Star Spangled Man With A Plan
My Favorite Song: Composed by Alan Menken and David Zippel, this is the only song that could be heard in the film. But even if that were to make it the default choice, it isn’t, because “The Star-Spangled Man” is a genuinely good song. It stays true to the film’s setting. Though it plays a lot like the war propaganda music that you might hear during World War II, there is an upbeat theme to it that is not only patriotic but gives us a sense of hope that the titular hero is fighting to win the war.
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Shoot To Thrill” AC/DC; “Live To Rise” – Soundgarden
My Favorite Song: What can I say, if Tony Stark has to make an entrance as Iron Man, then he might as well be consistent with his music choices. Here we see him play AC/DC’s “Shoot To Thrill” as he comes in to save Captain America from Loki. And it wouldn’t be a Tony Stark entrance if he didn’t hack into Black Widow’s Quinjet loudspeakers to emphasize that he is saving the day.
—- Phase 2 —-
Iron Man 3
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65; “Mambo Number 5” – Lou Bega; “Jingle Bells” – Joe Williams; “Some Kind of Joke” – AWOLNATION; “Jingle Bells” – Vinnie Zummo; “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” – Dwight Yoakam; Auld Lang Syne; “Jingle Bells” – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass; Anderlecht Champion aka Ole Ole Ole (We Are the Champions) – Armath and Deja;
My Favorite Song: Marvel Studios’ first Christmas movie has several reasons to be jolly, especially since they give us numerous renditions of Jingle Bells. But watching Tony strut his stuff as he puts on the new MK XLIII was really cool to watch. Especially when he did it with that ostentatious flair.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Trouble Man” – Marvin Gaye
My Favorite Song: It’s the only song that could be heard. Sam recommended Cap listen to it to help him get acclimated with the new era of the Internet, iPods, and no Polio. Aside from that, the song didn’t really appear up until the end, when Cap woke up from his coma, only to say “on your left” to Sam, who was sitting at Cap’s bedside.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Hooked On A Feeling” – Blue Suede; “Go All The Way” –Raspberries; “Spirit In The Sky” – Norman Greenbaum; “Moonage Daydream” – David Bowie; “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” – Elvin Bishop; “I’m Not In Love” – 10CC; “I Want You Back” – Jackson 5; “Come And Get Your Love” – Redbone; “Cherry Bomb” – The Runaways; “”Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” – Rupert Holmes; “O-oh Child” – Five Stairsteps; “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
My Favorite Song: James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtrack help move the plot in the film forward in ways no other Marvel Studios films has. Unlike some of the previous films, much of the music we hear in this is the 1960s and 1970s and helps bring in a little humanity to an otherwise superhero space opera. But my favorite song has to be Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” as it is a celebration of the victory of a major evil.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Great Intentions” – Damato; “Liquid Spirit” Gregory Porter; “I’ve Got No Strings” – Dickie Jones
My Favorite Song: Although two of the songs that play could be faintly heard during the party scene as the Avengers celebrate their victory over Hydra, it’s Dickie Jones’ “I’ve Got No Strings” that truly stands out as it defines Ultron breaking free from Tony’s plans to have peace on Earth by eliminating threats before they could happen. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned, and Ultron says he will not be Tony’s puppet, which makes “I’ve Got No Strings” the perfect song.
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Borombo”- Camilo Azuquita; “Antmusic” – Adam & The Ants; “Hot Poppin’ Popcorn” The Wiggles; “Our Time Now” – Love Kelli; “Plainsong” – The Cure
My Favorite Song: There isn’t a whole lot to choose from in this case, but since I am forcing myself to pick one song from each, it would have to be Camilo Azuquita’s Borombo, it sounds very catchy and is not like anything from the previous films.
Captain America: Civil War
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Left Hand Free” – alt-J
My Favorite Song: While it may be the only song in the film, alt-J’s “Left Hand Free” helps mark Spider-Man’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was a long time coming considering that Sony had held the rights to the character for so long and fans had pleaded with the studio to play nice by giving it up or sharing the webslinger with Marvel. The latter would happen eventually.
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Shining Star” – Earth, Wind, & Fire; “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” Beyoncé
My Favorite Song: Doctor Strange may not have as many songs as some of the other films of the MCU, but there are a few that pop chart hits and shows that the sorcerers of the Kamar-Taj may not be as uptight or out of touch as the title character thinks. For when we see Wong listen to “Beyoncé “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” we get to see that they are aware of good music. Although, the song was a bit on the nose considering that many of these sorcerers use Sling Rings to travel to and from different locations on Earth.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra; “Fox On The Run” – Sweet; “Lake Shore Drive” – Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah; “The Chain” – Fleetwood Mac; “Bring It on Home to Me” – Sam Cooke; “Southern Lights” – Glen Campbell; “My Sweet Lord” – George Harrison; Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) – Looking Glass; “Come A Bit Closer” – Jay and the Americans; “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang” – Silver; “Surrender” – Cheap Trick; “Father and Son” – Cat Stevens; “Flash Flight” – Parliament; “Guardians Inferno” – The Sneepers featuring David Hasselhoff
My Favorite Song: Much like the first film, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 uses a new playlist to help the move the story forward and invoke certain emotions during key scenes. But if I had to choose, it would be between two songs: one scene sees Yondu, Rocket, and Baby Groot, fight a group of Ravengers to the tune of Jay and the Americans’ “Come A Bit Closer.” The second scene is a sentimental moment when we see Peter Quill aka Star-Lord listen to Cat Steven’s “Father And Son,” with Baby Groot, just after he lost Yondu, the only real father figure he had in his life.
Songs That Could Be Heard: “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” – The Rolling Stones; “The Underdog” – Spoon; “A Buena Vista” Soneros De Verdad; “Blitzkrieg Bop” – Ramones; “Rise to the Top” – Kil the Giant; “Oh Yeah” – Yello; “Do It Betta” – Scip The Great “Aye Yo Gee” – Icy Black; “Goin’ Up the Country” Canned Heat; “La Consequencia” – SWJ Mafia; “Save It for Later” – The English Beat; “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” – Traffic; “Space Age Love Song” – A Flock of Seagulls
My Favorite Song: You would be hard-pressed to find something that wasn’t pulled from the 80s. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a superhero film with John Hughes vibes, so it is only appropriate that the soundtrack features a mix of contemporary songs and songs from the 80s. But if there was one song I had to choose as the best it would have to be Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The iconic punk rock song was used to ring in the Webslinger’s swing into action as he lives up to his “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” moniker by saving the little guy from petty crimes all the while learning what it truly means to be a hero.
Song That Could Be Heard: “Immigrant Song” – Led Zeppelin
My Favorite Song: Thor: Ragnarok is one of the few films that have only one song, but it is the perfect song all things considered. Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song fits right into the tone and world that was created by Jack Kirby. It’s the perfect anthem for Thor as he heroically fights Hela in order to distract her from the real mission at hand, which is to give time to the surviving Asgardians to escape from her wrath.
What Songs Could Be Heard: “In The Trunk” – Too $hort; “What Is Love” – Haddaway; “Kings Dead,” – Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, James Blake; “Hangover” – PSY ft. Snoop Dogg; “Pray For Me” – The Weeknd ft Kendrick Lamar; “Idrissa Soumaoro” – Bèrèbèrè (feat. Ali Farka Touré) “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar, SZA;
My Favorite Song: All The Stars, it is basically the anthem for Black Panther. And it’s a pretty incredible one at that. Hearing play during the end credits scene was fascinating, and the perfect song to end the film on.
Avengers: Infinity War
Songs That Could Be Heard: “The Rubberband Man” – The Spinners
My Favorite Song: Like the Guardians Of The Galaxy films that came before it, Avengers: Infinity War utilizes older hits to help us get acquainted with characters. So even if you have never seen any of the Guardians films, you get an idea of who they are and how relaxed they in the face of danger. Of course, whenever the danger is too high, they put their mean faces on.
Ant-Man And The Wasp
What Songs Could Be Heard: “Come On Get Happy” – David Cassidy; “Spooky” – Dusty Springfield; “Everyday Is Like Sunday” – Morrissey; “First of the Gang to Die (Live)” – Morrissey
My Favorite Song: “C’ mon Get Happy” is the theme song from The Partridge Family. It was also the song that helped Scott Lang break free from the monotony of being under house arrest.
What Songs Could Be Heard: “Crazy on You” – Heart; “Kiss Me Deadly” – Lita Ford; “Whatta Man” – Salt-N-Pepa ft. En Vogue; “Connection” – Elastica; “Only Happy When It Rains” – Garbage; “Crush With Eyeliner” – R.E.M.; “Waterfalls” – TLC; “You Gotta Be” – Des’ree; “Come As You Are” – Nirvana; “Just A Girl” – No Doubt; “Man on the Moon” – R.E.M.; “Celebrity Skin” – Hole; “Please Mr. Postman” – The Marvelettes
My Favorite Song: As a kid of the 90s, I feel as though the songs heard in Captain Marvel was just made for me and everyone else who grew up around loving 90s music. But if I had to choose one song, it would have to be No Doubt’s “Just A Girl.” No Doubt was the one band that filled the hallways of my junior high school, and none of my school friends could stop talking about.
In the spirit of keeping things vague and out of context, I will only mention two songs that could be heard in the film, both of which are very catchy and would be great additions to the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe playlist. But you can be sure that Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and Harry James and Kitty Kallen’s “It’s Been A Long Long Time” will play a huge role in setting the tone or giving a send-off. Note, you may have heard the instrumentals for one of these songs in one of the previous films.