Movie Music

King Kong Song: 10 Songs for the Giant Ape's 80th Anniversary

One of the big hits at this summer's box office was Pacific Rim, a movie about giant mechs fighting giant monsters. It owes a lot to Japanese cinema, of course, but it wouldn't exist at all without the influence of one classic American film: 1933's King Kong.

Hard to believe, but it's been 80 years since people flocked to theaters and first had their minds blown by what were, at the time, some of the most fantastic sights that had ever been captured on film. I mean, it's easy to forget what with King Kong himself and all, but this was also a movie featuring dinosaurs, a giant vulture and a deleted scene featuring a giant spider. It was a technological marvel in its day.

It has also left an indelible mark on pop culture that has permeated even music in a big way. In honor of the film's 80th anniversary, I decided to showcase ten songs that wouldn't exist without the King.

10. The Jimmy Castor Bunch, "King Kong" For this classic funk track, the Jimmy Castor Bunch retell the King Kong story mostly literally, but the track is fun for its bouncing bass line.

9. Bobby Pickett and Peter Ferrara, "King Kong (Your Song)" Bobby ("Boris") Pickett didn't do much that people remember aside from "Monster Mash," but that didn't stop him from recording other great novelty tracks about movie monsters, including this one about Kong that has a nice funky swagger.

8. Bow Wow Wow, "King Kong" The bizarre British pop group responsible for "I Want Candy" also recorded this track during the same sessions, about a King Kong who eats all your money. I'm sure that's a metaphor for something, but don't ask me what for.

7. Jibbs feat. Chamillionaire, "King Kong" Proving Kong has even infiltrated rap culture, Jibbs put out this 2006 single with Houston's own Chamillionaire. I'm not sure what having King Kong in your trunk means, but it sounds like a good boast anyway.

6. Gorilla Zoe, "King Kong" And, of course, a rapper with a simian monicker would compare himself to King Kong.

5. The Kinks, "King Kong" Perhaps proof of the Kinks' creative genius, this rocking tune about Kong was originally a B-side, but it's still a killer track from their Arthur era.

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4. Daniel Johnston, "King Kong" My favorite musician who lives in Waller, Daniel Johnston, penned this track in the early '80s based on the film's plot, which fits pretty well thematically with his usual lyrics.

3. Tom Waits, "King Kong" Many years later, Tom Waits took on Johnston's song about King Kong, which fit his usual lyrical repertoire pretty well, too.

2. ABBA, "King Kong Song" In this rock and roll track from the disco stars, which owes a lot to Elton John, ABBA actually sings about watching the movie and writing a song on it. Super meta.

1. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, "King Kong" A noted fan of monster movies (see his song "Cheepnis"), Frank Zappa named this very long and very popular instrumental track after the very first monster.


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Corey Deiterman