In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re picking our favorite songs from action movies.
Those familiar with Stan Bush’s “The Touch” generally found it in one of two ways—either via the animated Transformers movie from 1986 or via Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, in which the main characters record a ridiculous cover version. I had no idea that Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild (Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly) were even doing a cover; I thought that Anderson simply wrote exactly the kind of song these two dummies would if they existed in the real world. But no, the song belongs to Bush, who actually wrote it not for The Transformers: The Movie, but for the Syl Stallone cop film Cobra. It ended up being his only hit—a term used loosely—and he’s since tried to capitalize on it, releasing new versions (including a terrible rap-enhanced one) in the hopes that Michael Bay would want them. (There’s a great history of the song from earlier this year over at Vulture.) To me, though, the Dirk Diggler version is the definitive one. It treats the composition with the respect that it deserves, and it added a magic moment—a touch, you might say—to one of the best movies of the last 20 years. Maybe we owe Bush and the animated Transformers movie a thank you.