HomeLists10 Great ‘Best Original Song’ Golden Globe Winners

10 Great ‘Best Original Song’ Golden Globe Winners

By Alex Beene and David Hopper

The Golden Globes have been anything but golden over the past two years. In 2021, viewership hit record lows as pandemic-era audiences didn’t have awards shows at the top of their must-see lists. Last year there was no telecast as the Globes’ network partner NBC dropped the presentation over accusations that the Hollywood Foreign Press, the voting body of the awards, was not sufficiently culturally inclusive. Interestingly, NBC is back on board this year.

In 2021, David Hopper and Alex Beene compiled their list of the 10 Best Original Song Oscar winners. Now, David and Alex give the Globes the same treatment in honor of their 2023 return. While it seemed that this list might largely overlap the Oscars one, it turns out that the rules to qualify for the Globes’ song list are much less restrictive than those of the Academy. As a result, they ended up with a much different list.

Can this year’s ceremony on Tuesday, January 10, (8 pm ET on NBC) restore the Hollywood romance to this red-carpet affair? Regardless, the 10 songs compiled by David and Alex will remind you of the intimate relationship between music and film. Let’s take a listen to some movie magic.

“Town Without Pity” from Town Without Pity (1961)

Singer-songwriter Gene Pitney lent his melodramatic voice to a slew of hits in the early to mid-1960s. His first Top 20 single was 1961’s “Town Without Pity.” This haunting tune, featured prominently in the courtroom drama starring Kirk Douglas, was the very first to win the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. It was written by Ned Washington (lyrics) and Dimitri Tiomkin (music). – David Hopper

“The Way We Were” from The Way We Were (1973)

One of the best-known film songs of all time and perhaps the signature tune of Barbra Streisand’s legendary career, “The Way We Were” is about a relationship between the two main characters in the 1973 film of the same name, played by Streisand and Robert Redford. The melancholy ballad, which was Billboard’s #1 single of the year in 1974, helped revive Streisand’s career. The single featured lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and music by Marvin Hamlisch. Notably, Hamlisch and Streisand both belong to the exclusive EGOT club – winners of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. – D.H.

“Last Dance” from Thank God It’s Friday (1978)

In the film Thank God It’s Friday, Donna Summer plays Nicole Sims, an aspiring disco singer. Throughout the movie, she keeps begging the DJ to play the instrumental track of “Last Dance” so she can sing along. Eventually he does and she crushes it (because she’s Donna Summer). “Last Dance” was a unique disco tune at the time because it started as a slow ballad that suddenly shifted to a frenetic dance beat. Summer would employ this musical device again in future hits. “Last Dance” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. Written by Paul Jabara and co-produced by long-time collaborator Giorgio Moroder, it would go down as one of The Queen of Disco’s most beloved songs, and a surefire showstopper in her live sets. – D.H.

“Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Yes, as cliché as it has become, the Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ duet is a gem that continues to captivate listeners. The dreamy ballad speaks to the power of love, yet ironically, there was little love for the song in its early days. Cocker revealed that Island Records owner Chris Blackwell couldn’t stand it, and numerous radio stations returned copies of the song to the label upon receiving them. Popular opinion had different plans however, as An Officer and a Gentleman became a box-office smash, and “Belong” rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. – Alex Beene

“A Whole New World” from Aladdin (1992)

You may ask how this jewel in the Disney Renaissance crown failed to make our top 10 Oscar songs list. The reality is there are just too many iconic Disney winners from which to choose. “A Whole New World” represents Alan Menken and Tim Rice at the height of their powers as Disney song men extraordinaire. It’s a beautiful ode from the film’s title character to his princess-in-waiting. Of the many Disney songs that have received Golden Globes, this song is the only one from a Disney production to also win a Grammy for Song of the Year. – A.B.

“Things Have Changed” from Wonder Boys (2000)

Wonder Boys was a comedy-drama about English professor Grady Tripp (played by Michael Douglas) struggling to write the follow-up to his hit novel. Despite the star-studded cast – Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey, Jr. – the film was a flop. However, the film’s bluesy, groovin’ Bob Dylan tune struck gold.

“I learned that Dylan might be interested in contributing an original song,” Wonder Boys director Curtis Hanson told Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin. “So when I came back from filming in Pittsburgh, Bob came by the editing room to see some rough-cut footage. I told him the story and introduced him to the characters. We talked about Grady Tripp and where he was in life, emotionally and creatively. Weeks later a CD arrived in the mail.”

One of Dylan’s better latter-day vocal performances, I love how he sings “she’s drinkin’ champagne” in the first verse. “Things Have Changed” also won the Oscar for Best Original Song. In his Oscar acceptance speech, Dylan called it “a song that doesn’t pussyfoot around nor turn a blind eye to human nature.” – D.H.

“A Love That Will Never Grow Old” from Brokeback Mountain (2005)

This simple, timeless country ballad by Emmylou Harris received rave reviews from critics upon the soundtrack’s release. It was instantly catapulted to frontrunner status for Best Song at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. While it easily clinched a Globe victory, the head-scratching rules of the Academy Awards meant it wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Rules at the time disqualified it because it “had insufficient airtime in the movie.” It stands as a true Academy blunder, and a rare instance in which the Globes got it right compared to the standard-setting Academy. – A.B.

“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from Burlesque (2010)

Cher is the queen of power ballads, and “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” is yet more proof. But let’s be frank, Burlesque is not a good film. It’s a forgettable flick full of dance-movie tropes and laughably cliché characterizations. Perhaps that’s why the song only received love from the star-centric Globes, while the Oscars took a pass. It’s truly a nugget of gold lying in a pile of rocks. The song’s lyric serves as a powerful metaphor for Cher’s career and that of many older female artists who have been told to step aside. True to her words, Cher wasn’t done and spent the next decade recording, acting and touring. We’ve still not seen the last of her. – A.B.

“Shallow” from A Star is Born (2018)

This one narrowly missed our top 10 Oscar songs list, perhaps because it was just too soon, and its success seemed driven by the star power of Lady Gaga. But Gaga’s powerful performance made the song a hit at the time of its release, and it’s getting better with age.  Co-star Bradley Cooper also delivers a passionate vocal. Their connection with the material spilled over into their memorable live performances following the film’s release. – A.B.

“No Time to Die” from No Time To Die (2021)

“No Time to Die” was the third James Bond theme song to win the Golden Globe for Best Original Song following Adele’s “Skyfall” in 2013 and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” in 2016. It’s almost criminal that it took until 2013  to honor a Bond theme song, given all the classics through the years. Billie Eilish co-wrote the moody ballad with her producer brother Finneas when she was 17 years old, making her the youngest artist to have written and recorded a Bond song. – D.H.

Here are the nominees for the 2023 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song:

“Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing
Music by: Taylor Swift
Lyrics by: Taylor Swift

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Lyrics by: Roeban Katz, Guillermo del Toro

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick
Music by: Lady Gaga, BloodPop, Benjamin Rice
Lyrics by: Lady Gaga, BloodPop

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Music by: Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson
Lyrics by: Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR
Music by: M.M. Keeravani
Lyrics by: Chandrabose

You can find out more about the Golden Globes on goldenglobes.com

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