At the beginning of the 1969 independent cult classic film “Easy Rider,” the lead characters meet with a high-rolling drug dealer to sell him a large quantity of cocaine, after which they take the money, hop on their California-style Harley choppers and head out on the open road. Accompanying these scenes are two iconic hard rock songs that perfectly complement the story: “The Pusher” and “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.
Music and movies have gone together like oil and vinegar since, well, pretty much ever since there have been movies. From Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer” (1927) through the many dozens of big-screen musicals of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, songs played a pivotal role in moving the plot along, usually sung on screen by actors as part of the story. In the modern era, film makers increasingly used popular songs over the opening and closing credits as well. And when rock and roll music arrived in the mid-’50s, rock tunes and cinema began a marriage that has only grown stronger and more pervasive with each passing year.