Bohemian Rhapsody is the title of the upcoming Queen biopic, named after the band’s most well-known song. Other films about music artists have used their most popular song for the title, such as Mamma Mia about Abba and “I Walk the Line” about Johnny Cash. Famous songs have also been used for titles of movie concerts by certain groups, such as Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same and The Last Waltz by the Band.
In most cases when the two productions have the same title, the film has very little to do with the song. For example, the film American Pie has no relation to the Don McLean song, nor does Pretty Woman bear any resemblance to the hit by Roy Orbison.
Occasionally, hit songs have born such good story lines that they film makers have actually transformed the lyrics into a movie. Here are eleven examples of songs that were later made into films.
Convoy by C.W. McCall
Kris Kristofferson was chosen as the star of this picture about a gang of truckers who use their CB radios to form a mighty coalition against corrupt practices of highway policemen.
The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia by Vicki Lawrence
The Peach State is the obvious setting for this tale of murder, romance, and police malpractice, based on the song that reached number one a few years prior.
Harper Valley P.T.A. by Jeannie C. Riley
Barbara Eden stars as the sexy blond mother who gets fed up with the hypocrites in her small town, just like the main character in the famous song from the Sixties.
Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbi Gentry
Of course the Tallahatchi Bridge would be included in the film, for it served as part of the chorus in the song about a secret affair and its mysterious aftermath.
Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn
Since the tune was autobiographical, it made perfect sense to assign it as well to the Sissy Spacek movie about the country legend ‘s life.
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
The made for TV movie, starring the singer himself, did not have anywhere near the success as the number one record.
Hurricane by Bob Dylan
Ruben Carter suffered from false imprisonment for murder, an injustice that Bob Dylan made into the biggest hit from the Desire album. Three decades later, the story of the heavy weight champ was made into an unforgettable film.
Tom Dooley by the Kingston Trio
Murder serves as the backdrop for this folk classic, which quite naturally fit into a Hollywood Western.
Pretty Boy Floyd by Woody Guthrie
He was a gangster whom Woody painted as a Robin Hood in the song, which twenty years later was developed into a script.
Copa Cabana by Barry Manilow
Rico and Tony get into a fatal fight over Lola the dancer in both the song and the film, the former of which has been far more enduring than the latter.
Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie
Everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving song is nearly as long as (but much funnier than)/the movie itself, which appeared a few years later with Arlo himself as the star.