Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last American Virgin soundtrack (1982)


This film soundtrack breakdown comes on the heels of similar looks at the movies Valley Girl and Sixteen Candles.  Not a typical teen sex comedy, The Last American Virgin differs from the usual early '80s fare in two ways [spoilers ahead]: 1) the plot involves teenage abortion, and 2) the film's protagonist, Gary, is a loveable loser, but not in an antihero sense.  He doesn't get what he wants and the movie ends suddenly on a sad note as Gary is rejected.  No happy ending here. However, there's lots of drinking, dancing, sex, nudity, and adults are portrayed as clueless idiots, so it is very much a typical '80s teen comedy in many ways.

Musically, there's lots of good stuff here.  In fact, this may be the most aligned soundtrack I can recall.  By that, I mean that almost every song lyric or title absolutely fits the scene it accompanies.  Examples abound: when Gary strikes out at a party, we hear "Better Luck Next Time" or when Gary comforts Diane with a hug, we hear "Open Arms." There was an official soundtrack release on the Columbia label in 1982.  The album, like the movie itself, suffered from lack of promotion and never reached the Billboard 200.  I remember perusing a LP copy of the soundtrack in a store in 1982, looking at the track listing deciding if it was worth a purchase.  I hadn't seen the movie and noted that I already owned copies of the songs from The Police, Devo, and The Cars, so I took a pass. My mistake.

Side One Side Two
Teen Angel Eyes
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Whip It
When I Find You
Better Luck Next Time
Are You Ready For The Sex Girls?
Since You're Gone
I Know What Boys Like
I Will Follow

While the movie is always closely associated with the song "Just Once" by Quincy Jones (vocals by James Ingram), the song "Oh No" by Commodores is heard twice in its entirety in the movie.  Films rarely include a pop song played in its entirety, so having one played twice is indeed a rarity.  The following list is based on the 2003 DVD release, although I understand a Blu-Ray version has been recently released.
  1. Opening credits: "Teen Angel Eyes" by Tommy Tutone, found on the soundtrack album (1982)
  2. Trying to pick up girls at the Golden Bird: "Shake It Up" by The Cars, found on Shake It Up (1981)
  3. Driving the ladies to the "party" at Gary's house: "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?" by Gleaming Spires, found on Songs of the Spires (1981)
  4. Dancing in Gary's living room: "In the Flesh" by Blondie, found on Blondie (1976)
  5. Turning Sweet'n Low into cocaine: "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by The Police, found on Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
  6. Rick takes Roxanne to the bedroom:  "I Know What Boys Like" by The Waitresses, found on Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful (1982)
  7. Gary's parents break up the party/mad dash to the station wagon: "Shake It Up" by The Cars, found on Shake It Up (1981)
  8. Gym class: "Whip It" by Devo, found on Freedom of Choice (1980)
  9. Gary stalks Karen:  "Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon, found on Hi Infidelity (1980)
  10. At the party: "Better Luck Next Time" by Oingo Boingo, found on the soundtrack album (1982)
  11. At the party: "Just Once" by Quincy Jones, found on The Dude (1981)
  12. Gary talks to Karen in the bathroom at party: "It Ain't Easy Comin' Down" by Charlene, found on I've Never Been To Me (re-released 1982)
  13. David puts a drunk Gary in the station wagon: "When I Find You" by Phil Seymour, found on the soundtrack album (1982)
  14. Gary makes a delivery to Carmela: "Granada" by Los Fabulosos 3 Paraguayos, found on Los 3 Paraguayos (1966)
  15. Carmela seduces the boys: "España Cani" by The Dancing Brass, found on South of the Border (1973) [Roper Records 1020, Hard to Find]
  16. Gary and David take off their clothes: "Besame Mucho" Los Fabulosos 3 Paraguayos, found on Los Fabulosos 3 Paraguayos Vol. 7 (1972)
  17. David takes a turn with Carmela: "That's the Way (I Like It)" by KC & The Sunshine Band, found on KC & The Sunshine Band (1975). 
  18. Escaping Carmela's: "España Cani" by The Dancing Brass
  19. Gary and Rick in parking lot: "Airwaves" by The Fortune Band, found on the soundtrack album (1982)
  20. Date with Karen and Rose:  "Keep On Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
  21. Car coasts into ocean: "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?" by Gleaming Spires
  22. At the Golden Bird: "Whip It" by Devo (in the original cinematic release, "Love Action (I Believe In Love)" by The Human League was used in this scene, found on Dare! (1981))
  23. Drowning crabs in the pool: "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by The Police
  24. At the Golden Bird: "Since You're Gone" by The Cars, found on Shake It Up (1981)
  25. Rick deflowering Karen: "Oh No" by Commodores, found on In The Pocket (1981)
  26. Heartbroken Gary at the Golden Bird: "Just Once" by Quincy Jones
  27. Gary comforting Karen in the school hall: "Open Arms" by Journey, found on Escape (1981)
  28. Gary and Karen at Gary's grandmother's: "Oh No" by The Commodores
  29. Gary gets money/Karen's procedure: "I Will Follow" by U2, found on Boy (1980)
  30. Gary picks up Karen from clinic: "Oh No" by The Commodores
  31. Gary tearfully confesses his love to Karen: "Open Arms" by Journey
  32. Karen's birthday party: "Zero Hour" by The Plimsouls, found on Zero Hour (1980) 
  33. Closing credits:  "Just Once" by Quincy Jones
  34. Closing credits: "Teen Angel Eyes" by Tommy Tutone


  1. Me gusta.

    Pretty sure I took a pass on the soundtrack album upon its initial release as well. Actually, up to just a few years ago, if you would have asked me what was on the film's soundtrack, I would have told you just three songs: "Open Arms", "Just Once" and "Oh No". They are indelibly etched in my mind and forever linked to scenes from the film.

    As far as the abortion storyline goes, Fast Times At Ridgemont High would kind of gloss over the same topic just a couple of weeks after the release of The Last American Virgin in the Summer of 1982.

    Worth seeking out is a multi-part video on YouTube of the film's cast reunion for a 30th Annniversary screening.

  2. I really need to see this film. The music certainly rocks. My review of the soundtrack is here - Martin's View: The Last American Virgin (soundtrack).

    1. Martin, you're like The Last American Virgin virgin.