‘Pretty in Pink’ live: watch concert videos from Psychedelic Furs, Bunnymen, New Order, The Smiths, OMD & more
John Hughes was such a big part of popular culture in the 1980s, tapping into teen culture like few had done before with films like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The soundtracks to his films were just as influential, filled with new wave and alternative groups, and were many people's first exposure to Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, New Order, The Smiths, and Echo & the Bunnymen. All four of those groups had songs in 1986's Pretty in Pink which is arguably the most musically minded of Hughes's films, as It was named after a Psychedelic Furs' song and Molly Ringwald's character, Andie, worked in a record store.
Pretty In Pink, the soundtrack, is pretty stellar, featuring OMD's "If You Leave," which was written specifically for the film and hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, plus The Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want," Echo & The Bunnymen's "Bring on the Dancing Horses," New Order's "Shell-Shock," Suzanne Vega's "Left of Center," plus tracks from INXS, former Time guitarist Jesse Johnson, and more.
While we wait for concerts and touring to return to normal, we've pulled together full concerts from most of the artists on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, all shows from the '80s, and featuring the song they had in the soundtrack whenever possible. Please enjoy the hair, the shoulderpads, the saxophones and drum machines, and MOlly Ringwald-style dancing, below.
OMD @ Rotterdam Ahoy 10/26/1985
While you can point to Belinda Carlisle and Molly Ringwald for making the "'80s Dance" a thing, some credit has to be given to OMD frontan Andy McCluskey who could rock that swaying move while also playing the bass. It's a big part of the synthpop icons' charm to this day. OMD always had a leg up on the competition by mixing all the keyboards with real drums and bass, not to mention an abundance of bangers like "Enola Gay," "Messages," Secret," "So In Love," "Locomotion" and more. All those are played at this Greenpeace benefit in Holland.
One song they didn't play at that Greenpeace show was "If You Leave" from Pretty in Pink, but here they are playing that from around the same era:
Suzanne Vega @ Royal Albert Hall, London 1986
Six months before releasing her breakthrough second album, Solitude Standing, Suzanne Vega played this show at London's Royal Albert Hall, previewing many of the songs from that record, including "Luka" and "Tom's Diner." But she'd already had a UK hit with with "Left of Center," her contribution to the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, a song which showcased Vega's way with a tilted melody and arrangements that mixed folk and new wave. (It also featured Joe Jackson on Piano and was remixed for the soundtrack by dance music maestro Arthur Baker.) That said, "Marlene on the Wall" -- from her 1985 debut -- might be the highlight here.
Jesse Johnson @ First Avenue, Minneapolis 1985
Jesse Johnson was guitarist for The Time who also wrote and recorded with another Prince-related act, Apollonia 6. A talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Jesse Johnson went solo in 1984, signing with A&M Records who also put out the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. The Minneapolis sound is strong on "Get to Know Ya," but he's got his own style, too. Here he is at Minneapolis' iconic First Avenue with his band Jesse Johnson's Revue showing what a jack-of-all-trades he really was.
INXS @ Exhibition Stadium, Toronto August 6, 1988
INXS were easily the most famous band on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack and were worldwide superstars when the film came out in 1986. Their song for it, "Do Wot You Do," was only ever played live in 1986 and only at 11 shows, according to setlist.fm. You can watch them perform that one on Australian TV show Trax, but we've also included INXS at their pinnacle in 1988, still riding high on the massive success of Kick.
Psychedelic Furs live on Spanish TV, 1984
Between Richard Butler's sky-high hair and the warbly VCR lines that run through this show, it doesn't get much more '80s than this. Setlist is killer, though, including "Pretty in Pink" (which had already been saxxed up here, long before the film's new version of the song), "Love My Way," "President Gas," "The Ghost in You," "Into You Like a Train," "Heaven" and more.
New Order @ Hacienda, Manchester 1987
New Order were at the height of their powers in the mid-'80s, mixing rock and synthpop like no other band could at the time. This show at their own Manchester club The Hacienda from 1987 -- the same year as their singles comp Substance -- has a pretty killer setlist, including two of the three songs used in Pretty in Pink -- "Shell-Shock" and "Thieves Like Us" -- plus plus "Ceremony," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "Age of Consent," "Temptation," great deep cuts "Way of Life" and "Face Up" and more.
Echo & The Bunnymen @ Royal Albert Hall July 18, 1983
Echo & The Bunnymen were at the absolute peak of their powers at this 1983 show filmed at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. They definitely brought their A-game, armed with a string section and a bucketful of great songs. "This is a new one," Ian McCulloch says introing "The Killing Moon" (played faster than you may have heard it before) which would end up on 1984's Ocean Rain, and preview "Silver" off that album as well. Other highlights: the moody, percussive "All My Colours (Zimbo)", a storming version of "The Cutter" and one of their classic extended renditions of "Do It Clean" where Ian works in lyrics of other songs (this ended up on their Sound of Echo/Never Stop EP). Bonus: lots of great '80s looks both onstage and in the crowd.
That 1983 show was a little early for the Bunnymen's Pretty in Pink contribution, "Bring on the Dancing Horses," but here they are miming it for Japanese TV:
The Smiths @ Brixton Academy, London in 12/12/1986
Who can forget poor Duckie in Pretty in Pink, heartbroken and blasting "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"? You know the original ending of the movie, he and Andie got together, but test audiences prefered Andrew McCarthy. As another band once sang, you can't always get what you want. Like being able to find a Smiths concert on YouTube where they play "Please Please Please." Instead please enjoy what would be the band's last ever headline show, which included their only performance of "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others," plus "Is it Really So Strange?," "Panic," "Still Ill," "Shoplifters of the World, Unite," and more.
The only band that actually plays live in Pretty in Pink are The Rave-Ups, whose singer Jimmer Podrasky dated Molly Ringwald's sister, Beth, at the time. (In Sixteen Candles, Molly Ringwald also has The Rave-Ups written on the notebook she carries around in school.) There isn't much archival footage of the band out there, but here's "Positively Lost Me," the song they perform in the film: