Hit pause on that illegal loop of "The Hanging Tree" and think for a second. The words that Jennifer Lawrence is singing in that stirring sequence in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" were written in Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name, sure, but it took a melody for the song to get stuck in your head. Collins isn't responsible for that, and neither is Lawrence. Remember the radio hit "Ho Hey"? Well, say "Ho Hey" to The Lumineers, the real-life band responsible for "The Hanging Tree."
"Hanging Tree" isn't the only earwormy movie song, either. As it turns out, those awesome songs that fictional musicians are banging out in movies often come from established real-life bands. Here are five examples.
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," "The Hanging Tree"
Yes, The Lumineers penned the melody and tweaked the lyrics to "The Hanging Tree," the song that traumatized Jennifer Lawrence to the point of tears. But, hey, it's good enough to hit the U.K.'s top 100 songs!
"Josie and the Pussycats" Soundtrack
Though Josie herself was voiced in songs by Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley (no, that's not Rachel Leigh Cook you're hearing), the songs the Pussycats play on the soundtrack were penned by people as varied as Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, Jane Weidlin of the Go-Gos and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. No word on whether any of those voiced the subliminal messaging track underneath the songs urging listeners to shop at Target.
"The LEGO Movie," "Everything Is Awesome"
Just try not to hum this one when you're walking out of the theater. We dare you. Obviously not written by a pile of plastic bricks, The Lonely Island is responsible for this little ditty. Yes, the "Dick In a Box" guys. No genitals included this time around. (Bonus: the soundtrack version of the song is performed by The Lonely Island and Tegan and Sara.)
"Almost Famous," "Fever Dog"
Can't get Stillwater's "Fever Dog" out of your head? We don't blame you. Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" has no shortage of classic tracks on its soundtrack, but the songs performed by fictional up-and-coming band Stillwater hold their own on a disc of standards. That's because Nancy Wilson, a key member of the band Heart alongside her sister, Ann Wilson, wrote the songs. "Barracuda," anyone?
"Beyond the Lights" Soundtrack
Fictional pop singer Noni wins a Billboard Award at the outset of the film, and it's no wonder: hitmaker The-Dream wrote the songs for "Beyond the Lights." He also coached lead actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw in her vocal performance, with an end goal of having songs that could chart "for real," as he explained to Vulture.