music post: ferris bueller’s day off


 If you’re between the ages of 35 and 45, chances are that John Hughes (who sadly passed away last week) played a major role in your growth as an adolescent.  Films like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club addressed the attitudes and angst of a decade and, I daresay, no other film maker before or since has so empathically connected with his audience.  Culturally and intellectually, these movies captured the 80s like snapshots in a yearbook; if you were in high school or college at the time, Hughes’ body of work is as much a part of your memories as was learning to drive or your first kiss.   But the two hours that defined my existence was Ferris Bueller’s Day off…

FBDO didn’t toss you around in your seat like a rollercoaster or try to coax tears out of you with oversentimentality; no, this movie had a more basic purpose: it made you happy to be alive.  Chances are your face hurt after grinning for 120 minutes and while the film didn’t inspire political change or world peace, it made an entire generation want to throw caution to the four winds and shake as much joie de vivre  from the tree of life as possible.

A worthy accomplishement, if you ask me.




HUGHES was clearly warning his audience of adults-to-be not to let the high school and college days of reckless abandon completely give way to the coming years of crushing responsibility.  Sure, we all have jobs to keep and bills to pay, but finding a way to let a little irresponsibility seep in through the cracks is essential to a long and happy life.  Everyone who walked out of that theater wanted to be Ferris Bueller and I’d wager that if you were to plot a graph of the film’s box office and incidents of sick days, the charts would look the same.

On paper, there’s nothing special about FBDO.  As a film, the plot is thin, the structure flimsy and it has characters about as complex as wheat germ.  But it all comes together with a purity of spirit and unbridaled joy that wins over any audience willing to smile.  If it were possible to bottle and sell it, the sheer fun radiated by this movie could save the world, but until technology catches up, FBDO will have to settle for being John Hughes biggest hit and Matthew Broderick’s eternal alter ego.




IN THE WAKE of his death, a surprising number of media outlets have been unfair to Hughes, generally insinuating that he passed his prime long ago and as a result of his semi-retirement from the biz has failed to live up to his own promise as a film maker.  My good friend (and key member of the LA Movie Club) Dave Hargrove found the perfect antidote to all the Hollywood bullshit – a  blog post  from a woman who was pen pals with Hughes for many years.  Through his letters, Alison Fields gleaned some insight into what made him turn his back Tinseltown:  

John told me about why he left Hollywood just a few years earlier. He was terrified of the impact it was having on his sons; he was scared it was going to cause them to lose perspective on what was important and what happiness meant. And he told me a sad story about how, a big reason behind his decision to give it all up was that “they” (Hollywood) had “killed” his friend, John Candy, by greedily working him too hard.

After reading this and the rest of the online tributes to Hughes, I think Dave sumed it up best:  Here was someone who was one of the most successful writer/producer/directors in Hollywood;  someone who had become a victim of his own success, and whose creative spark (as well his soul) was on the verge of being snuffed out.  So, rather than become bitter, he decided to focus on something that was more important to him:  raising his sons.  Even though he died far too soon, I’d like to think that John Hughes found more satisfaction in the years since he left Hollywood than in the years before.

I think the ultimate yardstick by which Hughes himself would judge happiness in life are the words of wisdom he channel through Ferris: Life moves pretty fast – if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.   In his 59 years, not only did John Hughes not miss a beat in the look-around of life, I’d say he showed a lot of people the way. 



There was never a soundtrack album released for FBDO.  The reasons why are open to much speculation, but the fact remained – one of the coolest movies of all time, with quite a bit of memorable music, didn’t have an album! 

So I decided to make my own.

I literally spent years hunting down all the tracks from the film (and remember, this is pre-internet, so the only way you found stuff back then was to diligently search record stores).  In fact I have to thank John Hughes himself for making my album possible…

ferrisbuellerOne fine late-80s day, while I was rollerblading through the streets of Manhattan, I saw a movie being shot outside FAO Shwartz.  Being a wide-eyed film student at the time, I decided to stop and check it out.  Someone told me it was a John Hughes movie and they began setting up the camera a few feet away from where I was standing.  Well, where the camera goes so goes the director, and I was not going to miss out on a chance to meet one of my idols!

A few minutes later, sure enough, the man with the golden, wavy could be seen heading in my direction.  As luck would have it, I just happened to be wearing a FBDO T-shirt and as soon as Mr. Hughes spotted it, he veered off course and walked right up to me.  We talked for a few minutes about his movies and, just as I had begun to skate away to let him get on with more pressing matters, I quickly did a u-turn and slid between him and the very expensive Panavision camera.  “Mr. Hughes!  I need your help!”

I explained that I was trying to make my own soundtrack for FBDO and was having trouble finding a few tracks.  Not only was he able to tell me the correct names and artists, he knew exactly where to find them (and thank god, because would you have looked for a song by The Smiths on the B-side of a Dream Academy import 12″ single??).    Even more amazingly, Hughes was kind enough to give me his office number and said “if you have any trouble finding those tracks, give me a call and I’ll make sure you get them.”

Now that’s class.  Fortunately, I never had to make the call since, armed with my new info, I skated down to the hard-to-find record shops in the Village and found the missing pieces of my puzzle that very day.

There were only two songs recorded specifically for the movie, both of which were unreleased and essentially impossible to find.  But, thanks again to Mr. Hughes, they showed up at my door one day in the form of a 45 RPM single, issued for free to members of the John Hughes fan club.




Ten years later, when the DVD was released, I went back in and remastered my soundtrack digitally (the original was on cassette tape), this time adding dialog from the movie and generally giving the whole thing a layer of spit and polish.   If you look around online, you’ll find that there are lots of people who have put together their own FBDO soundtracks, but I say with all humility, mine’s the best (with the amount of work I put into it… it has to be).

I’ve only ever given it out to friends in “the real world” and I’m generally iffy on file-sharing, but in honor of John Hughes (and since I can easily imagine Ferris being the guy who invented file sharing) I’m now going to share it with everyone (complete with printable artwork for the CD case):







Rather than post individual tracks, I’m providing the audio as one, long cue because that’s how it’s meant to be listened t0 (I’ve seamlessly mixed it all together – listen and you’ll get it).  If you want to split it up for random access, feel free to load the file into the audio program of your choice and add track marks.  I’ve done the hard work for you and made the soundtrack!

Finally, here is something else from my archive, a scan from an original 8×10 production still of everyone’s favorite moment in the film (which I have conveniently sized to wallpaper dimensions).  It should look especially good if you own a Mac and are into the whole elegant, black & white thing (right-click to save, it’s a big file):




I only ask one thing in return – if you’re going to download and enjoy this soundtrack, do yourself a favor – pay proper respect to John Hughes and listen to it in the car en route to doing something really, really fun.

On a weekday.


41 Responses to “music post: ferris bueller’s day off”

  1. 1 darthmojo
    August 14, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Check out this awesome recreation of the parade scene in last year’s NYC Halloween Parade:

  2. 2 Lucas, Ottawa ON, Canada
    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 am

    This is incredible work! Thank you so much for putting all this together and making it accessible to die-hard fans like myself. As a 40 year-old, I was right in the prime “Hughes demographic” in the 80s. FBDO was the feel-good movie that had a positive effect on my outlook. The Breakfast Club moved me because I was so impressed at the accuracy and detail that was put into the characters. John did this consistently. Almost everyone could identify with someone in these movies and see many similarities with people they knew. I’ve also often seen myself as a “Duckie” (Pretty in Pink) and quote him frequently.

    I really hope that someone does a proper John Hughes biographical movie, including scenes of your meeting with him in New York and the correspondence with Alison Byrne Fields. This man had so much wisdom to share with us (despite his flaws) and did so with great movies and honorable decisions.

  3. 3 Chris
    August 14, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Thank you! I’m listening to it right now, and it’s brilliant. I really appreciate you going to all this effort and making it available online. This is a real joy. My iPod and I thank you :-)

  4. August 14, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I can’t seem to access the tray image. Did you get Cameron’s “Let my Cameron Go” bit?

  5. 5 William Che
    August 14, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for making this available!

  6. August 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I can not thank you for putting this together enough. I’m 38, so you know exactly how this movie impacted me in high school.

    As an aside, your timing couldn’t be better. It just so happens that next Wednesday I am leaving for my first vacation in 13 years, and thanks to you, I now know what the first thing being played from my iPod will be as I pull out of town.

  7. August 14, 2009 at 9:12 am

    You ARE aware you can order from the Sausage King of Chicago, don’t you? Nicole Kidman does.


  8. 8 Colonial Warrior
    August 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks Mojo for putting in the time and effort for FBDO Soundtrack. I can’t think of a better way to give tribute to John Hughes than this. I did a marathon of his movies the day I heard of his passing. My father died awhile back and a friend of my family that came had this to say,
    “What a loss of such a beautiful mind..” I believe this to be true as well of John Hughes for his volume of work and ideas. I’ve always enjoyed FBDO as well as TBC you can always find someone that you can relate to in his movies or at least someone that you know. They are definately works that the enjoyability factor does not fade with the replayability. Not all movies can say that.
    My favorite quote from FBDO is from Ferris..
    The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?

    That about sums it up alright..

    Here’s another cool pic for Desktop wallpaper..

    Have fun watch the movies and remember John Hughes shows us the way…

  9. August 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Dude, you rock. You rule. You are all the positive R words in the dictionary. You da man, man – you da man.

    Thank you.

    Next time I play hooky, I’m gonna put this on L-O-U-D :D

  10. 10 Michael Llaneza
    August 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

    This is a very nice gift to the community, thank you, I really appreciate it.

    “Hey guys ! Guess what I got !!!!! Checkitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitoutcheckitout !!!!!!”

    Dude, you even got the dialog in. That’s just smooth man.

  11. 11 Buckaroohawk
    August 15, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    This really is a wonderful gift, Mojo. And a fitting tribute to a very talented writer/director. Thank you.

  12. August 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I’m 48, and FBDO represents for me a Chicago which no longer exists. I still want to thank you Mojo for at least allowing me to experience that time….

  13. August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm


    Fancy meeting you here. I, too, am a big Hughes and Ferris fan!


  14. August 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Finally got to listen to this today. Nicely done – all the dialog drops really sell it. Only a fan could stitch this together so well.

  15. August 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Always thought this came out as professionally as anything you ever did, and what an appropriate time to share it! Leisure rules…

  16. 16 Michael
    August 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Is the URL no longer valid? I cannot seem to access it – my computer just seems to hang on it. (The cover art is incredible, though, so I’m anxious to hear the music.)

    Your story is absolutely amazing and I’ll share it with whomever I can.

  17. 17 darthmojo
    August 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Mike: the link works fine, I just clicked on it fro
    my iPhone and it started to play.

  18. 18 dave g
    August 20, 2009 at 5:59 am

    how do you download this? I have always wanted this and Uncle Buck!

  19. 19 Simon
    August 20, 2009 at 7:02 am

    “A woman dies and you insult me? What the hell’s the matter with you?”

    Cameron’s “George Peterson” cracks me up every time. One of the best comedies of all time.

    I noticed on your back cover you have “Rooney” spelled “Roonie” on the “Rooney on the Prowl” track by Ira Newborn.

    With respect to Mr. Hughes (RIP), while work related stress may have been a huge factor, in the end John Candy’s weight killed John Candy. From watching SCTV religiously (first run) I was delighted in seeing John on the silver screen but I noticed he got bigger and bigger with the passing years. While I was saddened to see him go, I wasn’t shocked. I am shocked that Mr. Hughes went so soon though. “Ferris”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, “Planes Trains and Automobiles”, “Sixteen Candles”, “Uncle Buck” (and others) will always have a special place in my home theater library. My sincere thanks to the talent who provided this entertainment.

  20. 20 holly
    August 20, 2009 at 10:35 am

    This is brillant! Thank you!Thank you!

  21. 21 pete
    August 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Hi there,
    first of all thanks for putting this up.
    How do i save this and put it onto my itunes or iphone?
    Help would be appreciated,ta

  22. August 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I can confirm that Mojo did a terrific job on this soundtrack. I also find it a little touching how somebody mentions that FBDO shows a “Chicago which no longer exists” something that is that case with a lot of New York movies for me–and, I suspect Mojo as well. It’s just another element that keeps the movie so special after all these years. As for me, I may be the only person to have written a whole piece on CAREER OPPORTUNITES upon hearing of Hughes’ death. What can I say.

    Mojo and anyone in the L.A. area might also want to know that the New Beverly is running a John Hughes tribute double bill of FERRIS and PT&A on September 4th and 5th.

  23. August 21, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Thanks so much for the soundtrack. I’m listening to it now and it’s a great piece of work.

    I’m 38, so all of my formative years were in the 1980s. I can’t imagine my generation without John Hughes.

  24. August 21, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Sorry for the double comment here, but I’m having trouble with the file. Turns out only 55mb of the 80mb (or so) downloaded, so the file just stops around 44 minutes in. I downloaded it a second time and only 52mb came through. I’m not complaining. Just letting you know there’s a problem and wondering if you have any idea how to get around it. I’d really love to hear your entire soundtrack. Thanks.

  25. 25 WB11
    August 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    The FB ost is completing at 44.2mb; only half of the soundtrack. I have done this twice.

    Could you check the file size in the link you posted. Thank you for sharing/compiling this, the first half sounds great.

  26. 26 ZacharyTF
    August 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Darth Mojo,

    Thanks a bunch for the MP3. I’ve always wanted to create my own soundtrack to FBDO, but now I don’t have to thanks to your hard work.

    I can’t wait to burn the MP3 to a CD and listen to the music and dialogue. Also, thanks for the CD front and back cover and insert.

    All you have to do for iTunes is to click on Add File or Add Folder to Library. I’m not sure about iPhones.

  27. 27 Max
    August 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for making this available, I was looking for years to locate the music(long before the net). Beat city had me stumped, but without looking I would have never heard such good music from Yello, or Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

  28. 28 Chris
    August 29, 2009 at 8:02 am


    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you have said.
    I actually teared up reading your blog. His movies DEFINED my life in the 80’s.

    When I and my younger brother first saw The Breakfast Club he dressed just like “Bender”
    for months.
    The soundtracks alone have become a staple on any mix tape / IPod playlist I have ever created.
    My cassette copy of Some Kind of Wonderful is still working!

    Thank you again!!!!!!!!

  29. 29 Allen L
    August 31, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Awesome! I think it’s OK to share this file since everyone here would buy the super-double-platinum edition soundtrack CD in a second – if they ever issued one.

    I remember looking through countless record stores for “Love Missile F-111″ on 12” single, and and I played my trusty “Oh Yeah” 12″ plenty of times.

    Thanks for this important public service.

    “Personal” FBDO connection: Mr. Rooney’s office was actually the assistant principal’s office at my high school in LA, with a fresh coat of paint. And my best friend swears she is visible though the window in the movie. Oh, I only wish I could have met the pre-surgery Jennifer Grey back then, when she was still cute!

    Allen L from San Jose CA

  30. 30 JP Smith
    November 3, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I just stumbled on this in a random google search for something entirely unrelated. And I could not have been more excited. My friends and I always wondered why this was never produced, and wished we could find some of the songs that we loved in snippits in the movie.

    In the end, though, I’m glad it wasn’t produced back then, because the technique and style you used was not in vogue back in the 80’s and it is much better than just the straight songs.

    I’ve divided it up into tracks, burnt it to disc and am going to the printers tomorrow to get the artwork done properly. The graphic design work you’ve done is what makes your work on this project just far above and beyond.

    A couple of my friends are gonna freak when I give it to them!

    Thanks Mojo! You’re the man!

    JP from Colorado

  31. 31 Matr
    November 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you so much for this, I love you and, I love John Hughes!

    Rest in peace, John.

    I may only be 15, but he has made such an impact on my life. I wish I hadn’t missed that great period of the 60’s-80’s. :(

    Ah well, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. :)

    Thanks so much for making this :D

    Matt, Devon, UK

  32. 32 Paul
    April 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! I have been searching for a while and am so glad I stumbled onto your site. I love all of J. Hughs movies. RIP good buddy. Thanks again.

  33. 33 Andrew F Moncrieff
    June 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Hi, great post! Thanks so much! Could you tell me if you ever found out what movie they were shooting? You say late eighties and that threw me off, but I still can’t think of any Hughes movies that could include FAO Shwartz in NYC but Home Alone 2 (which as producer as well as director he would have been on set for right?). I’d appreciate an email if you reply.

    Anyway, great post! Thanks again!


  34. 34 Mr.G
    January 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Great stuff. John was a great inspiration. I enjoyed your story about meeting him. Very cool.

  35. 35 Anastasia
    April 21, 2011 at 6:48 am


  36. 36 Davi
    May 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I met John’s work on September 6, 2009 – which happened to be my Birthday. I was going to rent some movies to watch on my day (I’m a big fan of movies, specially old ones) and rented Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I’ve already watched Home Alone as a kid, but as a kid, I didn’t give a damn about people behind the cameras), which I was waiting for the opportunity to watch a few months. I never tought it would change my life completely, and, if Principals in Brazil gave a damn for their students faults as Looney do, I would’ve done the same thing as Bueller.

    Some months later I would find myself into his work after watch “The Breakfast Club” (I’ve already watched Weird Science). On my 16 birthday, I watched “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink”… And of course I would end up being his fan.

    Unfortunately some weird things in my Hughes history are things to be mad about. Exacts one month after his death I got the opportunity to meet his art, to be in love with movies even more and to think ‘how can someone make a MOVIE so like you before you even be born?’

    I can’t describe how I love John Hughes. If I had the opportunity to pick up a father, it would be you. Unfortunately, you are dead. But in this simple comment, I would like to thank you for a movie called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that inspire my happiness every single day. Thank you for making a Breakfast Club that I could share my family problems. Thank You for giving me Sixteen Candles on my 16th Birthday when a big part of my family didn’t remembered my birthday, too. Thank You for Home Alone, who inspired me to go ahead and fight, no matter if I was too young or smaller than all my enemies. Thank you for a whole filmography that will get me trough my entire life. Rest in Peace. Here’s to John Hughes, the man who knew me better than my own parents!

    I have done some new cover designs for a Ferris Bueller Soundtrack and I am doing mine right now, and I happened to find yours… Can we talk so I could give a hand on something? I bet you will LOVE my artwork, DarkMojo. It is really important to me :)

  37. 37 francisfdz
    March 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm


    Thank you!

  38. 38 ht0h
    March 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I found a website where a guy is selling your exact cd!! that is just low. you put all this work into something so incredible and thoughtful for us fans, and someone is making a pretty hefty profit off of you. there are other cds like yours but i think yours is probably the best. there is also a cd of Planes, Trains and Automobiles done like your FBDO. If you like, and you tell me how, when it arrives I will post it here. Please let me know.

  39. February 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Just found this and planning to share on my blog. Thanks for your hard work!!

  40. February 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Still trying to live the life – loving Ferris Bueller more each year as time flies by… Save Ferris!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. March 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    You are amazing. I can’t thank you enough for this, and it’s so cool that the man himself even played a part in making the rare tracks possible. xoxoxoxo

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August 2009

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