When you think of the movie Jaws, what music pops into your head? For most of us, it’s the iconic John Williams theme, but for Steven Spielberg, it’s something unexpected. In fact, the song Spielberg associates with his blockbuster shark flick wasn’t even in the movie itself.
The revelation came during a conversation with Drew Barrymore and Jamie Lee Curtis at a panel during New York Comic Con 2022. The spotlight panel focused on Curtis’ history with the Halloween franchise, with the actress sharing some of her favorite behind-the-scenes memories.
Curtis recalled a special memory she had with the crew during the production of the first Halloween film. “Steely Dan’s 'Hey Nineteen' was a hit then, and the crew kind of dedicated it to me, which I just thought was unbelievable because the crew were 25 dudes under 30. And I was 19, and guys were like saying, ‘Hey, here’s your song Jamie.’ That’s my memory, somehow 'Hey Nineteen' by Steely Dan was about me, even though it wasn’t,” Curtis shared.
This anecdote caused Barrymore to share a story her longtime friend Steven Spielberg had once told her. “That’s the kind of morsels and memories that we’re looking for, because now I’m not going to listen to 'Hey Nineteen' anytime soon and not be thinking of that memory with you. Steven Spielberg told me when he was making Jaws, Waterloo by ABBA was on repeat on the radio, and he was stuck on the water shooting. A song can be a powerful memory and association with an iconic movie.”
Who would have thought that ABBA and Jaws have a connection? Barrymore is right, the soundtracks of our lives can be powerful memories. Is it possible that ABBA’s upbeat track motivated Spielberg to make the best shark movie possible? Does he think about Jaws every time he sees a Mamma Mia poster? Only Spielberg knows for sure, but it’s amusing to consider.