11 thoughts on “What’s the Best Use of an Established Song in a TV Show?

  1. A Town Called Malice by the Jam, used in an opening sequence on The Walking Dead episode in Season 8. the opening sequence focuses on Dwight.

  2. I don’t think this is what you were thinking of, but “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as used in Cheers.
    Also, Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage” as the theme song for “Married with Children” was pretty darn good and clever.

  3. it’s such a broad topic (but a good one) I’m having trouble deciding the best. but the use of “Shambala” by Three Dog Night when they get the Dharma bus working was a great moment from “Lost.”

  4. If diagetic music counts, I might have to go with “Don’t Stop Believing” on the finale of The Sopranos. Love of hate that infamouy cryptic final sequence, we’re still talking about it years later. They could have gone with a moody or intense song, like their opening theme, but went with a pop-rock anthem with cheesy charm. Why this one? Were the lyrics a special message to the audience? We’re still debating, and I love that.

    If characters performing established songs count, then I might pick a sketch on The Tracy Ullman Show. The title star played a New Yorker in a public place–I think it was a bus stop–with a visibly grumpy crowd. She announced to the rest that she was tired of New Yorkers being unfriendly misanthropes and started singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Eventually, the crowd joined in with spreading enthusiasm, uniting these gothamites with joy, at least for the length of one musical number.

  5. Doctor Who always throws up the odd gem, the latest being “Rasputin” by Boney M been played whilst the Master danced like a maniac in front of the Doctor, Cybermen and Daleks.

  6. The one that really impressed me was in Heroes season 3 episode 18 Exposed where they featured 2 flashback clips of Sylar is a child – both featured the Chain by Fleetwood Mac
    The first was a quiet scene in a diner accompanied by the early part of the song
    The second had Sylar leaving the diner and hurrying to the car with the later (mostly instrumental) part of the song ramping up the tension ready for the shock reveal

    Runner-up – one other approach for the music is to have a violent or dark scene contrasted by completely inappropriate music – an early example was the final episode of the Prisoner where the big shoot out with people dying is accompanied by the Beatles – All you need is Love

    Special mention – Supernatural “the Road so Far” montages for the end of each season accompanied by “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas

  7. It may be an obvious answer, but “Baby Blue” in the last episode of “Breaking Bad” was an absolutely perfect punctuation mark at the end of that series.

  8. The use of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” in each season ending episode of Justified was inspired. It perfectly sets up whichever dramatic showdown the season is ending with, perfectly epitomizes the overall theme of the series, and perfectly describes the culture and background of Raylan and Boyd.

  9. You have to do one of these for worst song in a TV series. I’d vote for All Along the Watchtower in Battlestar Galactica. So jarring for the futuristic series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *