I was going to finally do my Lollapalooza Tuesday Top Ten this week, but it is slowly becoming my Chinese Democracy. You can expect to read it anytime between now and 2028. Instead, something else I saw fueled my fire. Yesterday, I came across an article on TVGuide.com entitled "10 Songs That Can't Be Used on TV Again." The premise of the article is summed up in its first sentence: "Certain songs are so closely associated with a specific show and moment in television that it feels like blasphemy when another series dare use it for its own soundtrack." As a lover of TV, music, and the combination of the two, I thought this was a really interesting premise. There are definitely some songs that are forever linked with a TV show, to the point where when you hear the song, you immediately think of the TV show.
Here are the songs/TV shows the author chose, with comments as needed by me.
1. "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass; Lost
2. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak; Friends. I remember the scene -- and the juice box -- but honestly didn't remember that "Wicked Game" was playing.
3. "Hide and Seak" by Imogen Heap; The OC. God damn, I miss it. Every day. Although I believe there are songs more closely associated with The OC than this one.
4. "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol; Grey's Anatomy
5. "Zou Bisou Bisou" by Gillian Hills; Mad Men. Agreed on this one, although I don't think there was much risk of any other show every playing that song anyway.
6. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by IZ; ER
7. "Breathe Me" by Sia; Six Feet Under
8. "The Final Countdown" by Europe; Arrested Development. Awesome.
9. "My Immortal" by Evanescence; So You Think You Can Dance. Probably not.
10. "I Hear The Bells" by Mike Doughty; Veronica Mars. I think more people would have to have watched Veronica Mars and know who Mike Doughty is for this to be true.
11. "Crystal Blue Persuasion" by Tommy James & The Shondells; Breaking Bad
I thought that list was okay. It was a little bit skewed towards recent shows. Just about every one of the TV shows was in the last ten years. I have created a list of my own, going back a little further. I also included theme songs that were separate songs (i.e., songs that were not just theme songs and not written specifically for a TV show). Here's what came to mind for me, along with the videos of the songs in the shows (alphabetically by TV show):
1. "She Bangs" by Ricky Martin/William Hung; American Idol
The video says it all.
2. "My Life" by Billy Joel; Bosom Buddies
Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari, a premise based entirely on two guys wearing drag to live in a female-only apartment building, and a Billy Joel song. How did this not last longer than three seasons?
3. "The Night Time is The Right Time" by Ray Charles; The Cosby Show
It's pretty tough to think of a more iconic Cosby Show moment than Rudy belting out "bay-baaaaayyyy!" for Grandma and Grandpa Huxtable's 49th Anniversary.
4. "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who; CSI: Miami
Cheesy murder-based intro line ("looks like someone lost his head"), whip the sunglasses off, and Roger Daltrey's screech. It's a recipe for success. The video below features 7 minutes of Horatio Caine one-liners right before the song kicks in. Enjoy.
5. "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & The Beaters; Family Ties
When I was a kid, I loved Family Ties, and I can't think of a song I associate with a TV show more than I associate "At This Moment" with Family Ties. It was played during several episodes as Alex and Ellen's song. Of course, in real life, Micheal J. Fox and Tracy Pollan eventually got married (and are still married), but in the show, things didn't work out. The song was originally released in 1981 and hit #79 on the Billboard charts then. Thanks to being featured in Family Ties, the song was re-released in 1986 and went to #1 in early 1987. The video shows various Alex/Ellen scenes.
6. "California" by Phantom Planet; The OC
It would be virtually impossible for any other TV show ever to play this song, unless specifically referencing The OC.
7. "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley/Imogen Heap; The OC
I can't hear this song (any version of it, although it was the Imogen Heap version in the show) without thinking of Marissa Cooper dying. Damn you, Josh Schwartz. It was also featured in the last episode of the first season of the show (the Jeff Buckley version).
8. "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters; Saved By The Bell
I'm so scared.
9. "9 to 5 (Morning Train)" by Sheena Easton; Seinfeld
Kramer goes to work at Brant Leland, well kind of, and this song plays during the montage of him doing everyday work-type things, like riding the subway. George pretends he's handicapped, and this song plays during the montage of him, well, pretending he's handicapped. I also miss Seinfeld.
10. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey; The Sopranos
This was a tough choice, but I added it because the song isn't really associated with any other TV show. And I assume an entire family was murdered while it was playing, but I guess I'll never know for sure.
11. "With a Little Help From My Friends" by Joe Cocker; The Wonder Years
When you hear this song, how can you not think of Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper?
I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones. Let me know.