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Best TV Moments Involving Music

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Music can make almost anything better, including TV shows. One example of this is the use of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" in both The Sopranos finale and Glee. In the former, it was part of what is one of the most controversial TV finales of all time while in the latter it has become like the unofficial theme song of sorts for the show, whether it was in the first episode, Rachel's Funny Girl audition or as a tribute to the Glee Club's faculty advisor, Will Schuester. Most of all, now that both shows have lost their leading men, I can never hear that song without getting a little misty-eyed, if not crying altogether.

  Whatever your favorite TV-related moments with music are, talk about them here.

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In an otherwise meh episode, The X-Files episode where Fox 'meets' Samantha used Moby's "My Weakness" really well. Especially for a show that didn't do that too often.

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Relevant: an Extra Hot Great mini from a few months ago.

Since I just rewatched this a month ago, the thing that stands out most in my mind is Mike Doughty's "I Hear the Bells" in a climactic moment of Veronica Mars season 2. That song really made that scene; when they referred to it in the movie (in a much less successful scene), I got shivers just remembering it.

At the end of Friday Night Lights season 1, when I realized they were playing a version of "Devil Town" I scoffed a little bit. Then I actually watched the scene and realized what a great capstone it was for a perfect season of TV.

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While there are many songs which, for me, made TV episodes better or have greater emotional impact, the one which comes instantly to mind is "Full of Grace" by Sarah McLachlan, as played during the season two finale of Buffy " Becoming pt II."

That whole episode is heartbreaking and that song... I tear up even just thinking about it.

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One I was just thinking about recently is the end of the Haven episode "Audrey Parker's Day Off." It's a Groundhog Day episode, and one of the few non-comedic examples of the trope I can think of off the top of my head. Audrey is physically and mentally exhausted and wounded after fighting her way out of the time loop, and as an aside to it she's realized that she has to encourage her boyfriend to take a temporary job out of the country, and that maybe she can't have a relationship with him (or with anyone) at all. The music playing under this scene? A lonely, haunting cover of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."

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Two of my all time favorite tv moments wouldn't be the same without the accompanying music:

(1) The episode of The Wonder Years where Winnie starts hanging out with the older kids and gets into a car accident and Kevin climbs up to her window while "We've Got Tonight" plays.

(2) Jordan asks Angela if she wants to go somewhere and takes her hand while "Late at Night" by Buffalo Tom plays. Honorable MSCL mention ones to Rickie and Delia dancing to "What Is Love" at the World Happiness Dance (before it was used on SNL!).

Sheena, I still tear up thinking about that episode and I cry whenever that song comes up on my playlist.

Dougal, for me the two big musical moments on Veronica Mars were "Momentary Thing" by Something Happens (when Logan kisses Veronica after punching that Home Improvement kid) and "Lily Dreams On" by Cotton Mather (after Veronics figures out who killed Lily and dreams about her).

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One if my favorite series finales, Six Feet Under used Sia's "Breathe Me", a song which I hadn't heard before then but which has been on my iPod ever since. And it fit perfectly. I still tear up thinking about it.

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Continuing with Buffy recs, I'll submit Heather Nova's Only Love during the episode "Touched". Everyone is tense the night before the apocalypse to end all apocalypses and seek comfort from their loved ones as this plays.

And I'm a huge fan of Buffy the Musical, and loved it when they interspersed "new" OMWF songs into a later episode, "Selfless". The juxtaposition between happier times, with Anya remembering singing, "I'll be Mrs. Xander Harris" and then the song and flashback ending abruptly as we see Anya now, skewered to the wall with a sword (courtesy of Buffy) was brutal.

Finally, the song Blue, by Angie Hart at the beginning of "Conversations With Dead People".

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Jordan asks Angela if she wants to go somewhere and takes her hand while "Late at Night" by Buffalo Tom plays.

To this day, whenever I hear that song, I immediately break out into a face-splitting grin remembering that scene. 

I also cannot hear "Be My Baby" without seeing Moonlighting's Maddie and David rolling around on the floor.

Some songs, no matter how much I liked them before, become permanently linked with a scene in my mind.

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There is one moment that will forever be tops in my mind.  When Due South used the piano version of Sarah MacLachlan's Possession to underscore Fraser seeing Victoria again, it may have been the most beautiful and haunting uses of music ever.

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I'm doing a massvie Chuck rewatch and I just got to that one a couple days ago. I've never been a fan of that song (I love Rush but almost never love their singles), but it fits the show and the episode perfectly. That show was just great at picking music in general.

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During the Miami Vice pilot as Sonny and Rico rode in the Ferrari to confront Calderon to the strains of Phil Collins singing In The Air Tonight was THE game changing moment. There was TV before that scene with the studio pro musicians playing generic groove number 5 and there was TV afterwards with the music industry holding the TV and movie industries hostage as if people would buy a DVD just to get a clean copy of their single.

 

Honorable mention. Joan Of Arcadia Jump episode. It was the halfway point of the season and the perfect place to end the series if it had an early cancellation when Time by Chantal Kreviazuk came on as a God inspired Rube Goldberg device cause the perfect setting for Joan and Adam's first kiss. just hearing the intro brings a big smile to my face.

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Queer as Folk's Brian and Justin dancing to "Save the Last Dance."  All the more heartbreaking for what comes after.

At the end of Friday Night Lights season 1, when I realized they were playing a version of "Devil Town" I scoffed a little bit. Then I actually watched the scene and realized what a great capstone it was for a perfect season of TV.

Fun fact:  That version of "Devil Town" was by Tony Lucca, who was the 3rd-place finisher on Season 2 of The Voice!

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One that moved me greatly was the very end of The West Wing's season 1 Christmas episode (In Excelsis Deo), where the choir sings Little Drummer Boy while the scene cuts back to the memorial for the homeless veteran.  It gets me every single time, and after so many years, I get a lump in my throat whenever I hear the song.  Beautiful stuff.

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Queens performance at Live Aid. Freddie Mercury had a cold/strep throat, and was touch and go as to whether he'd make the gig, but the band annihilated it 

The montage at the end of the series finale of Friday Night Lights set to Delta Spirits 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.' It showed that  there was more to life than football, well except for Buddy. ;p Tinker makes the SuperTeam!!!!

The Scrubs season 8 finale with The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel 

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The last person you'd expect singing  Alicia Keys No One on the Italian version of The Voice: 

Any Italian speakers out there that can translate what they say after she stops singing?

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During the Miami Vice pilot as Sonny and Rico rode in the Ferrari to confront Calderon to the strains of Phil Collins singing In The Air Tonight was THE game changing moment. There was TV before that scene with the studio pro musicians playing generic groove number 5 and there was TV afterwards with the music industry holding the TV and movie industries hostage as if people would buy a DVD just to get a clean copy of their single.

 

Raja - I still remember that pilot, and thinking I'd died & gone to heaven listening to Phil fucking Collins doing the theme music.  It took me right back to the good old days when we'd listen to the latest album (on reel-to-reel, of course) on our expensive headphones.  For some reason I always associate that song with an endless summer night's drive to nowhere.

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Since X-Files was brought up, it was corny as hell, but Cher's "Walking in Memphis" at the end of Post-Modern Prometheus. Bonus points for the Jerry Springer interruption in the middle.

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Some shows really just get the way music can enhance the story being told.

Chuck, for example, used music to great effect throughout its run. Lots of 80s stuff, and 90s as well. Take Chuck vs. The Cougars as an example. Sarah's high school reunion, and so they use music from the mid-to-late-90s to evoke that feeling of nostalgia for stuff you honestly might not have liked back then. I mean, "Mmmbop" and "I Don't Want To Wait" are songs that perfectly capture that period, and probably capture the emotional state that many people were in at 17 and 18.

And when they did use contemporary music, it was stuff like Band of Horses and The National. They also used Britney Spears' Toxic in a way that was absolutely brilliant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph8Jbrl31qs

And then there were the Jeffster! covers, some of which were pretty damned good. Loved "Fortunate Son", "Take On Me" and "Push It".

 

Another show that used music really well is Covert Affairs. It's pretty rubbish now, but it used to be good, and it did introduce me to a lot of good music. The Gaslight Anthem's "We Did It When We Were Young" and The Lumineers' "Stubborn Love" were used really well. But the best use has to be when they used Gimme Shelter in 2x10.

It was used to score a scene where Annie has to escort a Chinese defector out of an official function, under the eyes of the Chinese authorities. There's no action, just two people walking through a crowded hotel function suite, but little shocks like someone dropping a plate and the music itself, just ratchet the tension up, more and more. It's really well done, and I remember thinking, 'they finally get it. They don't need to offer a badly done fight scene every episode, they don't need some big dramatic chase scene. This is how to do drama and tension without breaking the bank.' Sadly, they didn't get it, and it was soon back to the ropey action that the show usually resorted to.

Scrubs did great stuff with music as well. Lots of really well chosen songs. Like "Tell Her Not to Go" by Del Amitri when Elliot ended her and JD's sexbuddies relationship, just as JD was about to ask her for a real relationship, or "New Slang" by The Shins over one of JD's summing up montages. But they really did a great job with "Waiting For My Real Life to Begin" in My Philosophy. Cheesy? Sure. But the show did cheesy well, and always managed to be sincere at the right times:

Edited by Danny Franks
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I was going to post this one myself, but you put it beautifully.  Don Johnson zipping smoothly through Miami at night to the backdrop of Phil Collins is THE moment I think of when 'music on TV' comes up. Game. Changed. Forever.

I remember in the second season until the end every Friday in the USA Today TV section, I was in an Army town then,  they would list the music being used in the episode synopsis. It was later when the WB network launched that in the closing credits their shows would add a promo for the soundtrack album featuring the songs their show used in that episode.

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I loved the Scrubs episode where the Erasure song "A Little Respect" keeps popping up throughout the episode. It'she song Turk's mentor Dr Wen chooses at the start for the surgery, Carla is humming it prior to the classic "Attitude" riff, and it's playing at the end when JD is racing to beat the 48-hour deadline to bring up the almost-kiss with Elliot.

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While there are many songs which, for me, made TV episodes better or have greater emotional impact, the one which comes instantly to mind is "Full of Grace" by Sarah McLachlan, as played during the season two finale of Buffy " Becoming pt II."

That whole episode is heartbreaking and that song... I tear up even just thinking about it.

This. Becoming Part II is the ultimate example for me. To this day, every time I hear the opening strains of Full of Grace I see Buffy's face all over again and I well up. Every. Time.

Another one I've always loved was when Scrubs used the Fray's How to Save A Life during the episode where Dr. Cox and co. are trying to save the transplant patients. Powerful episode with a perfect song for the soundtrack.

On the other end of the spectrum The Simpsons has had some great original songs. Even now I still sing the monorail song (complete with "Mono-D'oh!") but my favorite is the Duff Beer for Me, Duff Beer for You song. (Which mocks "It's a Small World."). It's perfectly catchy and annoying.

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The first time I ever strongly associated a song with a TV show, and the one that still gives me goosebumps when I think about it, was when they played "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters on Family Ties. I was 9 or 10 when that aired, but I still remember it!

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As much as the last season of The Office was fairly painful, one of the highlights to me was Andy singing "I Will Remember You"

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The two that stand out most to me are from ER.  "Battleflag" by Low Fidelity All Stars when Carter and Lucy were stabbed, and "Slow Motion" by David Gray when Abby had an emergency C-section and Jerry was in surgery after Sam's ex shot up the ER.

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The West Wing used "Hallelujah" in the season three finale when CJ's secret service bodyguard played by Mark Harmon was killed. It might make my eyes a bit misty whenever I watch that episode or scene.

 

I liked The Fosters using "Same Love" by Macklemore during their wedding celebration.

 

Also, when Parks and Recreation used "Get on Your Feet" for the season four episode "Comeback Kid" that kept stopping and restarting while Leslie and Co. tried to walk across an ice rink always makes me laugh so hard.

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Nip/Tuck could be a truly ridiculous show, but I loved all of Ryan Murphy's musical choices. Especially while they were operating on someone.

 

My first episode of Nip/Tuck I ever watched, they did a face transplant while "Eyes Without a Face" played in the background.  It was so hauntingly beautiful that I was hooked right then and there.

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Almost anything from Cold Case. That show was really, really good with matching songs to scenes and/or parts of the show.

 

A couple of examples:

 

 

This one creeps me out BIG time.

 

 

 

This one had a good lead in.

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Supernatural had some great musical choices in the early seasons, but I'm particularly fond of it's use of Renegade in their S2 episode Nightshifter.

 

I'm not usually to fond of musical montages, but I thought Stargate Universe used them particularly well, especially using it to show the passage of time:

Flogging Molly "The Worst Day Since Yesterday" at the beginning and end of the epiode:

Brand New "You Won't Know" with Chloe's nightmare.

Alexi Murdoch "All My Days" showing time passing on the ship and planet.

Alex Murdock "Breathe" after they got life support working and could...well, breath.

Mumford & Sons "After The Storm" where they all were after surviving the attack

Eels "Agony" getting back to "normal"

Julian Plenti "Only If You Run" more time passing

 

Sorry for links instead of embedding...I haven't figured out how to embed the video yet...off to research this embedding video stuff.

ETA: I figured out the video imbedding thingy...Hee!

Edited by DittyDotDot
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Apparently not many people watched "Outsourced", since it was only on for a short time. But it was must watch TV for me and several of my coworkers, because the boss on the show was just like our boss (also from India). 

 

Anyway, I loved this scene, where Madhuri shows her singing ability:

 

 

And the "Bollywood" dream:

 

Edited by MaryMitch
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Almost anything from Cold Case. That show was really, really good with matching songs to scenes and/or parts of the show.

 

  Three more examples: "Natural Blues" by Moby from "Wunderkind," the episode featuring The Wire's Michael B. Jordan and Maestro Clark, about a young genius with gang ties who wanted to better himself, but fate wouldn't let him:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbYL7y3gyf4

 

The next is "The Theme From The Goodbye Girl" by David Gates from the episode "Daniela," about a runaway teenage girl who falls in love with a boy who eventually learned her secret, but still loved her anyway and always would. If this song/video don't make you at least a little misty-eyed, then check your pulse:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZYeKZUYxT8

 

  Last but not least is "My Back Pages" by The Byrds from "Forever Blue," aka "Brokeback Cops," about two male cops in the late 1960s-one married with a pregnant wife-who fell in love, with tragic consequences:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRntSffcHXc

Edited by DollEyes
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Supernatural had some great musical choices in the early seasons, but I'm particularly fond of it's use of Renegade in their S2 episode Nightshifter.

http://www.youtube.c...?v=ATrldRAp5JY

 

 

Oh, yeah.  Supernatural does an outstanding job with the music choices all the time, but you nailed my favorite one there.  And I'll give honorable mentions to their use of Don't Fear the Reaper,  Bad Moon Rising, and O Death.  Also Road to Nowhere.   And Goodbye Stranger.  Okay, I'll stop before I list something out of every episode.

 

And speaking of Bad Moon Rising, Teen Wolf  also had a very memorable moment with a cover of that song.

 

I'll also mention Kyle XY's first-season finale, using Mat Kearney's Where We Gonna Go From Here.  Several years after that show's gone off the air, I still picture that scene when I hear that song.

 

And then there's Smallville's use of the Johnny Cash cover of Hurt, which gave me chills the first time I ever saw it. 

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Well, @ElleryAnne, how about Supernatural's second use of Back In Black with Baby's triumphant return?


 
I too could go on and on with Supernatural and music. ::and yes, I'm still researching that embedding video thingy::

 

ETA: Hey look at me figuring out the video thing...now if I can just figure how to do the mentions thingy. Ahh, I'm feeling so proud of myself...two lessons in one day learned.

Edited by DittyDotDot

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:)  @DittyDotDot, Back in Black is always awesome, but in that clip especially.  Rarely have I cheered out loud to see that an inanimate object was all better, but that was one of those times. 

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Ugh, this thread is going to be the death of me...I just know it. I can already see the hours wasting away while I'm searching out things on YouTube. Sigh. But what can I do, it is what it is, right?

 

Anyway, how did I forget about this one from the end of the first episode of Dead Like Me where George reaps her first soul. Brilliant!

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Yeah, every time I hear that particular version of Que Sera Sera, it brings me right back there. I have such a intimate relationship with music that way.

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Echoing the use of Toxic on Chuck, How to Save a Life on Scrubs (Grey's Anatomy used it too but Scrubs did it first) and definitely Have You Ever Seen the Rain on Cold Case. Every time I hear that song, I think of it.

I tried to find a YouTube video for this next one but alas, copyright issues must prevent its presence because I couldn't find it. Warehouse 13's use of White Rabbit in the episode "Duped." If you watch the episode on Netflix, they've replaced it with a generic background score, which I think totally makes the scene less effective. It's on the DVDs, though.

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I wish I could find the clip of this, because it's a funny moment involving music that I'm probably going to ruin by trying to explain it.

 

So it's late 1997/early 1998, and because of what came out in movie theaters, it's practically impossible to turn on a radio anywhere in the US and not hear Celine Dion.  You remember...that damn song.  At this time, Dennis Miller has a live talk show on HBO, during which he basically does the same thing he did back on Weekend Update on SNL, riff on still pictures of the news.  The first picture in the segment shows someone, probably from the UN, with the gigantic earpiece in their ear for translations.  When the picture comes up, Dennis starts singing that song.  Huge reaction from the audience.  A few pictures and jokes later, a similar image comes up.  He sings the song again.  Smaller reaction, but still pretty good.  More jokes and pictures, then a third image like the first comes up.  Dennis sings again.  This time to a very weak reaction.  Dennis chuckles it off because he knows...  a few more jokes later and a fourth picture comes up.  Dennis goes "...Um..." and the crowd starts laughing again.  Then as I recall, he sings "Takin' Care of Business", gets a good reaction from the crowd, then continues on with the segment.

 

Because obviously, the original joke there was supposed to be the first song again.  But because of the reaction to the last time, he can't go to that well again.  It's been tapped out.  So him faltering gets the crowd back on his side.  He basically acknowledged the joke was over without saying so directly, and moved on.

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I wonder who the music director for Cold Case was and what they are doing now. I don't really watch procedurals, but I would occasionally tune in to the end of the show just to see the musical montage that week. The promos were quite good too I think.

 

Grey's Anatomy use of "In the Sun" in the bomb episode was memorable or maybe it was Kyle Chandler's guest spot. hehe

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I wonder who the music director for Cold Case was and what they are doing now.

 

The show had a few different music supervisors over the course of its run, one of whom went on to do the film Easy A, which I think makes terrific use of music.  They all have a pretty impressive list of credits, so it's no wonder the music was consistently good on Cold Case.

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I'm thinking of the Soprano's episode where Christopher got shot by Matt Bevilaqua in Season 2.  The episode is Full Leather Jacket.  Anyway, when Christopher's in the hospital and Adriana comes to visit him, they played My Lover's Prayer by Otis Redding.  It was absolutely perfect  Her and I were both sobbing uncontrollably at that point.

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Another Supernatural one! They've done some great things with music, including their use of White Rabbit here in an episode from season 2. It takes a while to pay off but when it does, it's amazing.

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This thread reminded me of Aaron Neville singing Louisiana 1927 during the big concert for Katrina relief.

 

 

I remember crying like a baby and getting the checkbook out.

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I'm doing a massvie Chuck rewatch and I just got to that one a couple days ago. I've never been a fan of that song (I love Rush but almost never love their singles), but it fits the show and the episode perfectly. That show was just great at picking music in general.

 

The music on Chuck was always awesome. My favorite bit is "Sugar Assault Me Now" by Pop Levi during the pineapple scene. Just something about the use of that song with the pandemonium going on is hilarious to me.

 

One of my favorites from Supernatural is "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche. I couldn't give a crap about the werewolf chick Sam had to put down, but the juxtaposition of hearing a beautiful lullaby while he does it was great.

Another great use of song was "Heat of the Moment" by Asia during Sam's groundhog day in Mystery Spot.

 

And then there's Smallville's use of the Johnny Cash cover of Hurt, which gave me chills the first time I ever saw it. 

 

That was a haunting moment with perfect music.

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