Top 12 Best Uses Of Music In A TV Episode

If I could have any job it would be the music producer on a TV show.  You know, the guy who gets to choose what music is played over what scenes in an episode.  Coolest job, ever.
Since that’s never going to happen, I decided to make this list.  I chose them based on how much I love the music and moment itself combined with general effectiveness.  I avoided using any examples of ‘Hallelujah’ or ‘Mad World’ since nothing screams “this is an epic moment of TV” than those two songs.  Also ignored any Christmas songs.  I tried not to over-think it for once and limited myself to the ones that immediately popped into my head.  I could have probably done a Top 100 (half of them from Grey’s Anatomy and Chuck alone!).


11. Foreigner – Hot Blooded
(Bones: 1×15 – Two Bodies In The Lab)

That’s why, I’m hot blooded, check it and see
I got a fever of a hundred and three …


This actually has something in common with #1 in that there’s music playing, you think everything’s okay and then bam, huge explosion.
I love this scene.  It’s a great song by one of my favourite bands and Booth and Bones are being completely dorky and playing air guitar pretty much like what my friend and I used to do on a Friday night at uni whilst cooking dinner.

10a). Finley Quaye – Dice
(The OC: 1×14 – The Countdown)

I was crying over you
I am smiling I think of you
Misty morning and water falls
Breathe in the air if you care, you compare, don’t say farewell
Nothing can compare
To when you roll the dice and swear your love’s for me …


The two things I remember about the show is a) awesome music and b) this completely and utterly cheesy scene.  Now since I haven’t even thought about it in years but it jumped in my head when I was thinking about music, that’s how memorable it was!

10b). Finley Quaye – Dice
(Chuck: 1×06 – Chuck Versus The Sandworm)


Because Josh Schwartz is awesome, he parodied the scene in Chuck with Chuck playing Ryan’s part and Morgan playing Marissa’s.  Absolutely hilarious.  See, that’s the power of a song – it will forever be associated with OTT slow motion running scenes.

9. Ray LaMontagne – Let It Be Me
(Criminal Minds: 6×02 – JJ)

And when all your faith is gone
Feels like you can’t go on
Let it be me
Let it be me
If it’s a friend that you need
Let it be me
Let it be me …


I’m not a big Ray LaMontagne fan but this was the perfect song for this scene.  I love the way it plays over the flashbacks of JJ and the team being cute and awesome together and when she does her voiceover.

8. John Hiatt –  Have A Little Faith
(Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip: 1×19 – K& R Part 1)

When the road gets dark
And you can no longer see
Just let my love throw a spark
And have a little faith in me
And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try
And have a little faith in me …

I can’t find a video of this anywhere!  Noooo!

Gah, this episode!  This song!  It starts playing when Danny proposes to Jordan all the way through to when she gets taken into surgery and through all the flashback sequences with Matt and Harriet arguing how there is/isn’t a God.  (I 100% agree with Matt’s arguments on the matter by the way but I admire Harriet’s faith).  It’s such a beautiful song and a beautiful montage.  Then at the very end Matt gets the phone call from Danny telling him that Jordan’s in surgery and he just looks at the ceiling and says “show me something”.  It’s what I call a perfect moment of Television.

7. 30 Rock Cast – Midnight Train To Georgia
(30 Rock: 2×10)


Whenever I’m having a bad day, I watch this clip and it never fails to cheer me up.  Tina Fey, I am still waiting for that musical episode by the way!

6. The Five Stairsteps – Ooh Child
(Brothers & Sisters: 1×23 – Matriarchy)

Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter …


Brothers & Sisters has played some awesome music over the years.  Another one that really sticks out is Rickie Lee Jones’ ‘The Horses’ at the end of “36 Hours” (the Justin Intervention episode).
I chose this one though because it’s such a lighthearted moment and the perfect scene to end a perfect season.  I love this song and have several different versions of it <3.

5. Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop
(Friday Night Lights: 4×04 – A Sort Of Homecoming)

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Feathers on my breath
Teardrop on the fire of a confession
Feathers on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Feathers on my breath
Teardrop on the fire …


I have yet to be able to watch this sequence without crying.  I mean I can think of a dozen sadder scenes in TV, it’s just the way they filmed it and the song they chose and the moment where Matt’s Mum opens the door and sees the soldiers standing there?  That’s what gets me every time.  And the fact that it’s left to Julie to break the news!  And then the episode which comes after ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ <3.

4. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
(Grey’s Anatomy: 2.27 – Losing My Religion)

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?


I know most people would call this THE quintessential Grey’s Anatomy moment with THE song that everyone associates with GA and it does deserve its place on the list even though it’s probably not my personal favourite.  The one thing Grey’s knows how to do well is make a song famous.  If the rumours are true then the cast is covering ‘Chasing Cars’ in the musical episode.  Someone hold me now.

3. Moby –  One Of These Mornings
(Without A Trace: 1×05 – Suspect)

One of these mornings
Won’t be very long
You will look for me
And I’ll be gone …


Do you want to know how powerful this music/scene is?  It has been YEARS since I watched this episode and I still can’t listen to Moby without thinking of paedophiles.  THIS SHOW RUINED AN ENTIRE ARTIST FOR ME WITH THIS EPISODE.  Not to mention the fact that the actor who plays Graham Spalding has guest-starred in just about every other one of my shows and all I can think of is PAEDOPHILE.  I still can’t get that scene out of my head where Jack talks to him about young boys and Spalding just closes his eyes and licks his lips in ecstasy.  Got to hand it to all involved though, this episode certainly had the intended effect i.e. it has scarred me for life.

2. Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
(The West Wing: 2×22 – Two Cathedrals)

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms …


This is undoubtedly one of the best British rock songs of all time.  It used to give me chills before I even watched The West Wing but ever since I saw this episode? Wow.  How can you not get goosebumps from watching this scene.  It’s just …. amazing.  This will always be my favourite episode of the series.
And because I am full of useless music trivia, the album that this song appears on (also called ‘Brothers In Arms’) is the 4th best selling album in the UK, ever.  Not even The Rolling Stones made the Top 10.

1. Anna Nalick – Breathe (2am)
(Grey’s Anatomy: 2×17 – … As We Know It)

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe …


Still my favourite episode of the show ever.  I will never forget the shock I felt when suddenly the music stopped and the wonderful, dazzling Kyle Chandler blew up in a million pieces (which, btw, led me to start watching Friday Night Lights).  Loved the way we had Meredith and the bomb, Bailey giving birth, Derek trying to save Bailey’s husband and the way it all came together during this sequence …… it’s such a fantastic episode.  ‘Breathe (2am)’ is such a beautiful song as well.  Grey’s always plays awesome music but we also had Chris Martin’s ‘In The Sun’ in this episode too if I recall.

And then there’s ……


1. Toto – Africa
(2×14 – Chuck Versus The Best Friend)

Ellie: Hunnie, you’re not seriously considering this lame band for our wedding day?
Awesome: No but let a man have his dream, even if it’s for five minutes.


I remember the first time I saw this episode, I couldn’t stop laughing!  It was such an ingenious idea.  Absolutely love the song.  And then I began to appreciate the entire scene, especially for the sweet Chuck/Sarah moment.  Notice how Lester’s voice has really improved from this first song.

2. Styx – Mr Roboto
(2×22 – Chuck Versus The Ring)

Awesome’s Father: Son, why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?


I absolutely LOVE the look of sheer horror and disgust on Ellie’s face whenever she hears a Jeffster song.  It’s classic!
WORST wedding song ever!  My favourite bits are when Casey and the Marines come in to save Chuck/Sarah/Bryce and then at the very end after all of that Jeff sets the fire alarm off with his indoor fireworks.  The whole scene is just so epic!

3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son
(3×09 – Chuck Versus The Beard)


Probably my least favourite performance out of all of them.  Love the Buy More employees with their toy guns though!

4. John Denver – Leaving On A Jet Plane
(3×14 – Chuck Versus The Honeymooners)


Chuck and Sarah run off together, Jeffster play an acoustic set and Awesome and Ellie get very drunk to cope with it all.

5. Nazareth – Love Hurts
(3×17 – Chuck Versus The Living Dead)


Haha!  They get given money to stop playing.  It’s scary but Lester can actually sing quite well.

6. Bon Jovi – Blaze Of Glory
(3×19 – Chuck Versus The Ring: Part II)


I love how they decided to turn what should have been this ultimate epic, serious battle into a moment infused with humour thanks to the Jeffster video playing in the background.

7. Whitesnake – Is This Love?
(4×11 – Chuck Versus The Balcony)

Jinsana: Lester, that was the most uncomfortable five minutes of my life.


There might be something wrong with me but I actually, honestly, really like their version.  Haha!  How NOT to impress a girl.

8. Salt-n-Pepa – Push It
(4×13 – Chuck Versus The Push Mix)

Lester: Cover Song By Cover Song We Are Shaping The Youth Of America.


Haha!  I think it’s fair to say that Jeffster reached a whole new level of inappropriateness with this song.  Poor Ellie.  ❤


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