There are some songs that have become iconic for their use in movies and television. In fact, it ’ s not surprising that many movie-makers select sealed songs because of their ability to cursorily clue viewers into certain expectations or emotions within the cinematic experience. Songs like the Jaws and Mission : impossible themes provide an contiguous arithmetic mean within the minds of viewers about what ’ s happening on screen .
As we reflect on the history of film, it ’ mho comfortable to pinpoint early songs that are used on a consistent footing by movie and television studios. here are the 20 Most Overused Songs in Movies and TV.
20 Low Rider – War
The cushy nature of War ’ s “ low Rider “ has become the root song for the coolest, most certified badass characters in movie. It ’ second been used to represent the carefree life style of pot-smoking Latinos in Cheech and Chong ’ s Up in Smoke, vitamin a well as a way for the characters in Gone in 60 Seconds to get in the spirit of stealing cars .
“ low passenger ” seems to be most effective in a film when it ’ randomness accompanying a rebel-style character and a slick, iconic car ( though not always one that ’ mho riding low ). Based on those criteria, there ’ s no doubt War ’ s “ low rider ” will continue to find a comfortable, confident place within the film world .
“ low passenger ” has been featured in fifteen movies, including Colors, Blood In Blood Out, Robots, 21 Grams, Dazed and Confused, Beverly Hills Ninja, A Knight ’ randomness Tale, Friday, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, The Internship, and others .
19 Oh Yeah – Yello
When it ’ south fourth dimension to denote that something is sexy and has captured the lust of the independent character, cue up Yello ’ s “ Oh Yeah “. The deep-voiced, legato vocals and electronic music create a slow, caressing vibration that lets viewers know they want whatever ’ s shown on screen .
While the song was created in 1985, it didn ’ triiodothyronine gain a lot attention until it was featured in 1986 ’ s Ferris Bueller ’ s Day Off. Of its inclusion in the movie, writer and critic Jonathan Berstein claimed its use by John Hughes illustrated the “ mouthwatering must-haveness of Cameron ’ s dad ’ randomness Ferrari. Since then, it has become synonymous with lust. ”
Since Ferris Bueller ’ s Day Off, directors have used Yello ’ s lust-filled hymn in The Simpsons, Nip/Tuck, Chuck, It ’ s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park, not Another Teen Movie, She ’ s Out of Control, The Secret of My Success, American Dad !, and Alvin and the Chipmunks : The Squeakquel .
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18 Have a Little Faith in Me – John Hiatt
Humans are flawed creatures, but that doesn ’ triiodothyronine bastardly that, beneath their failings and struggles, they ’ rhenium regretful people. rather, a person ’ sulfur intents and desires are much good, despite how they sometimes act outwardly. At least that ’ s the message we get from John Hiatt ’ s “ Have a little Faith in Me “ .
ascribable to the slightly sappy nature of the song, “ Have a little Faith in Me ” is most much used in romantic comedies, and assures viewers that what ‘s happening on sieve is positive. That said, since it normally arises during the second act of a film, it ’ second followed closely by the main dispute of the diagram .
One of the best examples of John Hiatt ’ second warm, love-themed objet d’art in movies is 1993 ’ second Benny & Joon. It ’ s a touch moment when the two main characters, Benny and Joon, who both face mental challenges, are able to reach into each early ’ second hearts and find a amatory connection previously unavailable to either of them. It ’ s a sugared moment in film and one that props up the far-out film as a must-see for romanticist movie fans everywhere .
“ Have a small Faith in Me ” has besides been featured in Love Happens, Dawson ’ s Creek, Look Who ’ s Talking now, My Best Friend ’ s Girl, and Alias .
17 Angel – Sarah McLachlan
Movie characters die. It ’ s a known and bear character of cinema, but sometimes those character deaths rip at our center strings. When a particularly arrant or baronial quality dies, the here and now is often accompanied by Sarah McLachlan ’ s “ Angel “, a warm, friendly tune that ’ s indicative mood of all that is good. It has a way of telling viewers that yes, the person who died was good and credibly shouldn ’ thymine be gone, but that they are in a better set now .
The song has besides become known for its placement in the ads for SPCA International, the organization dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of animals, most notably dogs. McLachlan ’ s dateless “ Angel ” has become synonymous with scenes of sad, alone pets in need of comfort and a safe, glad base. The emotional reaction this birdcall can conjure up, aboard photos and videos of deplorable puppies, lone serves to show how effective it can be at driving home plate a feel of emotional loss and hanker .
“ Angel ” can be found in City of Angels, Felicity, Dawson ’ randomness Creek, The Pretender, and Tru Calling .
16 Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
When there ’ second trouble on the way, bring on Creedence Clearwater Revival ’ s “ Bad Moon Rising “. The song ’ south lyrics are a perfective fable for whatever is happening on filmdom. Whether it ’ s a protagonist or antagonist, when John Fogerty says he sees a badly moon a-rising, we know there ’ s trouble brew .
Thanks to the blithe nature of the song, it ’ mho much used to introduce viewers to a less-serious moment in a film, despite being “ troublesome ”. While worry is on the way, there ’ s no need yet to be excessively worried about what lies ahead, even if it does involve violence and werewolves. It ’ s the kind of song that gives viewers a moment to rest, a chance to snap their fingers and enjoy the tune as it nestles itself into their minds, where it ’ ll bide for the next few hours .
To add to the wellbeing nature of the song, one line in the chorus has much been misheard by listeners. rather of “ there ’ s a bad moon on the rise, ” people claim to hear “ there ’ s a toilet on the right. ” Fogerty has even been known to sing the misheard lyric in concert .
“ Bad Moon Rising ” has been featured in An american Werewolf in London, Sweet Home Alabama, My Girl, Man of the House, Supernatural, The Following, and The Walking Dead, among many others .
15 All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan
It ’ s the 1960s and person ’ south about to take some drugs. That ’ s the message that Jimi Hendrix ’ s cover of Bob Dylan ‘s “ All Along the Watchtower “ has come to be known for. One of the most recognizable uses of Hendrix ’ s hymn-for-the-hippy is Land of the Lost. The chords charge up good as the movie ’ randomness characters drink from hairy foreign fruits that send them on a angry drive by the pool. A alike drug-engaging fit comes from 1989 ’ second Look Who ’ randomness Talking, where the chief character, a baby, experiences a senior high school for the first prison term while in his mother ’ sulfur uterus .
Some directors have ventured outside the normal connotation of the song and alternatively use it as a marker of dry pleasantness, such as its habit in Watchmen. additionally, Battlestar Galactica used the riff as a tonal cue to denote major milestones in the lives of the prove ’ south characters .
In addition to those mentioned, “ All Along the Watchtower ” besides made appearances in The Simpsons, Private Parts, Forrest Gump, Flashback, 1969, and Withnail & I .
14 True – Spandau Ballet
very few songs say “ romantic comedy ” quite like Spandau Ballet ’ s “ true “. The soft “ ah-ha ” s that are a prelude to “ I know this much is truthful ” are easily recognizable for about any movie fan. This is specially true for those who remember the song ’ s cardinal role in The Wedding Singer, where Steve Buscemi offers a singular but not entirely terribly rendition of the piece .
“ true ” is besides a great era-setter as it can let viewers know that they ’ ve somehow found themselves in the ‘ 80s. This is most decidedly the shell with Hot Tub Time Machine, where the main characters revisit the ‘ 80s thanks to, well, a hot tub time machine .
There ’ s fiddling doubt “ True ” has cemented itself in the minds of movie-goers of all generations as a reminder that life is wide of fun, romantic moments that don ’ t need to be taken excessively badly. Because of that, the birdcall has made appearances in movies and television shows in each of the final three decades, from The Wedding Singer and Charlie ’ sulfur Angels to I Love You Beth Cooper and Modern Family. It ’ randomness besides been featured in the likes of The Simpsons, The Office, Grind, and Larry the Cable Guy : Health Inspector .
13 For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
Like others on this list, “ For What It ’ s Worth “ is most often used to get movie and television receiver viewers in that ‘ 60s human body of judgment. During the era it was released, the song became an hymn for anti-Vietnam War protestors, and is consequently admit about every time a movie or show that features the 1960s or wartime .
The decelerate, rhythmical chant of “ For What It ’ s Worth ” makes it the perfect background song for passing a blunt, which makes it an concern choice when used with a Vietnam War backdrop like in Forrest Gump .
“ For What It ’ second Worth ” is a potent choice when characters are faced with introspection or an opportunity to reflect on their current state, as in the subject of Tropic Thunder. Both Ben Stiller and Matthew McConaughey ’ second characters are faced with unmanageable decisions, and viewers are provided with the Buffalo Springfield song as a way to denote the inner struggles taking space .
“ For What It ’ mho Worth ” has been featured in Lord of War, UnReal, The West Wing, Forrest Gump, and Coming Home .
12 Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
It ’ south barely surprising that a birdcall titled “ Kung Fu Fighting “ would be the go-to song every clock time person starts kung-fu fight in a movie. Though we ’ ll note that it ’ mho much implemented in a comedic way, as those doing the kung-fu are much quite awful at the martial artwork. There ’ mho no better model of this than Beverly Hills Ninja, where the ironically agile Chris Farley takes down multiple badly guys in an effort to protect his stepbrother .
interestingly, the birdcall was primitively created as a B-side to ” I Want to Give You My Everything ”. Since it was fair a B-side song, the singer went extraordinary with the kung-fu sounds and finished the song recording within a few minutes. however, once producers had a prospect to hear the birdcall, they decided to make “ Kung Fu Fighting ” the A-side, and a achiever was born .
These days it seems the song is featured a small besides often and has hanker since lost its season. however, that hasn ’ t seemed to stop “ Kung Fu Fighting ” from finding its way into atrocious Bosses, Kung Fu Panda, Rush Hour 3, Daddy Day Care, Supercop, and more .
11 Final Countdown – Europe
a soon as the open electronics kick in of Europe ’ s “ Final Countdown ”, we know that something amazing is happening, or will happen curtly, on screen. It ’ s a compelling, cheerful sung that aids in the agitation of a scene .
In the television receiver display Arrested Development, character Gob Bluth lives as a struggling sorcerer who can ’ thyroxine quite find his home in the world. His use of “ Final Countdown ” to kick off his much failed “ illusions ” is a highlight of the usher. And thanks to the popularity of Arrested Development, specially with its return via Netflix, the song has garnered extra attention among younger viewers who were young or not so far born at the prison term it was released .
Since it was first base used in Arrested Development, it seems “ Final Countdown ” is making a revival in cinema and will continue to gain traction as directors and production teams recognize its utility as a catchy film tune .
“ final examination countdown ” is featured in Chuck, Glee, Scrubs, Pitch Perfect, and more .
10 Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen ’ s “ Hallelujah “ has found its way into dozens of movies and shows since its initiation in 1984. The iconic birdcall is most frequently used during a pickpocket in a character ’ s position or climate. The sad narrative of David reflects the challenges and struggles facing those we watch on blind.
Despite its obvious religious lyrics, “ Hallelujah ” is rarely included as a religious or even religious song. It ’ s a bittersweet song that, in the words of Time Magazine, is “ a silent admission that neither the writers nor the actors could convey their characters ‘ emotions american samoa well as ” the song can .
With that in mind, it ’ s not surprise to see the song used in numerous drama television shows that trust thus heavily on delivering brawny emotional experiences to viewers. The song can be heard in The West Wing, ER, Crossing Jordan, Criminal Minds, House, Ugly Betty, Without a Trace, Third Watch, NCIS, Lord of War, Feast of Love, and most memorably, Shrek .
9 Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
There ’ south constantly a here and now in romantic movies where one of the characters, normally the ridicule, does something to drive away the woman he loves. Of path he wishes he hadn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate done or said that awful thing, and now the sexual love of his life is gone constantly. time to play “ Ain ’ t No Sunshine “ by Bill Withers. The song ’ sulfur blue wrinkle “ Ain ’ t no cheerfulness when she ’ s gone ”, alongside the throaty hum of a freshwater bass guitar, perfectly capture the frequently sad, regretful nature of the character .
We feel for the guy, we truly do. We know that inside he loves her and wants her bet on. We know that he wishes he could take bet on any he did to wrong her. And “ Ain ’ t No Sunshine ” has a way of helping the audience feel his pain and understand his desire to make things correct .
The Bill Withers tune has been featured in Flight, Perception, CSI : NY, Munich, Monk, Old School, and Notting Hill .
8 Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
“ Sweet Home Alabama “ is unambiguously the theme song for the South. Despite referencing Alabama, it is held beloved by about everyone below the Mason-Dixon line. It ’ s a gay tune that begs listeners to grab their cowboy boots, throw back a cold one, and get out on the dance shock .
While the song quickly brings to mind the movie of the like list, it ’ mho hard not to think about its place in Con Air, thanks to Steve Buscemi ’ s memorable line : “ Define Irony. bunch together of idiots dancing on a airplane to a song made celebrated by a ring that died in a plane crash. ”
Despite the sad history of Lynyrd Skynyrd, “ Sweet Home Alabama ” lives on as the pride of the South, and a admonisher that sometimes we fair need to forget our troubles and dance .
“ Sweet Home Alabama ” is featured in Despicable Me, Forrest Gump, Mask, Sahara, The Girl Next Door, The Simpsons, and of course, the romantic drollery Sweet Home Alabama .
7 Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves
“ Walking on Sunshine “ is one of the ‘ 80s ‘ most well-known, feel-good songs for movies. The words, the pace, the cheerful chords – they all work together to deliver a fun-spirited melody. It ’ s the perfect tune for Jack Black ’ south fictional character in high Fidelity as he does his best to excite his less-than-jovial friend. With Black ’ s brand goofiness and Katrina & The Waves singing in the background, we can ’ thyroxine help but smile and enjoy the consequence .
alternatively, the song is played about ironically in american Psycho as Patrick Bateman strolls through the office hallway on his way to his office. His outward mood is one of near-boring monotony, but the song provides a look into the person of a man who, just hours before, took great joy hacking his coworker aside with an ax .
“ Walking on Sunshine ” has been featured in numerous movies, including Daddy Day Care, Herbie : amply Loaded, The Secret of My Success, Bean, Look Who ’ s Talking, and more .
6 Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
tied if no one else was a fan of “ Gim me Shelter “, Martin Scorsese is. The fabled director has included the Rolling Stones ’ sung in numerous films. From casino to The Departed, viewers can look forward to the tune ’ s inclusion body whenever something fishy is going down or a character is about to have a major life-altering experience .
But Scorsese isn ’ t the only one who likes the tune for its cinematic mean. “ Gim me Shelter ” has been used in over a twelve movies and shows to warn viewers that things are about to get more intense, much from either fierce legal action or heated emotions. Regardless of the consequence, though, whenever viewers hear ” Gim me Shelter ” play, it ’ south time to pay care and get ready for something excite .
The Rolling Stones ’ “ Gim me Shelter ” can be heard in Dexter, Adventures in Babysitting, Knight Rider, The Fan, Layer Cake, CSI : NY, Covert Affairs, Flight, and Hawaii Five-O .
5 White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
Another fine case of a song that pairs well with drug scenes is “ White Rabbit “ by Jefferson Airplane. The composure melodious assemble provides a relaxing feel as movie characters enter the placid high provided by their drug of choice .
One of the most quickly recognizable instances of “ White Rabbit ” is in Platoon, where Charlie Sheen ’ s character indulges in a narcotic have in a camp with his buddies .
The combination of “ White Rabbit ” and drugs comes as no storm considering the themes of the song ’ second lyrics. With discussion of pills, hookah, and mushrooms, it doesn ’ t take a genius to understand why it ’ mho become synonymous with drug activities in movies .
“ White rabbit ” has been included in dozens of movies, including The Game, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Holiday, Purple Haze, Futurama, Supernatural, America ’ sulfur Sweethearts, Coming Home, Circuit, Love and Music, Where the Truth Lies, Singularity is Near, Go Ask Alice, The Sopranos, and The Simpsons .
4 What a Wonderful World – Louie Armstrong
The world can be a beautiful, adorable place. That ’ s the message we get from Louie Armstrong ’ s “ What a fantastic World “. It ’ s an easy-going tune that represents good and points to the kindness that can be found in the wide area of our worldly concern. It ’ s a birdcall that invites us to reflect on opportunities to do right by others, to see each early as friends, and to shed the veto feelings we much harbor for people around us .
While Armstrong ’ randomness version is the most use, some productions besides call in the “ What a fantastic World/Over the Rainbow “ mashup from Israel Kamakawiwo ’ ole, who delivers the song with an expertly played uke. Unlike Armstrong, though, Kamakawiwo ’ ole ’ south version is reserved for the more eccentric characters in film – often those featured in silly family comedies that try to pair cockamamie characters with the good in the world around them .
“ What a fantastic World ” can be heard in The Mentalist, Fred Claus, Meet Joe Black, 12 Monkeys, Good Morning Vietnam, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Madagascar, and ER .
3 Stayin’ Alive – The BeeGees
Thanks to Saturday Night Fever, The BeeGees ’ “ Stayin ’ Alive ” is immediately one of the most recognize and overact songs in film. When the script calls for a quality to strut down the sidewalk, that means the speakers will start pumping out “ Stayin ’ Alive ”. In fact, it wouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be surprising if, when writers today put write to newspaper and conscription out a character who will be grooving down the street, they play this song in their head .
Considering that Saturday Night Fever was released in 1977, it ’ s truly merely the older generations that remember where the sidewalk-strutting “ Stayin ’ Alive ” tendency began. For those who were born after John Travolta ’ s iconic fit first hit the boastful screen, there are batch of early instances of people and creatures striding along to the BeeGees, including The Simpsons, A Goofy Movie, and Madagascar .
“ Stayin ’ Alive ” has besides been featured in Sherlock, Glee, Baby Geniuses, Virtuosity, Honey I Blew Up the Kid, Airplane, Chicken Little, and Naked Gun 33 1/3 : The Final Insult .
2 Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood and the Destroyers
As the deed of this song suggests, whoever it ’ randomness played for is one serious badass. This is the one guy or gal you don ’ t want to mess with, and they are on a mission to do some serious damage. At least that ’ s what you get with Arnold Schwarzenegger ’ s leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding character in Terminator 2 : judgment Day. Of course, it ’ s besides used comically, like in the character of Joe Dirt as he ’ second about to do the dirty .
due to its cheerful and slightly blithe tune, “ Bad to the Bone “ has been used in numerous children ’ second films to let viewers know the character they ’ re watch is decidedly one of the “ cool kids ”. And since the birdcall is G-rated in its terminology and message, it works big for both parents and children .
“ Bad to the Bone ” has been featured in Hawaii Five-O, Megamind, Cats & Dogs : The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Major Payne, The Muppets, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Problem Child, and Firehouse Dog .
1 Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
No count what anyone else says, “ Born to be angry “ is the sung for road trips, and it ’ second easy to see why. The tune is fun, attention-getting, and starts off with “ Get your motive runnin ’, head out on the highway, lookin ’ for gamble, and whatever comes our way. ” Naturally, it ’ s the best match anytime person in a movie or show takes to the open road .
The song was originally used in 1969 ’ sulfur Easy Rider and absolutely captures the feel of liberation that accompanies life on two wheels in the ‘ 60s. Since then, though, output folks have used it as a cheap way to show a character ’ randomness freedom .
Unsurprisingly, “ Born to be Wild ” has been used in over 100 films and television series, and shows no signs of slowing down. It seems so much easier to stick this iconic song in than judge to find something else that so absolutely depicts the sense of freedom it captures so easily .
Among the many titles to feature “ Born to Be barbarian ” are Las Vegas, Six Feet Under, Dudley Do-Right, One Crazy Summer, The Wonder Years, Problem Child, Wild America, and Borat .
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