All I could think was that the producers were running a bit late. It was about five years ago that I concluded that the FCC had passed a new rule requiring every TV show to feature "Hallelujah." It was getting bizarre there for a while. They even put it one of the Shrek movies. A great song yes, but children's music? Not hardly.
Anyway, that got me thinking about songs in TV and movies. I am not talking about musicals, but songs that pop up in non-musical shows, either because one character starts singing, or because it simply appears in the soundtrack. Happens all the time, of course, but sometimes the combination is so synergistic that it changes how I feel about the song. So here are a few of my favorites.
An episode of The West Wing called "Two Cathedrals" ends with the staff rushing off to a press conference where they will discover whether their boss intends to launch what they think will be a doomed run for re-election. The music is Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" which both captures and sets the tone of a determined team going to a crisis.
I used to have friends who played Irish music in an Irish bar. Audience members would often ask for "Danny Boy," which they loathed. They always pointed out that it was written by an Englishman (okay, the tune was Irish traditional). But now when I hear this song I always think of this scene from one of my favorite movies, Miller's Crossing. Amazing use of the soundtrack, no? (By the way, if you haven't seen the movie, and think you might some day. please skip this clip. I don't want to spoil one of the best scenes.)
In this episode of Scrubs the hero, J.D., makes friends with a woman who is waiting for a heart transplant. She tells him that her dream was to be a Broadway star, but she couldn't sing. The song was written by Colin Hays, and like all the songs in this column, it was NOT written for the show.
And now we get back to my favorite Jewish Canadian Buddhist. The first three songs on Leonard Cohen's first album were "The Stranger Song," "Winter Lady," and "Sisters of Mercy." Those are also the songs that appear in McCabe and Mrs. Miller. It's almost as if Robert Altman grabbed the first album he saw and slapped the first few tracks into his movie, except that they work perfectly as themes for the title characters and the prostitutes, respectively. A friend of mine was astonished to hear that there were three songs in the moviie. Not a fan of Cohen's voice, he thought they had all been the same one.
So, what shows changed the way YOU look at a song?