Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?
Bonus points to any of you whipper snappers out there who get that reference. This edition of listmaking concerns not the best rock and/or roll tracks to have graced Supernatural, a different proposition altogether, but those used most deftly, their sound and fury complimenting and/or embellishing the on-screen action and drama. I'm sure those of you who've deployed your magnifying glasses will notice a heavy tilt towards the first couple of seasons.

Don't blame me, blame whomever (Kripke, The CW, Monty Burns) for not putting up more power chords the last few campaigns. One last caveat: there were a lot to choose from (did I mention that there were a lot to choose from?) and it's very likely that I left off your favorite. Believe me, I cut and pasted and rearranged (at least twice) about fifteen in order to whittle those down to the last half dozen (a third time) and if you ask me in twenty minutes, I'd probably switch half of them back again, but that's what comments are for, to throw verbal tomatoes at yours truly.
 
I want my MTV! Wait. No, I don't. They suck. I want my rock and roll!
Honorable mentions, aka interchangeable pieces parts, where's the beef, Clara Peller: The Doors (The Crystal Ship), Robert Johnson (Crossroad Blues), Lesley Gore (It's My Party; alright, not rock and roll per se, but pretty damn creepy), The Captain and Tennille (Do That To Me One More Time; soccer moms of the world, unite!), Bad Company (Bad Company), Foreigner (Long, Long Way From Home) and, perhaps the toughest one to leave off because I fucking love this song, Joe Walsh's Turn to Stone.
 
16. Filter, Hey Man, Nice Shot (Skin). The slow-build architecture of this song shines a black light on an already neo-noir situation before the crushing dissonance kicks in to help propel the shapeshifter into bloodily deconstructing his disguise. Check out that decidedly not Colgate smile. Oh, that's right; you all are mesmerized by shirtless Jensen. Hey Ladies, Nice Stare.
 
15. The Rolling Stones, Laugh, I Nearly Died (Bloody Mary). Go reread Alice's commentary on this from her Top Ten Supernatural Episode Endings 'cause that just about covers what I was going to say.
 
14. Spinal Tap, Stonehenge (Simon Said). You didn't think I'd leave this off, did you? If supporting characters were bands, then who else could Andy possible be but Spinal Tap? His van, bong and reading materials go up to eleven; tis a shame the manner of his death did, too. Kripke, why do you hate us geeks?
 
13. The Kinks, A Well-Respected Man (It's A Terrible Life). A classic track from arguably the third-best band of the British Invasion after The Rolling Stones and The Who (oh, save your barbs, Beatlemaniacs, verily I scoff at thee), what was so striking beyond Dean's shift from jeans and well-worn shirts to clean lines and suspenders wasn't the obvious humor in channel changing from power chords to NPR, but how, out of everyone (certainly more than a corporate douchebag, go Sam go, celebrate the cubicle jockey!), whom do we consider is more deserving of respect than a hunter?
 
12. Foreigner, Cold As Ice (No Exit). After sharing Dean's awkward surprise scripted on his face, I burst out laughing. Sure, the situation was on the dark side of serious, but how could you not? A few bars were all that was needed, a frigid blade cutting through such a limp attempt at lightening the situation.
 
11. Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead or Alive (No Rest for the Wicked). Being a connoisseur of the heavier end of the rock and roll spectrum, I find fault with Dean's premise that Bon Jovi rocks even on occasion, but their least annoying song and the way the less-vocally talented brother begins to carry the lines as it begins to truly hit home for the other, that the hellfire at the end of the tunnel is truly nigh, is wonderful.
 
10. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bad Moon Rising (Devil's Trap/In My Time of Dying). That's no bad moon, that's a space station, I mean, an 18-wheeler. The songs of Fogerty and Co. almost always had a tenebrous undercurrent and here, is lyrically played off the jangly, almost upbeat guitar lines. Hope you got your things together, hope you are quite prepared to die indeed.

9. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simple Man (Free To Be You and Me). This bittersweet song foregrounds a wonderful juxtaposition of the then-current exploits of both brothers during their equally bittersweet separation -- each working a job that at their respective roots lies a simplicity, a diptych of the primal symbol of blood and the hunt and its cleansing water opposite, afterimages of the cradling spark of humanity.
 
8. Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit (Hunted). Despite Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's logic and mathematics, there's something hallucinatory about the Alice books, lovingly crystallized in a musical setting by these great Frisco freakouts and given an ominous tint in Supernatural. Poor Scott Carey, looking worn and sporting charcoal bags of exhaustion, tries and fails to convince the psychiatrist, that brazen wanderer in the bleakest recesses of the troubled mind, that he's not certifiable, that he's not imagining this demonic pall that threatens to engulf the entire world. Only thing that's getting fed is Gordon's knife.
 
7. Queensryche, Silent Lucidity (Heart). All I have to do is stay silent, lucidly, and let you folks imagine the ending. The antithesis of 1)an alluring, dreamy song about a gentle, conscious journey through the Land of Nod being used for 2)the most final of journeys, more complex and emotionally taut than usual given the particulars, is brilliant.
 
6. AC/DC, Back In Black (Bloodlust). A quintessentially badass riff for the resurrection of a quintessentially badass car; I know this was already used once before, but when that sleek mean machine comes barreling down the road to one of the most monumental chord progressions in the known universe (thank you, Malcolm Young), it sure makes one wish they were behind the wheel.
 
5. Blue Oyster Cult, (Don't Fear) The Reaper (Faith). Picking one's favorite song, singular, is about as easy as flying to Mars merely by flapping one's arms, but this is on the short list, and IMNSHO is overplay-proof. And then to have such compositional genius perfectly used here on top of all that? What an utterly mesmerizing, haunting soundscape. Of course, reapers in Supernatural aren't exactly about the eternal love of Romeo and Juliet.
 
4. Alice In Chains, Rooster (Folsom Prison Blues). I am a huge Alice fan, and I like the band, too. Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. (Never hurts to brown nose the boss, especially since she kindly tosses up these screen grabs). This Jerry Cantrell-penned lament about his father's Vietnam experiences resonates here on multiple levels. Both Deacon and John Winchester served, ostensibly in some rough gigs, and the Winchester boys are certainly in a war of a different kind and one, as we learn, carries more import than even that imperialist waste of life and limb.
 
3. Asia, Heat of the Moment (Mystery Spot). More than mere accompaniment, this arena rock radio staple (trust me, young ones, this album was pretty huge in a non-Thriller kind of way) is seemingly the linchpin, the centrifugal force spinning Sam and Dean around and around the craziest of trains, a seriously askew space-time continuum.
 
2. Styx, Renegade (Nightshifter). You'd have to bring your arguing A-game to prove that this isn't the coolest non-Kleenex ending to an episode of Supernatural yet. The pause of turbulent silence makes it, and Tommy Shaw's yelp and chug break it.
 
1. Kansas, Carry On Wayward Son (Salvation and every season finale thereafter). We know the recaps well, but for me, the true moment of serendipity was in All Hell Breaks Loose, part two when, immediately after "I hear the voices when I'm dreaming/I can hear them say," Dean, running towards a collapsing Sam, belts out a visceral "no!" If a tear didn't start welling up right then and there, you're a dirty, dirty liar. After much contemplation, is this the finest example of my nebulous criteria? I'm not sure, but what I am sure of is that this, more than any other mixture of guitar, bass, drums and throat on here, encapsulates the heart of the show.
 

Comments  

gentlesoul
# gentlesoul 2010-03-21 00:47
Freedom Rock came out like 6 years before I was even born - I Youtubed it ;-) I wonder if I can still get my hands on that "4 Records, 3 Cassettes, or 2 CDs" deal...

Love, love, love your list!!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-03-21 02:54
Great list Randal and I agree with your choices. I am sure it was hard to narrow down your list to just 16. As I was going through this list the first song that came to my mind that was not on your list was 'In-a-Gadda-Da- Vida by Iron Butterfly. This was the song playing in the beginning of Skin. This song accompanied with what we first thought was Dean torturing this woman was a great way to get us hooked and hungry for more.

Going through my Song Index I have come up with a few more songs for inclusion (starting with S1):
1. Working Man by Rush - playing as Dean and Sam rush to the airport to try and stop Amanda from getting on the plane
2. Peace of Mind by Boston - playing at the end of Hookman when Sam is saying goodbye while Dean watches. Just the nonverbal communication of these two and then they drive away accompanied by this Boston favorite.
3. Fight the Good Fight by Triumph - the 'Road So Far' recap at the beginning of Devil's Trap, very fitting considering what Dean and Sam were up against
4. House of the Rising Sun by The Animals - in Roadkill this song was a recurring theme, given that Dean and Sam had until daybreak to kill the MOTW
5. What a Wonderful World by Joey Ramone - I realize this might not fit with 'the rock classic' theme, but this song fit so perfectly in the context of the episode and what Dean was doing in WIAWSNB
6. Foreplay/Long Time by Boston - one of my personal favorites, starting out AHBLI
7. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum - playing as Dean and Sam are walking through a deserted town and ends on a phrase about God just as Sam turns off the radio.

Honorable mention: Can't Find My Way Home-Blind Faith in Route 666; Knocking on Heavens Door-Bob Dylan in Houses of the Holy; Green Peppers-Herb Alpert in Hollywood Babylon; Saturday Night Special-Lynyrd Skynyrd in WIAWSNB; Eye of the Tiger (need I say more about this song).

Those are just a few additions that I could come up with to an already great list. And yes, it is sad that the 'power chords on the last few campaigns' as you so adeptly put it is too true. If only the CW would allow TPTB a little more money in the budget for music. But alas, at least we still get some music.....and we still get our show for another season.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-03-21 04:04
Randal, I love your damn lists…. ;-)I’m afraid I haven’t heard of Freedom Rock so far, I’m going to have to google that…

I usually make my soundtracks, that is, put together the songs from the show and get them on a cd to listen on my way to work and back (when I don’t do the Dean-It’s-A-T errible-Life-th ing and listen to news).

I love Bon Jovi, Queensryche, Kansas, of course, and Fight the Good Fight, mentioned by Evelyn, and, of course Eye of the Tiger – I won’t be able to listen to that tune ever again without seeing Jensen goofing around on top of his car….

Take care, Jas
Julie
# Julie 2010-03-21 07:52
Oh Randal, how I love this list!
Combining my 2 obssessions how can it fail, after all, the article Jas wrote on music and the series is what finally stopped me lurking and made me join this glorious insanity.
It`s so strange though how perseptions of some of these songs, which I have been listening to for more years than I care to admit to, have been forever changed now. Case in point `Heat of the moment` which now triggers a wonderful image in my mind of those adorable head bobs, I`m shallow sometimes ok? But others have less happy images, Silent Lucidity, we are all there staight away, right? I for one cannot listen to Bad Moon Rising in the car and feel any degree of comfort anymore. `Wanted` now breaks my heart when Sam finally embraces his inner Rock God and lets rip but we get that so sad close up when realisation of what`s coming hits home on Deans face.
I am sure eveyone will have small gripes about their favourites not being included, but this was such an epic task. I loved the fact that I got a snatch of Blind Faith and another hero of mine the other Eric-- Clapton (please can we have some Cream Kripke!) and we have been treated to the amazing voice of Paul Rodgers in more than one episode . Can I also beg for some Zeppelin, whenever I hear Trampled Underfoot I can see Metallicar tearing up a road, sorry wandering there!
Bottom line though Randal, your list is wonderful and NO ONE can ever disagree with number ONE ever!
BTW Jas, I am with you all the way on Eye of the tiger, suprise suprise!
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-21 12:14
Thanks all!

gentlesoul, ah, the late 80s, when we old folks rode dinosaurs to school. :D

Evelyn, what's funny is that Iron Butterfly was the first thing that popped in my head after sending this to Alice. Adding your suggestions adds up to around 30 choices, so one can see how difficult this was. And though I'd love more tunes, I'd trade some of that for another season.

Jas, think of it as Now That's What I Call Music (you've heard of those in Germany, yes/no?) for people who grew up in the 60s/70s, just released twenty years later. 8-)

Julie, that's what's funny, how when we hear these songs now, we think of the show; they've become part of the fabric and are often quite integral to the texture of a particular scene. I used to scoff a bit at Asia, but hell, now I dig that song!

Dany, I wanted to cut it down to my usual 13, but figured I'd send it anyway and Alice was kind enough to not bring out the machete. As for number one, as great as Renegade was used, there simply couldn't be another choice IMO.

As for getting logged out, that's happened to me, but there seems to be some time frame associated with it. Wait too long and you're thrown off the cliff. ;-)
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-03-21 12:47
Great list, Randal! And cutting down the choices to 16 is impressive! Like you said, there are so many songs to choose from that any list is undoubtedly going to leave something off, but you pretty much got all my favorites, too. The only one I may have added in is Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You." I love that song! Though, maybe it doesn't really count as "rock" per se. Still, I love it!
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-03-21 13:47
Randal, an awesome list indeed! How can I not agree with
it?

I can see how hard it must have been to cut it down to 16, as I do have 74 of them in my iTunes. Can't disagree with your top 10 although I would have put "Back in Black" a couple of notches higher. It always gives me goosebumps when I hear that and see that black beauty coming over the hill. Wooooooooh!

And "Wayward Son" never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Sniff! Wibble wibble! :cry::

Thanks for this!
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-03-21 14:20
Love your list, Randal! I can imagine the hard work you put into this, sooo many great songs that accompany scenes soooo well. And I'm right there with you, guys, these songs have gotten a whole new meaning and just cannot be separated from the show any more :-)

One more thing I have to mention, Randal: your vocabulary is sooo sophisticated, that I have to be highly focused on the text not to get lost in translation. I'm jealous ;-)

Got the "Now that's what I call classic rock" album, and it rocks! I don't think I've seen it in any store in Europe, I got it in America. I think "Freedom rock" will be my next purchase :-)

Hey, Jas, America is a great country for music shopping, I returned with a load full of cds I had been looking for here, like, forever. And Venice Beach is just awsome! Have fun and a safe trip!!!!

Lara
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-03-21 15:04
No tomatoes for this list--fantastic ! I just watched the Freedom Rock commercial on Youtube :lol: :lol: :lol: Awesome, i think I'll have to agree w/ Jas, may just have to see if that puppy can be tracked down in lieu of a Supernatural soundtrack. So glad Simple Man, Bad Moon and Stonehenge made the list! Renegade just goes without saying but I said it anyway. Surprised y'all remember Queensryche, seemed like they passed through the 90s and were soon forgotten... but back in the 7th grade their Empire album had a special place in my tape deck.

Evelyn got most of my HMs: Dylan in HOTH, the Animals who singlehandedly upped the creep factor in Roadkill, Can't Find My Way Home, so poignant & one of that ep's few redeeming moments. Too many to choose from, like you said. I've got a spot for Ramblin' Man at the gas station and the diner, too.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-03-21 20:43
Julie, I'm right there with you in that when you hear some of these songs that have become such a fabric to Supernatural, you can't help but think on this show and the episode it came from and where it was placed.

I know back in the '80s I was a huge fan of Miami Vice and that show was really kind of the ground breaker for having rock music be an integral part of the show. There are still times I hear a song that was prominent in one of the episodes of that show and can't help but think of that show and the episode it came from.

The same thing is now happening for me and Supernatural. Yes, Asia will have such a different meaning for me now than it used to. Wayward Son will always make me a little more melancholy with the meaning of Dean and Sam behind it, and lastly, as Jas said, Eye of the Tiger will never be listened to again without thinking of Jensen lip-synching to the song on top of his car. :D

Ah......Classic Rock (Freedom Rock). You just gotta love it!
Karen
# Karen 2010-03-22 13:12
Hi Randal
Great list….I don’t know if I could of kept it down to 16…
There are just so many greats and I with you on your added picks Evelyn.
I also can’t listen to any of these songs anymore without thinking of the show.
Except for Don’t Fear the Reaper makes me also think of Stephen Kings
The Stand and Bad Moon Rising makes me also think of An American Werewolf in London.

Randal as for you slight Beatles slur…I have chosen to believe you were just kidding and laughed it off.

Dany.. I type out my comments on Word first then copy it in the site…I haven’t had any time out issues since.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-22 14:36
WOW! Randal, Nice article! I really never knew the titles of some of those hits... so thanks for the for putting it all in one article. Loved it.

Wayward Son can't be played now without thinking of SPN. Another is 'Eye of the Tiger' from "Yellow Fever".
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2010-03-22 22:03
Great list, Randall!

Alas, no way could I cut my list down to put so few on the essential platform. I couldn't leave off the Soundgarden's darkly foreboding "Fell on Black Days" as Ellen and the boys realized in "Simon Said" that they had no way of tracing all the psychic kids or knowing what they were meant to do, and Ellen told Jo to break out the whiskey instead of the beer. I couldn't bypass the positive vibes of Rush's "Fly By Night" accompanying Dean tossing the Impala's keys to Sam for the first time at the end of "Wendigo," or the music of Free's "All Right Now" matching Dean's sideways look at Sam as he grinned - how ironically, looking back - wondering how often he'd have the chance to see his own funeral. And way, way, way up on my list is Bad Company's "Crazy Circles" during Dean's auto shop class with Sam, as he reached for heaven and wound up in hell. And - oh, heck. There are too many. And I love each and every moment on the show when exactly the right song started up at exactly the right time and yanked my heart up into my throat. Thanks, guys. (Especially Phil Sgriccia, I think ...)
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-03-23 05:32
Hi Randal.

This was awesome, as always. Me and top-what-have-y ous have this special love-love relationship. I don't care if you list top10 best shampoos, I'm there :D

But on to your awesomish list. I love it. Love it. LOVE IT. The music in this show is the best ever on tv (well, sons of anarchy is coming around too, but this one is the original, the one and only, my own true TV love) Ok, I'll stop the drooling and all...

Love your picks. Very spot on. Agree on everyone else that this task of yours has been a grueling one. I couldn' do this, but I most certainly salute you for achieving this.

And again totally agree on the listening to certain songs with a new meaning nowadays (well last 3 years lol). When ever I hear those songs somewhere, it immediately brings my thoughts to this show and certain scenes. Totally breaks my concentration, damn that pesky rock music.

Hm... so a few of me own...

- Down On The Street by The Stooges & Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum & We're An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad. Love the way they used these, first the music hearing in the background and then switching it coming from inside or from the radio. I'm sure there's more music used like this but these just stick out. Too Cool.

- In-A-Gadda-Da-V ida by Iron Butterfly. Just awesome, and so fitting to that teaser.
- Fire of unknown Origin by Blue Öyster Cult. That song is so cool. And really weird and uncomfortable choice when you listen to the lyris. I still remember hearing it the first time and I immediately had to look it up. So, even when the songs aren't really fitting, they get your attention which is always nice :-) And again, I really like the song.
- Green Peppers by Herb Alpert. Just love it. Sooooo, unexpected and spot on. Love the boys walking to their little fake sunset.
- Foreplay-Long Time by Boston. I love the way they used these in AHBL part 1. One my my fave previoslies and the music makes half of its awesomeness. Very foreboding and rapid.
- Dream a little dream of me by Mamas and Papas. Lovely song and lovely background to Deans little secret dream.
- You shook me all night long by AC/DC. This one got me so amped up for the first eppie of S4 I could hardly keep myself from screaming in excitement :D
- Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Ditto.
- Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance) by The Contours. Setting aside the insanity and total devastation of the whole situtation, that scene with that music was pure genious.

Bonus: Nowadays when ever I hear Lady in Red guess what scene comes to mind? Lol, I hate that song but that scene gave it a new, hilarious meaning :D

And to leave this lovely article with a parting quote...
"I used to be with it, but then they changed what 'it' was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's 'it' seems weird and scary"
But that'll never happen to us right? RIGHT??? :D

Thanks again Randal.
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-23 11:23
Ardeospina, oh hell, that could easily count, plus Screamin' Jay kicks mucho asso.

Bevie, now that I think about it, 'tis no crime to bump Back In Black up a bit, though, Kripke, more Bon Scott-era please.

Freebird, one really could make a stellar album just from the tracks used on this show. What I love about it is how (hopefully) a lot of the younger fans realize just how good a lot of these "oldies" are. Get off my lawn!

ElenaM, Queensryche was odd in that their Rage For Order era, they looked like some psycho, serial killer glam/hair metal band, but had progressive/met allic chops then Mindcrime came out which was *amazing*, and Empire blew up and was everywhere. Yes, eMpTyV used to play the hell out of their videos, hard to imagine these days!

Evelyn, oh man, Miami Vice. Now I'm going to have nightmares about turquoise blazers. :D

Karen, come now, you know The Beatles are my 785th favorite band. ;-) Ah yes, Reaper was used in the beginning of the Stand. I know Chiller is having a Stephen King week now, I imagine they'll play that at some piont.

Sablegreen, every time I watch season four, even if my wife is doing something else, she makes me play Jensen singing that damn song. 8-)

Bardicvoice, see, there's another half-dozen songs, all excellent choices! I might ruminate over a top episode list, but narrrowing that down might be easier than this unholy thing!

Supernarttu, my favorite shampoo: whatever is on sale. USA 1, Finland 0. :D

I love BOC, so both tracks in Hell House were cool, completely forgot about Green Peppers, one of the great non-Kleenex endings ever. The fact that Lady In Red is an archetypal 80s schlock ballad only highlights just how disturbing that scene actually was. Shudder!

HA! A million bonus points for that particular Abe quote!
Suze
# Suze 2010-03-24 07:37
Great list! I am definitely with you on the Meh, The Beatles thing, the Stones/Kinks/Wh o stomp all over them.

I'd add a couple of my faves ... Walking the silent war-torn streets of where-ever it was to Spirit In The Sky and strippers with a secret agenda shaking their what-nots to White Zombie.

Let's hope we've got some more good stuff coming up! :D