TVLine Mixtape

TVLine Mixtape Throwback Edition: Your Favorite Songs from Alias, Buffy, Everwood and More

Too excited for Comic-Con? Anxiously awaiting the fall TV season? Stuck marathoning your favorite shows of yesteryear? So are we. That’s why, for this edition of TVLine Mixtape, we’re going old school.

What follows are some excellent songs from TV episodes past, complete with artist and album information in case you want to add them to your permanent collection.

We chose tunes that stuck in our memories, but we know you’ve got favorites, too. So check out our TVLine Mixtape playlist — Throwback Edition — and then hit the comments with your favorite TV jams from the past! And remember: You can always submit questions or suggestions about TV music on Twitter @rebeccaiannucci.

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alias-pilotSERIES AND EPISODE | Alias, “Truth Be Told”
TITLE | “No Man’s Woman”
ARTIST | Sinead O’Connor
ALBUM | Faith And Courage (2000)
WHY IT ROCKED | Is there anything more badass than Sydney Bristow with pink locks? Alias’ edge-of-your-seat pilot had us hooked right away — even more so after Sydney completes her latest mission with the aid of Sinead O’Connor’s girl-power melody.

greys-anatomy-denny-diesSERIES AND EPISODE | Grey’s Anatomy, “Losing My Religion”
TITLE | “Chasing Cars”
ARTIST | Snow Patrol
ALBUM | Eyes Open (2006)
WHY IT ROCKED | By now, Snow Patrol’s tune is a mainstream radio staple. But paired with Izzie’s heartbreaking sobs after Denny dies, her resignation from the surgical program and Meredith’s romantic woes, the song becomes a swelling anthem for love gone wrong. (Uplifting stuff, huh?)

buffy-vampire-slayer-the-promSERIES AND EPISODE | Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Prom”
TITLE | “Wild Horses”
ARTIST | The Sundays
ALBUM | Blind (1992)
WHY IT ROCKED | The moves might belong to Jagger, but alt-rock band The Sundays have a particular way of softening this classic Rolling Stones song. As Buffy accepts her Class Protector award (and gets lost in a dance with Angel), the soaring melody makes for a picture-perfect prom.
LINER NOTES | If The Sundays’ lilting notes aren’t your taste, rock out to the Stones’ original version.

friday-night-lights-season-5SERIES AND EPISODE | Friday Night Lights, “Gut Check”
TITLE | “Runaway”
ARTIST | The National
ALBUM | High Violet (2010)
WHY IT ROCKED | After kind of an awkward goodbye, Matt runs after Julie and promises her that they’ll sort out their problems because they love each other. You’ve gotta say this for Saracen: He’s good in the clutch.

the-good-wife-s2-finaleSERIES AND EPISODE | The Good Wife, “Closing Arguments”
TITLE | “Any Other World”
ALBUM | Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)
WHY IT ROCKED | With every ding of the elevator doors, the tension mounts between Will and Alicia. All it takes is two spoken words and the quick rhythm of Mika’s sensitive tune to release the pressure, and the result is an elevator kiss that Good Wife fans won’t soon forget.

six-feet-under-series-finaleSERIES AND EPISODE | Six Feet Under, “Everyone’s Waiting”
TITLE | “Breathe Me”
ALBUM | Breathe Me (2006)
WHY IT ROCKED | Claire speeds off to New York, and Sia’s hushed, broken voice carries us through the lives and deaths of each major character in the years that follow. The series’ final minutes may have been hard to watch, but Sia’s eerie lyrics make listening wonderfully easy.

everwood-colin-diesSERIES AND EPISODE | Everwood, “Home”
TITLE | “Cathedrals”
ARTIST | Jump, Little Children
ALBUM | Magazine (1998)
WHY IT ROCKED | There’s a strange sense of foreboding that takes over as Colin bravely gets his head shaved in preparation for surgery. Or maybe it’s just the haunting chords of Jump, Little Children’s refrain, which underscores a supremely sad season finale.

dawsons-creek-the-kissSERIES AND EPISODE | Dawson’s Creek, “The Kiss”
TITLE | “London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do)”
ARTIST | Heather Nova
ALBUM | Siren (1998)
WHY IT ROCKED | Ah, young love. Ah, guitar-driven ‘90s hits. Combine the two, and you can’t help feeling giddy as Dawson and Joey fumble through their first real date. Is Joey’s comment about “going at it like porn stars” with Dawson totally awkward and weird? Yes… but we were all a little clumsy back then, and the tune sweetly captures the thrill of teenage infatuation.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. trainwreck says:

    I think just a single mention out of Grey’s Anatomy is not worthy of the amazing tracks Grey’s has incorporated in moments to associate with.

    – Ingrid Michaelson – Keep Breathing (When Burke leaves Cristina at alter and Mer has to cut her off the wedding dress – phew breathtaking stuff!)

    – Unkle Bob – Swans (after Meredith’s Recovery from drowning, Denny’s ghost from limbo sees Izzie walking past in the hospital lobby)

    – Anna Waronker – How am I doing (Addison realizing she is no longer needed at Seattle and plans to visit LA)

    – Gregg Laswell – Off I Go (George Dying and Izzie Flat-lining)

    these are just a few ones at the top of my head! Loads more worthy of mentions!!

    • Kate says:

      And “In my Veins” while Charles dies during the shooting at the hospital. Chills thinking of it.

    • CR says:

      So happy that you put in Sia’s Breathe Me. I think that my all time favorite tv soundtrack song of all time. I still ugly cry every time I see the ending of Six Feet Under. I love the Buffy inclusion as well, although for me it’s a toss up between Wild Horse’s and Full of Grace by Sarah McLachan. Thinking of old WB shows, I would put in Mary Beth Maziaraz’s cover of Daydream Believer from Dawson’s Creek. My favorite song from FNL has got to be Devil’s Town by Bright Eyes. If FNL is considered a throwback, then I will add to this list Audra Mae’s version of Forever Young from Sons of Anarchy(yet another ugly cry moment). There were so many good songs in Weeds but for that I’d pick either Ganja Baby or I Love You by Michael Franti. My last for now for songs that left an impression was Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine used on Nikita. I became obsessed with her after that.

      • Ene-Liis says:

        Anything on the PETA Wison version of Nikita could have made this list. That show had an amazing soundtrack.

    • CR says:

      Excellent choices trainwreck. You’re absolutely right about there being just too many to chose from. The one left out that I would chose is The Fray’s How to Save a Life.

    • megan says:

      MTE! How many AMAZING moments from Grey’s have been captured by the many amazing songs they play? It deserves its own post actually. Haven’t been too thrilled with the songs the show has played the last couple seasons but the early stuff is great.

    • Lucy says:

      And “Breathe (2AM)” by Anna Nalick during the unexploded bazooka/Bailey’s labor. So well-chosen.

    • Mary says:

      Also the Fray’s How To Save A Life was a huge Grey’s song. Not sure which episode it was tied to but remember it being tied to the early seasons.

    • Tiffany says:

      Yah, Grey’s Anatomy has played a huge role in getting some of our newer favorite artists out into the public eye. Ingrid Michaelson, The Fray, Brandi Carlisle, Snow Patrol…so many that had their debut on this hit show. I’d like to add Kodaline’s “All I Want” that played while Mark succumbed to The Surge, Webber called for a crash cart and we saw the sun setting over the Pacific horizon. That song went immediately onto my permanent, play-all-the-time playlist! Another great match-up of music to screen was “Bitter Song” by Butterfly Bouche that we listened to in the background while we watched Meredith try to swim in the freezing water and then give up saying, “I have so much left to say, but I’ve disappeared.” Such great moments and memories!

  2. Amy says:

    Oh man. I wish I had my Alias and Buffy DVDs with me right now. I’ve got a serious case of nostalgia and a desire to watch 2 awesome women kick some a$$.

  3. TV Gord says:

    GREAT list! I would add:

    SERIES and EPISODE: House, “Autopsy”

    TITLE: Beautiful

    ARTIST: Elvis Costello

    ALBUM: House M.D. Original Television Soundtrack (2007)

    WHY IT ROCKED: The episode opened with the Christina Aguilera version, which seemed a little too “pop”py for House, if I may say. Then, it ended with the starkly excellent version by Elvis, and it was the perfect capper to a terrific episode. (Also, I’m a huge Costello fan, and I had no idea he had recorded a version of this song, which he did specifically for House).

  4. theschnauzers says:

    Oddly enough, perhaps the best use of a song as soundtrack on a TV series was one of the earliest…. Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight,” in the pilot of Miami Vice. What makes it work there was the visual editing that reinforces the tone and fell of that segment. It not only helped set the tone of the series, it set a high bar for the use of songs as soundtrack.

    One ofher more recent example was in season three of the Ronald D. Moore reboot of Battlestar Galactica, when the Final Five are revealed to the viewer and themselves to the music and lyrics of “All Along the Watchtower,” originally written by Bob Dylan and covered famously by Jimi Hendrix. The series, however, used a new cover performed by Brendon McCreary, and written using non-western instruments by composer Bear McCreary.

    I’m sure there are plenty others, but those two always struck me as being particularly well done.

  5. Linda L says:

    Don’t have all the particulars but 2 of my favourite oldies are ‘Family Ties’ Michael J Fox and Tracey Pollan dancing to Billy Vera and the Beaters ‘At this Moment’ and ‘The Cosby Show’ with the Huxtables sing Ray Charles ‘The Night Time is the Right Time’

  6. Christopher says:

    I miss these old shows, especially Buffy, one of my favourites.

  7. david c says:

    tbh that Mika song was used better by 90210 when adrianna almost died the first time lol

  8. AL says:

    OMG ‘The Buffy’ soundtrack was so fantastic, I loved it…*sigh* now I feel old, I wonder if I find my cd…I haven’t listened to it in ages. Thanks for making me feel my age :0)

  9. dude says:

    I’m just watching Everwood now and I’m LOVING it! I’m just starting season three now.

  10. Emma Woodhouse says:

    I was hoping “Cathedrals” would be on here when I saw the Everwood listing. That’s a beautiful sequence and knowing the aftermath means I cry every time.

  11. Jessica says:

    LOST should be on the list. Hurley listening to Damien Rice.

  12. corey says:

    I have to add Michelle Branch’s ” Good Bye to you” from the Buffy Episode “Tabula Rasa”

  13. CR says:

    Also curious as to why none of the songs from Fringe were listed. I think they are one of the few shows that very thoughtfully places songs to drive home the message of the show. For that reason I would add Only You by Yaz. In such a bleak premiere, it added a ray of hope.

    • CR says:

      Ok, now I can’t help myself. There are all sorts of memories flooding back. Blister in the Sun by The Violent Femmes on My So Called Life. Smallville had so many good songs but the one that stands out is Finger Eleven’s One Thing. This Year’s Love by David Gray was also a great one from Dawson’s Creek.

  14. Steven says:

    Series: Charmed
    Episode: Long Live The Queen
    Song and Artist: Courage by Sarah Polley
    Scene: Phoebe’s in bed crying after vanquishing her husband and her sister’s get into bed and hold her.

  15. megan says:

    Sons of Anarchy- “Mary” by Patty Griffin should be up there (featured on S2 ep 10) When Gemma confesses to Clay and Jax about the rape, with Tara sitting there silently offering her support. TV doesn’t get much better than that scene + song.

  16. Amanda says:

    Sadly, they changed the song in the Matt and Julie scene on the FNL DVD’s. The song replacement is nowhere near as perfect in the scene.

  17. AN says:

    Love Jump, Little Children!! Another great song from the Magazine album, B 13, was featured in Scrubs.

  18. Lefty says:

    No inclusions from The OC??!?!

    • Jules says:

      Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley at the end of season one and then the Imogene Heap version when Marissa died. And Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap when Trey is shot. The OC and One Tree Hill both had great soundtracks

      • Kate'shomesick says:

        Oh, the episode where Marissa and Ryan visit Trey, Ryans brother, in prison and “Orange sky” by Alexi Murdoch starts playing when they leave…always gives me goosebumps

  19. bdog says:

    One of the best was when Alias used Marilyn Manson’s ‘The Dope Show’ while Syd walked through a club in Berlin? 2nd or 3rd season.

  20. Kim S. says:

    “Felicity” also had some great musical moments. “La Cienega Just Smiled” by Ryan Adams will always remind me of Felicity and Noel on the roof. Also, how can I forget the final scene set to Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”?

  21. Wendy says:

    I’d add:
    Kim Richey’s A Place Called Home from the end of Angel’s A Hole in the World
    Buffalo Tom’s Late at Night from My So-Called Life’s Self-Esteem
    Mike Doughty’s I Hear The Bells from Veronica Mars Look Who’s Stalking

    • jc says:

      “Kim Richey’ A Place Called Home from the end of Angel’s A Hole in the World”

      Beautiful song. Makes me cry thinking about sweet Fred.

      I’d have to add…
      Series and Episode: Smallville, “Ryan”
      Title: “Angels or Devils”
      Artist: Dishwalla
      Album: Opaline (2002)
      Why it Rocked: Clark takes Ryan, a dying boy with telepathic abilities, away from the noise of his hospital room, and up in a hot air balloon over the vast and open fields of Smallville. The music echos the hope and sadness of the moment as Ryan tells Clark to watch out for Lex, how Clark changed his life and will change many more.

  22. Jules says:

    Love the list – thanks for posting it! I would add:

    Series: Roswell
    Episode: S1 finale “Destiny” / theme song
    Song and Artist: Here with Me by Dido
    Scene: Liz realizes that she and Max are too different and leaves him at the end of the episode. And one of the best opening credits songs ever.

    Series: Miami Vice
    Episode: S1-1 “Brother’s Keeper”
    Song & artist: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
    Scene: Iconic scene with Crockett and Tubbs driving the Miami streets at night before confronting the criminals. (1984)

    • Jules says:

      OMG – have to mention “The O.C.” Too many songs in the series, but at least must note:

      Episode: S109 – “The Heights”
      Song / Artist: “Paint the Silence” by South
      Scene: Ryan and Marissa’s first kiss on the ferris wheel.

      Also – too amazing –
      Episode: S3x25
      Song/Artist: “Hallelujah” by Imogen Heap
      Scene: Marissa dies with Ryan holding her.

  23. Lisa says:

    Alias had one of the best soundtracks of all time. Kudos to all responsible for picking the songs. I can never hear “God put a smile on my face” without thinking of Vaughn and Sydney in the kitchen.

  24. Tommy says:

    Champagne Supernova by Oasis on The O.C. In the episode 2.14 The Rainy Day Women. There were so many music moments in One Tree Hill I can’t pick a favorite. One that stands out is “23” by Jimmy Eat World in episode 2.10 . Also I’m showing my age but whenever I hear Losing My Religon I think of Dylan and Brenda breaking up on Beverly Hills 90210. Oh just remembered the OMD cover of If You Leave on The O.C. 1.21 Tge Goodbye Girl had me in tears.

  25. Emily says:

    It’s been a long time since I watched Alias but the one song that reminds me of it is “This Women’s Work” by Kate Bush. I Can picture Sidney Bristow sitting in her bath tub morning the death if her fiancé

  26. CR says:

    How could I forget Supernatural songs!?! They are such a staple of the show. My fav soundtrack moments for that are Renegade, any of the montages to Carry on My Wayward Son, and Knockin on Heaven’s Door.

  27. Just Jules says:

    Back in Black
    Sydney’s lingerie fashion show for the creep on the plane.

    How to Save A Life
    Pilot end scene

  28. Nick says:

    Series- The West Wing
    Episode-“Two Cathedrals.”
    Song/Album- “Brothers in Arms”
    Artist- Dire Straits

    This is one of the most impactful songs on television over the past decade or so. The dark nature of the song, in one of the greatest episodes of television ever written, puts it right near the top of the list with “In the Air Tonight” in Miami Vice. For consistently good song choices, Buffy and Grey’s Anatomy have to be at the top

  29. Jules says:

    One Tree Hill had such a great soundtrack at least until I stopped watching. My favorite song from OTH – The Funeral by Band of Horses – has been on multiple shows including Criminal Minds when Tobias Hankel aka Dawson Leary kidnapped Reid.

  30. Ross says:

    Great article. I have nearly all of these on my iPod because of these amazing TV moments.

  31. Csbd says:

    Pearl Jam’s Come Back the first time Lyla and Riggins kissed on FNL. It was already one of my favorite PJ songs, and that sealed it.

  32. Corinne says:

    * I Grieve by Peter Gabriel from Smallville Episode 05-12: The Reckoning. I lost it when they played this at Mr. Kent’s funeral.

    * Knockin on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dyla from Supernatural Episode 05-16: Dark Side of the Moon. Probably my favorite sentimental moment of the show when Dean remembers shooting off fireworks when Sam was young.

    * Mad World covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules from Being Human(US version) Episode 01-09: I Want You Back …From the Dead. Already a song filled with so much melancholy on a show that always feels as bleak as it does hopeful, it was so depressing when Aiden had to kill his vampire child Bernie.

  33. Ben says:

    I love throwback articles like this one. It’s always fun to reminisce.

  34. emmy says:

    Chuck 5×13 – Chuck vs. The Goodbye / The Head and the Heart / “Rivers and Roads.” Actually, Chuck had a TON of great musical moments. But that was a lovely one.

    • Corinne says:

      I almost put down Tom Sawyer but I think I actually prefer all the Jeffster performances. Their cover of Toto’s Africa made me so giddy. Not sure which is better, that or Send Me on My Way.

    • Ene-Liis says:

      Chuck had amazing music. I’m really surprised not to see it in the article.

  35. Fernanda says:

    Gossip Girl
    Season 1 Episode 10 Hi Society
    Theme: Three Wishes by The Pierces (aka Chuck and Blair theme)
    Grey’s soundtracks has a lot of great songs, look for them before syndication episodes change their music. For example a lot of Dawson’s Creek episodes lose their songs because of legal issues.

  36. Gwen says:

    Bif Naked “Lucky” in the Buffy episode “The Harsh Light of Day”…. sigh…

  37. Kendall says:

    SERIES AND EPISODE | The Wonder Years, “The Accident”
    TITLE | “We’ve Got Tonight”
    ARTIST | Bob Seger

    Of all the great music featured on The Wonder Years, this song and this moment sticks out in my mind more than any other.

  38. Matilda says:

    band of horses “the funeral” in Criminal Minds in season 2. And every song played in a dexter teaser (the pierces, marylin manson…)

  39. ndh says:

    Riverside by Agnes Obel in Revenge season 2, episode 4.

  40. Emily says:

    Sarah McLachlan’s Full of Grace accompanying a heartbroken Buffy fleeing from Sunnydale. Gets me every single time.

  41. Kevin H. says:

    I’ve always been wondering what the name of that song was in the S1 finale of Everwood. I HATED that cliffhanger they left the season on. Such a great show.

  42. Marco says:

    Other than, oh, ALL the Cold Case ending songs (especially Sarah MacLachlan’s ‘Fallen’ The Byrds’ ‘For Every Season (Turn, Turn, Turn)’ and ‘My Back Pages’, Coldplay’s ‘Politik’ (‘Fix You’ is good but a tad overrated; CC used it in as well, in the ending of ‘Cargo’) and Pearl Jam’s ‘Yellow Ledbetter’) I would add ‘Passing Afternoon’ by Iron & Wine from the House MD season 4 finale ‘Wilson’s Heart’ (it plays at the end of House’s dream sequence).

  43. Ali says:

    So many great songs. And memories. I’ve got a couple (for now):

    SERIES and EPISODE: Fringe, “Northwest Passage”
    TITLE: Is There A Ghost?
    ARTIST: Band Of Horses
    ALBUM: Cease To Begin
    WHY IT ROCKED: Even though we got such a small snippet of the song, it is one that haunted Peter throughout the entire episode. From his first meeting with Krista at the Hilltop Cafe to his meeting with Walter-nate at the end of the episode…something was following him the entire episode.

    SERIES and EPISODE: Dawson’s Creek, “The Anti-Prom
    TITLE: My Invitation
    ARTIST: Sarah Slean
    ALBUM: ??
    WHY IT ROCKED: Joey asking Pacey to dance at the Anti-Prom. Their intimate talk during the dance. Pacey…”I remember everything.” The angst of Dawson and Andie looking on as they truly see the love between Pacey and Joey. And in the background, “My Invitation” is playing – mirroring the angst of the scene.

  44. Joe says:

    I remember it being controversial but Run by Air always reminds me of Veronica Mars. It’s one of the few really memorable TV songs that isn’t a traditional slow, melancholy number

  45. Liz says:

    Series: ER
    Episode: “Be Still My Heart”
    Song Title: “Battleflag”
    Artist: Lo-Fidelity Allstars
    This was the song that played when Carter and Lucy were stabbed in the Valentine’s day episode. Carter has been hounding Lucy all day about a patient, he goes in to find her and instead is stabbed in the back by a psych patient. He falls to the floor and sees Lucy gasping for air on the other side of the bed. I remember watching this episode live on TV in the era before spoilers and being completely shocked and surprised. The heavy beat of the music in the background made the scene all the more chilling and chaotic. It was the perfect music choice for that moment.

  46. Sarah says:

    Because of Grey’s Anatomy used Chasing Cars in that episode I fell in love with Snow Patrol. That whole album is great.

  47. pjtraveler says:

    Veronica Mars Season 2 episode 20
    I Hear The Bells – Mike Dougherty
    Logan is pouring his heart out to her and just as he touches her face and moves in to kiss her, she panics and runs away. I yelled at the screen!

  48. Jay says:

    11 of my favorites:

    Buffy season 2 ep 22 – “Full of Grace” by Sarah McLaughlin
    The OC season 1 ep 2 & 27 – “Hallelujah” cover by Jeff Buckley
    Switched at Birth season 1 ep 7 – “Stranger” by Katie Costello
    Friday Night Lights season 2 ep 5 – “To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra
    ER season 8 ep 21 – “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” cover by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
    Dollhouse season 2 ep 10 -“No, I Don’t Remember” by Anna Ternheim
    The Newsroom season 1 ep 4 – “Fix You” by Coldplay
    How I Met Your Mother season 7 ep 17 -“Shake it Out” by Florence + the Machine
    Bones season 1 ep 20 – “Born” by Over the Rhine
    Heroes pilot – “Eyes” by Rogue Wave
    Journeyman pilot – “Look After You” by the Fray

  49. Liz says:

    Alias has way better music than the Sinead O’Connor song, what about “Dream On” Depeche Mode, or “Slumber My Darling” Alison Krauss, “Ready, Steady, Go” Paul Oakenfold, “So You Are To Me” Eastmountainsouth, so many good ones.

    Also, nothing from One Tree Hill? I found many of my favorite artists from OTH. The OC had lots of good music on it too. I tend to buy all my favorite songs from my favorite shows and make playlists for them. OTH, The OC, Smallville, Alias are all on my favorite playlists.

  50. Joey says:

    You really had to put “Breathe Me” on this list? You do realize it’s raining on my face now, right?

    Also, would’ve put Michelle Branch’s “Goodbye to You” from Tabula Rasa up for Buffy rather than what’s there now.