Friends – I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrandts
The theme music is now as central to Friends as any of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey or Phoebe. More than 10 years on from the show’s finale, the song still makes you think of jumping in a fountain every time you hear it on the radio.
MASH – Suicide Is Painless by The Mash
It’s not as upbeat or radio friendly as the theme to Friends, but it’s just as integral to the show. Talk about the 1970s black comedy to anybody and one of the first things you’ll be discussing will be this theme song.
Breaking Bad – Baby Blue by Badfinger
SPOILERS: Poetic justice was served at the end of Breaking Bad and no line better summed that up than the lyric “Guess I got what I deserved” that opened the show’s final scene. The song, originally about a lover nicknamed Baby Blue, aptly captured Walt’s true love in Breaking Bad: his trademark baby blue crystal meth.
Lost – Make Your Own Kind Of Music by Mama Cass Elliot
After the cliffhanger ending of Lost’s first season, an explosive beginning was expected to season two. Instead there was this slow-burning scene where an unknown character goes about his mundane morning routine, which only served to ramp up the tension.
Arrested Development – Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
The most popular ongoing joke in Arrested Development’s recent fourth season saw various characters (usually GOB) have an existential crisis soundtracked by Simon & Garfunkel’s hushed classic.
The West Wing – Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
The moving end to The West Wing’s third season was already heart wrenching enough. Soundtracking it with tortured artist Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah made it one of the most tear-jerking moments in TV history.
Family Guy – Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen
Family Guy is famous for an ongoing joke of the avian variety and like it or not it’s a joke that will run for as long as the show itself. The 1960s garage rock song has been given a new lease of life thanks to Peter Griffin…
Scrubs – How To Save A Life by The Fray
Scrubs often tugged at the heart strings as much as it knocked your funny bone. This scene from season five became one of the most famous in the show’s history, in part because of the moving subject matter and in part because of the song by The Fray that played over it.