Songs That Got Popular Because of TV Shows

Both ‘Stranger Things’ and Kate Bush have taken the world by storm following the show’s inclusion of the song ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ from her 1985 album ‘Hounds of Love’. According to NME, the singer has reportedly generated an estimated USD 2.3 million in streaming revenue with her song because of its feature in Season 4 of Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things.’ As per Music Business Worldwide, Bush owns the copyright of her recording. Therefore, she has likely kept the bulk of that income herself.

‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ has broken three Guinness World Records. It reached Number One in Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland. At one point, it was also the most-streamed song on the planet. The song entered its third week at Number One on the Official UK Singles Chart. Bush described it as “a bit surreal.” “I just can’t believe it – No. 1 for the third week. We’re all so excited! In fact, it’s all starting to feel a bit surreal,” Bush shared on her website.

Some songs have had quite an impact on the television industry. Some may have been popular way before they were associated with a TV series, others have gained recognition for their feature during an iconic or memorable scene in a show. Similarly, the first two songs we’re going to talk about today – ‘How To Save A Life’ and ‘Chasing Cars’ will be etched in our memories forever due to their inclusion in TV series, especially in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. 

How to Save a Life – Grey’s Anatomy

If there’s one thing Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the hit medical drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, does to her audience, it is that she embeds music in their minds related to scenes in such a way that a new meaning is given to the song. Some of the most memorable moments on the show are associated with the great songs that accompanied them.

She does it so well that each time you listen to a song that was played during a memorable scene from the now eighteen-season television series, you are immediately reminded of those key moments on the show and you begin to replay them in your head. 

You cannot help but feel a wave of sadness, nostalgia, or just a sweet memory hit you! Even though you may have listened to the song featured in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ before, once it is attached to a powerful scene, you just can’t forget it. 

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‘How To Save A Life’ appeared in episode 22 of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ second season during a montage of surgery scenes on the show. Bustle calls it, ‘basically the theme song for Derek Shepherd’s catchphrase – “It’s a beautiful afternoon to save lives, people. Let’s have some fun.”‘

‘How To Save A Life’ by The Fray, their biggest single to date, was released in March 2006. The song is the band’s second single from their debut studio album of the same name. ‘How To Save A Life’ is the Ameican band’s most popular airplay song. It peaked in the top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2007.

Season 7 Episode 18 was a musical episode on the show and of course ‘How To Save A Life’ had to be included! When Dr. Cristina Yang is nervous to operate on Callie after a car crash, Owen starts singing the song to her. He does this to keep her calm and the rest of the cast joins in.

Chasing Cars – Grey’s Anatomy

Featuring on numerous occasions on the TV series, ‘Chasing Cars’ is an iconic song on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. It is often associated with key moments on the show. For instance, in one of the biggest and most memorable moments, it is heard as a cover when Meredith bid farewell to a brain-dead Derek Shepherd. 

‘Chasing Cars’ was also covered by the cast during the musical episode of the TV series. However, the very first time it was heard was in the second season’s episode titled “Losing My Religion.” In a devastating moment, fans watched Izzie Stevens cling to the body of Denny Duquette after he died as the song played in the background.

‘Chasing Cars’ served as the second single from Snow Patrol’s fourth studio album, ‘Eyes Open’ (2006) which gained significant popularity in the US after being featured in the second season finale of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

The song is Snow Patrol’s biggest-selling single to date, peaking at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100. ‘Chasing Cars’ received a nod at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007. It was nominated for Best Rock Song. The song was nominated for Best British Single at the 2007 Brit Awards.

Death with Dignity – This is Us

Sufjan Stevens’ song ‘Death With Dignity’ has the perfect effect on its viewers and works both thematically and tonally in NBC’s TV series ‘This Is Us’. The song’s best use comes in the show’s opening moments with the type of light, strumming music. You can’t both watch ‘This is Us’ and then NOT cry your eyes out while listening to this song.

‘Death with Dignity’ features nostalgic lyrics about life, it helps to string together scenes in the show. The light, soft, mellow, and sad song has soothing guitar parts that amplify the emotional efficacy of a scene. ‘Death with Dignity’ is the opening track on Sufjan Stevens’ thirteenth studio album ‘Carrie & Lowell’

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee

The cast of ‘Glee’ did a cover of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ and it turned out to be an anthem of creators Ryan Murphy (‘American Horror Story’‘Hollywood’), Brad Falchuk (‘American Horror Stories’), and Ian Brennan’s (‘The Politician’) musical comedy-drama television series ‘Glee’. The show ran for six seasons. The very first episode saw an amazing rendition of the song featuring the original five members of New Directions. 

It is one of the show’s most prominent songs and has been performed multiple times, including the final performance of the first part of the series finale in Season Six. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ was released way back in 1981, nowhere close to the original release year of the pilot of the show, which was in 2009. Journey chose the song as their opening track on their seventh studio album ’Escape’. True fans of ‘Glee’ will never ever forget the goosebumps they got each time the song was performed on the show.

Forever – Elite

‘Forever’ is a song played during the first season finale of ‘Elite’. This outstanding track from CHVRCHES’ “Love Is Dead” album is one that fans of Netflix’s ‘Elite’ will never forget. The infectious pop song was played during a post-graduation party in the show. This is where the season’s central crime takes place. The song scored the scene that led to a main character’s murder in the first season of the Spanish teen drama. 

Consequently, ‘Forever’ appears in numerous “future” scenes throughout the season leading up to the murder. CHVRCHES’ song was also featured in several episodes throughout Season 3. It was used as a narrative thread ultimately tied to the murderer’s reveal.

The Night We Met – 13 Reasons Why

The closing track of Lord Huron, an American indie rock band’s 2015 album ‘Strange Trails’, became a MASSIVE hit following its inclusion in the TV Series ‘13 Reasons Why’. The song titled ‘The Night We Met’ is played in the fifth episode of Season 1 when the main character, Clay, and Hannah dance together. 

’13 Reasons Why’ was a hit show on Netflix and including ‘The Night We Met’ on it pushed the song towards much success as it entered the record charts in several countries. It was also certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for combined sales and streaming figures exceeding one million units.

This song could be heard everywhere at the time without the help of TikTok, reaching number 5 on US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard) and number 7 on US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard) charts. ‘13 Reasons Why’ featuring the song on their episode brought much recognition to the song and was certified two-times platinum with 2 million units sold.

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