Saying goodbye is often hard, especially when it is a television series that you have been binge watching for weeks or months. Fans usually rave about the writing or actors in their favorite shows, but I am sure it’s no surprise that I focus on the music. Here is a list of my 10 favorite songs in series finales:
1. Breaking Bad Baby Blue by Badfinger
I started watching this show specifically because I wanted to see the series finale (entitled “Felina”) and the final song, Baby Blue. My musician friend John started to work it out on his guitar, so of course I wanted to learn all about the song. I was hooked by the show almost immediately and was mesmerized by the fantastic writing, binging on multiple episodes every day for two weeks. I may have been a little dark and morally ambiguous by the last couple of days. Incidentally, this song led me to my new favorite Pandora radio station, the Badfinger station.
2. Freaks and Geeks Ripple by The Grateful Dead
I found Freaks and Geeks on Netflix and savored every episode of their one season. I thought the finale told such a compelling story of how these characters had grown and expanded their horizons throughout the series. “Discos and Dragons” had the cool kid role playing with the geeks, the frustrated rock drummer branching out into disco dancing, and the good girl taking a walk on the wild side. The Grateful Dead seemed so appropriate for Lindsey’s next chapter. I found a great version of this song that is part of the Playing For Change movement, which takes musicians from all over the world and puts them together playing popular songs,
3. The Sopranos Don’t Stop Believing by Journey
The last scene in The Sopranos finale, “Made In America”, had many shaking their heads. People wanted some closure, not a cliffhanger that would never be resolved. For fans of the show, whenever this song by Journey plays, they will recall the diner and the mini jukebox it played on during that last scene.
4. 7th Heaven You Got It by Roy Orbison
“Goodbye” (Part 1) and “And Thank You” (Part 2) was originally intended as the series finale (in season 10). 7th Heaven made a last minute shark jump to another network for one more season, but for most diehard fans, this WAS the finale. At the end of this episode, there was a montage that included the opening credit shots from season 1 and shots of the actors as they appeared in season 10, set to the music of Roy Orbison’s You Got It.
5. Parenthood Forever Young by Bob Dylan
“May God Bless And Keep You Always” (lyrics from the theme song) was the series finale that all the Parenthood fans were hoping for. The final scene at the baseball field was a nice throwback to the original Parenthood movie starring Steve Martin. The theme song by Bob Dylan, Forever Young, was performed during the finale by Rhiannon Giddens & Iron & Wine, as the Braverman clan played one last baseball game with Zeke. The game was interspersed with flashforward scenes that showed where each part of the family ended up.
6. Friday Night Lights Devil Knows You’re Dead by Delta Spirit
It’s no secret to anyone that I love me some Kyle Chandler. I have followed him for years and faithfully watched each episode of Friday Night Lights, even though at first I thought it was mostly about football. I quickly realized that the show was about so much more. As fans got closer to the series finale, whether they cheered for the Dillon Panthers or the East Dillon Lions, everyone wanted to see how it would all end. Just like Parenthood (also created by jason Katims), viewers were not disappointed. Although it is not shown which team wins in the final showdown, everyone can see where the major players of the show end up, making us all winners. I loved that this old Irish blessing seemed to bless every character I had to say goodbye to.
7. Glee Daydream Believer by The Monkees
In “Dreams Come True”, the Glee series finale, writers and creative directors faced the daunting task of finding new and compelling music for the characters to wrap up their lives in a neat little package. The final product turned out to be a nice mixture of reprising music from earlier in the series, and new songs to showcase how the characters have grown. My favorite scene is when Kurt and Blaine, who have become Broadway stars in the future, appear at an elementary school, singing Daydream Believer by The Monkees. Here is a video from The Monkees, and I do not know which I love more, the fancy footwork and groovy dance moves displayed by Davy Jones, or the awesome tambourine playing by Mickey Dolenz.
8. One Tree Hill I Don’t Wanna Be by Gavin DeGraw
Most people know Gavin DeGraw from the popular song “I Don’t Wanna Be”, and he shows up on One Tree Hill more than once to perform their theme song. In the finale of season 5 he sings the song with the youngest regular cast member, Jackson Brundage, who played James Lucas Scott. Here’s the snippet of that show:
Fastforward 5 years and he appears in the series finale giving a concert at Tric, the fictional nightclub on the show, with the cast members singing along in the audience. Fun fact: during Season 9, each week the song was performed in different musical styles by various musical acts. Here’s that final concert at Tric and other scenes from that last episode.
9. October Road Keep On Rolling by REO Speedwagon
The title of this finale, “As Soon As You Are Able”, is from REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Rollin’. In high school, this group of friends had gotten together most Saturday afternoons for some serious air band practice, The summer after graduation, the main character leaves for 6 weeks in Europe and then doesn’t comes back. Upon his return to the Ridge 10 years later, he has a lot of bridges to rebuild and his own life to fix. it is fitting that the series ends on this note, with that core group of friends’ performing’ this song. Some of my favorite lyrics of all time, “If you’re tired of the same old story, turn some pages.”
10. Seinfeld Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
“The Finale” was an amazing undertaking, bringing so many bit characters and episodes together in a two part finale. For a show about nothing, there sure were a lot of great guest stars and inside jokes to pack into one hour! A perfect song to match this final over the top adventure with the way fans felt about the antics of this foursome over the years is one called “Good Riddance” by Greenday. It is more popularly known by the refrain, “Time of Your LIfe.” My friend Vinnie from Day Ja Voo sings this song and I just love it.