Rock songs that became popular after being featured in TV shows + movies



There are plenty of songs that had modest success on the charts when they were initially released, but received a significant boost later when featured on a TV show or in a movie. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 30 when it was released in 1985, but thanks to foreign things the song is currently #3 on the maps. (Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard’s Global 200 as of August 1.)

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a hit on its initial release and has gone through multiple upgrades over the years after being featured in Wayne’s World and the biopic Queen named after the track. In fact, it’s one of the very small lists of songs to have a place on the charts in three different decades.

When you hear the songs below, you can’t help but imagine the opening credits or scene from the TV show or movie they were used in. For example, once you hear the opening notes of “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” by Bob Seger, the Risky business scene with Tom Cruise sliding on the floor in his socks, underwear and a dress shirt is forever etched in your mind. Or when new fans hear Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” now, they can probably imagine Eddie Munson’s epic performance in Upside Down from stranger things.

Here’s a list of rock songs that became popular (or popular again) after being featured in TV shows and movies.

  • “Puppet Master” – Metallica

    Used in: “Stranger Things”

    Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” landed a spot on the Spotify Top 50 Global Chart after the stranger things Season 4 finale aired. The character Eddie Munson performed the song in Upside Down in an effort to help defeat Vecna, the villain of the Netflix show. The song saw a 5,000% increase in searches on Google the day it stranger things the final is out.

  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

    Used in: ‘Wayne’s World’

    Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” revisited the charts 16 years after its initial release when it appeared in a scene from Wayne’s World where Mike Myers and Dana Carvey sing and butt heads with their friends in their “happy mobile”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the few songs to ever hit the charts in three different decades.. The third appearance came with 2018 Bohemian Rhapsody Biopic of Freddie Mercury.

  • “Old Time Rock & Roll” – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

    Used in: “Risky Business”

    Bob Seger’s ‘Old Time Rock & Roll’ returned to the charts five years after its release when it was featured in the film Risky business. In the famous scene Tom Cruise sings and dances to the song in his underwear, button down shirt and socks after his parents left him alone for the weekend.

  • “The Woman” – The Doors

    Used in: “The Doors”

    The Doors’ “LA Woman” was already enjoying some resurgence after Billy Idol covered the song in 1990 on his A charming life album. But Doors-mania kicked into high gear a few months later in March 1991 with the film directed by Oliver Stone. The doors the biopic has arrived. According Ultimate classic rockthe ’90s film “created a near-’60s frenzy around the band for a few months”.

  • “Where is my Mind?” – pixies

    Used in: ‘Fight Club’

    For some reason the Pixies never released “Where Is My Mind?” as a single, but when used in the closing scene of fighting club, the song’s popularity soared. The track was also featured on Veronique Mars, Leftovers and Mister Robot. The haunting nature of the song seems to resonate with movie audiences. Pixies frontman Black Francis gets licensing requests for “Where Is My Mind?” every “eight or nine days”, depending ABC News Radio.

  • “Do you want to taste it?” -Wam wig

    Used in: ‘Peacemaker’

    Although Wig Wam was dropped by their agency a few days before Peacemaker was released, their song/intro went viral after the show featuring John Cena was released. “Do you want to taste?” took the #1 on iTunes Rock Chart right after the Season 1 finale.

  • “(Fear Not) the Grim Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult

    Used in: ‘Saturday Night Live’

    Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” Was Part of a Classic Saturday Night Live sketch based on VH1 behind the music series. In it, Will Ferrell was the band’s primary bell player, with Christopher Walken as the band’s producer, who became increasingly passionate about using the instrument in song. The catchphrase “more cowbell” lives on forever because of the song’s role in the hilarious skit, and for a period after the skit aired, there was a bump in the song’s prominence in pop culture.

  • “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

    Used in: ‘Iron Man’

    Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” was featured in the 2008 film Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. Although already legendary, the song “got another boost” after being included in the blockbuster, something that Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler was said to have been delighted with. sound louder.

  • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Travel

    Used in: “The Sopranos”

    Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” was already a classic, but now it’s hard to think of the song without remembering classic HBO closing moments. The Sopranos. Tony Soprano chooses the song on a jukebox in a restaurant, he then hears someone enter the restaurant, looks up and the screen goes black. Downloads increased by 482% after the series finale aired.

  • “Stuck in the Middle with You” – Stealers Wheel

    Used in: ‘Reservoir Dogs’

    Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’, a ’70s Top 10 hit, was forever immortalized in ’90s film reservoir dogs during a scene in which Mr. Blonde happily tortures a cop by dancing to the song. The track’s popularity continued to grow as singer Louise later covered the song and she landed the No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart in 2001. Another cover of the song serves as the theme song for the Netflix show Grace and Frankie.

  • “I won’t be fooled anymore” – The Who

    Used in: ‘CSI: Miami’

    The songs of The Who were used in all five ITUC series and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was the theme song for Expert: Miami. The importance of TV song queues has not escaped singer-guitarist Pete Townshend, who recounted rolling stone“With the use in ITUC, damn!… These are some of the best songs The Who have ever recorded. They were on TV again and again and again. It just reminded people that we were still here. I think that probably helped us come back.”

  • “My Sharona” – The Talent

    Used in: ‘Reality Bites’

    “My Sharona” by The Knack was featured in the film Reality hurts a movie directed by Ben Stiller with Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. In a memorable scene from the film, the characters ask a mini-market clerk to turn up the song and then break into a dance. The film’s soundtrack was one of the most popular of the 90s, with “My Sharona” playing a big part in the hit, according to Ultimate classic rock.

  • “Want to Live” – Iggy Pop

    Used in: ‘Trainspotting’

    Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’ became popular after being featured in the movie Trainspotting with Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller. The song was written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie, and although it was released in 1977 he did not reach a chart peak from #26 in the UK until 1996, when Trainspotting came out of.

  • “When is it soon?” – The Smiths

    Used in: ‘Charmed’’The Craft’

    “When is it soon?” by the Smiths was published in 1984 but gained popularity after a reprise of the song was used on the TV show Charm with Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty, Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs. He landed a spot on the US Billboard Top Soundtrack Chart and was also used in movies The job and Cruel intentions.

  • “Something in the Way” – Nirvana

    Used in: “The Batman”

    Nirvana’s ‘Something in the Way’, released in 1991, landed at No. The Batman with Robert Pattinson.

  • “Secret Garden” – Bruce Springsteen

    Used in: ‘Jerry Maguire’

    Bruce Springsteen’s “Secret Garden” charted for seven weeks in 1994 and re-entered the charts about two years later, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart after being featured in the film. Jerry Maguire. The song was even released with dialogue from the movie.

  • “In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel

    Used in: “Say Anything”

    Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” added to its popularity by re-entered the charts after being used in the iconic scene of say anything where John Cusack plays the song on a boombox he is holding in front of his ex-girlfriend’s window. The song, which peaked at No. 26 after first appearing on Gabriel’s 1986 album, So, then returned to No. 41 in 1989 after say anything was released in theaters.

  • “We Were Friends” – The Dandy Warhols

    Used in: ‘Veronica Mars’

    Dandy Warhols’ “We Used to Be Friends” did not chart in the US after being the lead single from the band’s 2003 album Welcome to the monkey house. But the track got a second life once it was used as the TV show’s theme song. Speedwell March with Kristen Bell. It was also used in an episode of CO and in the video game FIFA Soccer 2004.

  • “Good Riddance” – Green Day

    Used in: ‘Seinfeld’

    Green Day’s “Good Riddance” was already a hit, landing at No. 11 on the charts after its release, but Seinfeld gave the track its second wind. The song was used for an episode of the series Highlights of Seinfeld as the series neared its finale. It was also used later in the show Emergency room and during the PGA golf tour and the World Cup according to sound louder. The track also gained traction as a popular prom and graduation song in the late 90s.

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