Over the weekend, AMC aired a Molly Ringwald marathon, which included classics like Pretty In Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. It also made us quite nostalgic. These films, among many others, are all united by a common thread: great music.
To celebrate and pay homage to this music supervision niche, we’re going to explore some of these legendary soundtracks. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing our favorite syncs from our top “coming-of-age” films and TV series, beginning with (now superstar director) Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks.
Freaks & Geeks Top 5 Syncs
Do you remember the glory days of TV? Okay, maybe not glory days, but glory show, certainly. We’re referring to Freaks and Geeks. The wonderful show that expertly captured the quintessential high school experience on film...in the '70s.
It covers every clique, every car, every hairdo, every awkward high school moment, and of course, every.single.classic song of the decade. According to MentalFloss.com, the show’s music took up most of the production and featured mega acts like Van Halen, KISS, and The Who.
In fact, and also according to MentalFloss, Fox “removed most of the music when it picked up Freaks and Geeks re-runs to avoid paying extra fees.” Considering the music was that vital to the F&G narrative, it’s assumed the music supervision and clearance team would be comprised of seasoned pros.
Headed by the music supervisors behind Mean Girls, Garden State, and Erin Brockovich, Buck Damon and Amanda Scheer-Demme, the duo was assisted by at least five additional supervisors. Below are our five favorite examples of their handiwork!
1. Bad Reputation - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Not to be obvious, but Joan Jett’s title track can’t be overlooked. Listed as “composer” on IMDb.com Jett’s title track literally screams teenage angst, and couldn’t be a more perfect opener for the series. With recognizable cut-to-commercial cues as well as a full placement as title track for each episode it’s only logical Jett be considered a composer on the series.
2. No One To Depend On - Santana into Jesus Is Just Alright - Doobie Brothers
This one’s a two-fer, so it’s kind of cheating, but not really because we had intended to only feature the unavoidable Doobie Brothers track and then realized that the series actually segues from Santana seamlessly to “Jesus Is Just Alright.” What more could you want?
This one is a stellar sync because everyone remembers Millie sitting at the piano during the Halloween party flatly belting “Jesus Is.Just.All.Right.With.Me. Jesus is just alrighttt” joined shortly after by a “drunk” Jason Segal. It’s an incredible integration of a perfectly awkward pop track and the diegetic film world.
3. Gonna Raise Hell - Cheap Trick
This was a cool placement because it was featured throughout the episode a few times as a feature with lyrics, and other times as just instrumental background (not to be confused with non-diegetic underscore).
This one’s also from the Halloween episode, as is the next track only because that episode was loaded with major placements and seemed to act as a mid-season finale. Anyway, this track accompanies the characters “raising hell” in various ways throughout the show, and matches the angst associated with Lindsay’s clique and with the title track.
4. Janis Joplin - Maybe
Again from the Halloween episode, this track was perfectly placed to depict Lindsay’s heartbreak. For a character like Lindsay, there can’t be a cheesy break-up song; it has to be hip and cool, but not too badass (as we would expect for Daniel’s character). So casting a powerful female rock voice singing about heartache is about as good as it gets.
5. Squeeze Box - The Who
We borrowed this one from MentalFloss because they had a great clip demonstrating the prominence and plot-interaction of this track with Lindsay and Sam’s parents. The scene is a full-blown feature where the focus is actually on the music, and where we get somewhat of a title card with Mr. Weir holding and folding over the album on a close-up.
It’s an iconic song and fit perfectly as a signifier of the changing music landscape during the '70s - the parent’s reactions to the “noise” are hilarious and the acting is absolutely on-point to support the narrative.
Phew, those are our top five favorite syncs from Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks.Whether or not you are an existing fan, a new fan, or an on-the-fencer, we hope our top five at least get you started on an excellent series that features stellar music throughout every episode (Led Zeppelin opens the series as a character intro soundtrack!). Stay tuned to MusicSupervisionCentral.com over the next several months where we’ll be bringing you loads more of our favorite syncs from all those, now legendary, coming-of-age films.