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We Are Possessed By the Music of SUPERNATURAL

A few years ago I was in a tiki bar with a gaggle of geek friends. It was your average sort of joint with loud people and even louder music. The fountain smelled like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, stale and chlorinated but oddly comforting. The drinks were strong and had umbrellas. But a funny thing happened. “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas started blaring from the jukebox and as the opening notes played, I could see several people in our group cock their heads and smile slightly at Supernatural’s anthem. We exchanged knowing looks and fell into an intense discussion about the Winchesters.

The songs that have played in the background for the past nine years of Supernatural are an integral part of the series. In the season five finale, Chuck the Prophet talked about Dean Winchester’s beloved 1967 Chevrolet Impala. He called it “the most important object in pretty much the whole universe.” It’s been a constant throughout the series. The vehicle once belonged to John Winchester, and Dean keeps his baby partially as a connection to his father. The music is part of that.

In season four’s “Jump the Shark,” Dean tells Sam, “I mean I worshipped the guy [John Winchester], y’know: I dressed like him, I acted like him, I listened to the same music.” And he still listens to that music. It’s as much a part of who he is as the Impala. Dean does move forward and go about the family business of saving people and hunting things, but he regularly longs for the past. He fondly looks upon his childhood spent wandering from place to place going after demons and worse. Music is a tangible, visitable piece of personal history with which he can cling to John Winchester and little Sammy. The concept is introduced in the pilot of the series when Sam rags on Dean about his cassette tape collection. “Black Sabbath? Motorhead? Metallica? It’s the greatest hits of mullet rock.”


Besides being a concrete part of Dean’s character and memories, the music throughout the series often works thematically to create memorable moments for the audience as well. The songs sometime tie directly into the monsters the Winchesters are fighting–Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” played in season one’s “Faith,” just as Sam and Dean figured out they were facing a reaper. Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” was played in the preview for “Crossroad Blues” in season two when we encountered hellhounds for the first time.

Other times the songs reflect what’s happening in the scenes or how Sam and Dean are feeling. “Carry On Wayward Son” was first used in the penultimate episode of season one, “Salvation.” It played over “The Road So Far” clip montage and has ostensibly become the theme song for the series. Kerry Livgren’s lyrics were written almost expressly to describe the Winchesters. They keep fighting against evil but at the cost of personal happiness and an apple pie life. They deserve a break and peace, and the continued use of the Kansas song makes me hope we’ll see them find it.

A few other scenes are burned into my brain because of the accompanying music. The last moments of the season one finale featured the Winchesters – all three of them – rushing to the hospital. Dean’s serious injuries were enough of a cliffhanger, but suddenly a semi truck came out of nowhere and slammed into the Impala. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival played through the credits, and every time I hear the song I vividly recall the shock I felt when I watched the episode years ago. That sense of overwhelming ominousness.

Fast forward to season two when Dean and Sam were on the run from the FBI and Special Agent Henriksen. The agent was determined to capture the brothers, and they only barely escaped his grasp. Styx’s “Renegade” started playing as the episode’s coda, and it was the perfect complement to the brothers’ predicament as they realized their dire situation.

And who can forget when Dean and Sam had a Bon Jovi sing-along in “No Rest For The Wicked?” It was a necessary moment of levity and just what the audience needs to see between the Winchesters.

Even music from the bloopers has become synonymous with the series. No Supernatural fan can listen to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” without picturing this scene:

The music chosen for Supernatural makes the hits harder and the lighter moments funnier; the tunes are just as important to the series as the Winchesters or that nostalgia-loaded Impala. Scroll to the comments and tell us about your favorite musical moments from Supernatural.

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  1. Luli Moreno says:

    Dean singing Air Suply ! jaja

  2. Falynn says:

    When they played Alice in Chains here comes the rooster at the end of the episode when they solved the case in jail.

  3. Miyuki says:

    Definitely I loved the use of Styx’s Renegade at the end of Nightshifer.
    Heat of the moment in Mystery Spot had to be one of the most memorable and Back In Time used in that episode as well. Golden and priceless.
    And O Death during Death’s entrance. That was just perfect.
    Of course, anything with Carry On My Wayward Son too.
    There are just so many good music moments, it’s impossible to chose!

  4. Katrina says:

    When they used Silent Lucidity by Queensryche in season 2 for the episode ‘Heart’ Anytime I hear that song I think of that episode. So sad.

  5. Tia says:

    I adore the music in Supernatural. It was one of the first things that got me hooked on the show and immediately made me like Dean more and Sam less because of the music tastes. I always feel that “Highway to Hell” fits into a lot of the episodes as they have a lot of moments where they’re going to Hell.
    “Carrie On My Wayward Son” is a double connection because of the lyrics and the fact that it is by “Kansas” where our boys are from. So it ties into their roots as well.
    I thought the songs in “Mystery Spot” were clever. “Heat of the Moment” for the day that would not stop repeating added some irony and “Back in Time” for Wednesday. Funny stuff. 🙂

  6. Redsonja1313 says:


  7. Terry says:

    Eye of the Tiger had me crying laughing so hard!  Whenever I hear that song I think of that lip synch!

  8. Terry says:

    Eye of the Tiger had me crying laughing so hard!  I can’t hear that song now without thinking of that lip synch!

  9. Carmella says:

    Ooooooooooh oh death….

  10. Skip Taylor says:

    Triumph “Fight the Good Fight” towards the end of season 1.

  11. decemberx66 says:

    My favorite is near the beginning of Season 5’s “Dark Side of thé Moon” evendean is remembering setting off  fireworks with Sammy and they play Dylan’s  “Knocking on Heaven’s  Door.” Makes me cry every  time.

  12. decemberx66 says:

    My favorite moment is near the beginning of Season 5’s “Dark Side of thé Moon” when Dean is remembering  setting off fireworks with Sammy and they play Dylan’s “Knocking  on Heaven’s Door.” Makes me cry every time.

  13. stefany says:

    I know. No Asia.

  14. Cichy says:

    One of my favortie was the Gambler in “Weekend at Bobbys”

  15. Haleh says:

    Such a great series up  to and through season 5. and YES, Yes the music was such a part of the episodes. Coolest choices were made too. Thanks for the great writeup. Your friends chill in’ in the bar sound like my kind of peeps. 

  16. jason says:

    I love supernatural , I LOVE IT and all the music is amazing , but that’s just it . recently they have been only playing carry on wayward son and I love that song but I miss when they would play a whole lot more songs through the season. I hope they do it season 10

  17. Tammie says:

    Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple when Dean uncovers the Impala in season 6 (I think). One of my very favorite scenes and love the music

  18. Peg says:

    Def Leppard “Rock of Ages” as Dean rolls up to the big showdown between Michael and Lucifer. 

  19. t y says:

    Jen Titus singing “O Death” was the most powerful moment for me. I could hardly breathe when I saw that for the first time, I was not expecting that.

  20. Wendy Jo says:

    I think season ten first episode the roadway so far should be Rob Zombie’s Devil Man…including the opening of I Know the Supernatural isn’t supposed to happen, but it does happen!

  21. Crash says:

    One of my favorites is at the beginning of season four after Dean climbs out of his grave and is in the gas station, and Billy Squires Lonely is the night starts playing, the song talks about lonely is the night when you find yourself alone your demons come to light and your mind is not your own, lonely lonely lonely you feel your sinking down etc…  perfect choice of song!!! I grew up on the music that they play in Supernatural and it really does go with the theme of the show. I also like the fact that the Winchesters are from Kansas I was born there and have been to Lawrence quite a few times, even though they film in Canada!! I am a big Smallville fan which also takes place in Kansas and had Jensen Ackles on that show for a while, which curiously enough was also filmed in Canada. Awesome show for sure.

  22. Great article! I’ve never before gotten chills from a blog post. Thanks for that. As for a best or at least funniest musical moment, it’s not a classic yet—ghost—ghostfacers!!!

  23. Marina says:

    In Swan Song (5×16 I think) when we see dean’s heaven as setting off fireworks in a feild on the Fourth of July with little Sam and hear Knockin on Heaven’s Door playing in the background. That was definitely the most memorablemusic moment for me. The transition out of that with the jarring bullet shots was also super effective. And the acting was so good and it was so revealing and yeah that is probably my favourite scene in any episode of any show 

  24. Mels Lien says:

    Bad Company and AC/DC’s “Shook Me” are pretty iconic show moments; I always really loved REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling”– and now I miss Jo again. >:(

  25. Audrey says:

    Queensryche, Silent Lucidity at the end of “Heart” Season 2, Episode 17

  26. Alfie says:

    Ooooooh Death… OooOoOoOoooooOooOOOOoh

  27. Jen says:

    I am still waiting for The Supernatural “Album”!

  28. Toni-ann says:

    Heat of the Moment is forever ingrained into my mind when an alarm wakes me up or someone says “It’s Tuesday”

  29. SuperFan says:

    “Cant fight this feeling” by  Reo Speedwagon gave us the laughs.Dean is super funny.

  30. SuperFan says:

    Cool post! We love watching the Winchesters =) my husband recently downloaded their soundtrack. He loves classic rock.But I must say “Can’t fight this feeling” by Reo Speedwagon gave us the laughs.It was historical!

  31. Sally Assinewai says:

    I laugh every time I watch Dean sing “Eye of the Tiger”, and I cried when I listened to “Silent Lucidity” when Sam shot his girlfriend/werewolf.  And yes every time I hear “Wayward Son” I think of the show.  Love the show, love the guys, love the music!  Thanks so much for posting!

  32. Jeff says:

    I like the scene after John dies and Dean has to restore the impala and when he does it’s shows the pimp impala haulin ass down the road as AC DC back in back comes on.

  33. Page says:

    It’s only like that for season one. All the big songs are gone, Don’t Fear the Reaper, Bad Moon Rising. Definitely licensing issues. 

  34. Fan says:

    Dean’s catch phrase is “Son of a bitch”… There’s swearing