These days, Family Guy may be better known for it’s musical numbers than a show like The Simpsons but in its time The Simpsons had had some real winners. They even did an entire episode devoted to their penchant for music numbers. With The Simpsons again putting out quality episodes after a rather lengthy dry spell, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to look back over the shows best and most memorable musical numbers. Let’s jump in!
10: Canyonero Song
Episode: Season 9 Episode 15 “The Last Temptation of Krust”
Original Air Date: February 2, 1998
It was hard to come up with just ten songs for this list because The Simpsons have done many, many amazing numbers but I knew without a question this song had to be on the list somewhere. Performed by Hank Williams Jr. this song really serves to illustrate the point the episode itself drove home – Krusty will put his name on absolutely anything if you pay him enough money.
09: Senor Burns
Episode: Season 7 Episode 1 “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”
Original Air Date: September 17, 1995
Mr. Burns is shot and it seems every citizen of Springfield is a suspect. So to is legendary musician, Tito Puente. Naturally, upon realizing Tito is a big time celebrity, he becomes Chief Wiggum’s prime suspect in the crime. He heads over to the club where Tito is working with his band and questions Tito about his feelings about Mr. Burns. Tito’s response? This spicy, salsa number which instantly became a classic Simpsons tune.
08: Your Wife Don’t Understand You, but I Do
Episode: Season 3 Episode 12 “Colonel Homer”
Original Air Date: March 26, 1992
When Marge loses her temper with Homer while watching a movie in Springfield’s theater, Homer’s feelings are hurt and he turns to alcohol for comfort. He winds up at a country bar where a waitress named Lurleen Lumpkin (voiced by Barbra Mandrell) takes the stage and sings a song that sounds like it could have been written for Homer. Before long, Homer is Lurleen’s manager and Marge is not happy. This is the song that started it all.
07: Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart
Episode: Season 5 Episode 13 “Homer and Apu”
Original Air Date: February 10, 1994
Apu gets fired from the Kwit-E-Mart? How could such a thing happen? With a little help from the Simpson family, of course. After Homer effectively causes Apu to lose his job at the Kwik-E-Mart, Marge and Homer take Apu into their home showing him for the first time that there is life outside of the convenience store. Apu seems to be adjusting and even sings this little number about how he doesn’t need the Kwik-E-Mart although the family soon learn Apu is just putting on a brave face, or as Homer puts it – Apu “lied to us through song.”
06: Happy Birthday, Lisa
Episode: Season 3 Episode 1 “Stark Raving Dad”
Original Air Date: September 19, 1991
The Simpsons isn’t exactly known for its thoughtful, emotional episodes but this one was definitely one of those episodes and this song was the centerpiece. When Bart throws his lucky red hat in with the white laundry, dying Homer’s classic white shirt pink, Homer is sent to a psychiatric hospital where he meets none other than Michael Jackson – or a fellow named Leon Kompowski who pretends to be Michael Jackson. While Bart clearly doesn’t believe Leon is Michael, he does allow Leon to help him write a song for Lisa’s birthday. Great episode. Great song.
05: Baby On Board
Episode: Season 5 Episode 1 “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”
Original Air Date: September 30, 1993
Oh the B Sharps. What a ride they had. From forming in Moe’s Tavern to their quick rise to stardom to their equally quick descent, their story really had it all. While the entire episode was excellent in every conceivable way, the real star of this is the song that launched their career – a surprisingly catchy and well crafted tune that will now be stuck in my head for days.
04: We Put the Spring in Springfield
Episode: Season 8 Episode 5 “Bart After Dark”
Original Air Date: November 24, 1996
Homer tried to do the right thing and punish Bart for his bad behavior the way Marge would but as with most things Homer does, it didn’t go exactly the way Homer planned. When Marge learns her son is working in a burlesque house, she isn’t pleased and rallies the town to destroy the house. Plans change thanks to this spirited number which just happens to be one of my all time favorite Simpsons songs.
03: The Monorail Song
Episode: Season 4 Episode 12 “Marge vs. the Monorail”
Original Air Date: January 14, 1993
I don’t think there’s anything to dislike about the monorail song and the episode in general. From the golden age of The Simpsons, this song came along to show us viewers at home how a decent song can sell the citizens of Springfield on just about anything – even if that thing happens to be something they know nothing about. While the whole monorail thing didn’t exactly work out for Springfield, it did give us one of the greatest songs ever on The Simpsons.
02: See My Vest
Episode: Season 6 Episode 20 “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”
Original Air Date: April 9, 1995
After Santa’s Little Helper and his lady love get busy on the racetrack (and about a million other places), the Simpson family winds up with more puppies than they can possibly take care of. When they decide to give them away to good home, they’re understandably concerned when Mr. Burns offers to take them all. Bart and Lisa head to Burns’ manor to investigate after the puppies go missing and witness Mr. Burns singing this tune. Of course everyone knows Mr. Burns is an evil, soulless old man that does whatever he wants just because he can. This is not something he tries to hide. Even so, the idea that he had an entire collection of clothing composed entirely of various animals was unexpected – and hilarious in an incredibly twisted and wrong sort of way. I am an animal lover but even I can’t resist singing along with this one every time I hear it.
01: We Do (The Stonecutters Theme)
Episode: Season 6 Episode 12 “Homer the Great”
Original Air Date: January 8, 1995
When Lenny and Carl get up to some sort of secret shenanigans and Homer isn’t invited, it becomes his goal in life to find out what’s going on and to figure out a way to wiggle his way into it. Mission accomplished. Not only are we treated to one of the best episodes The Simpsons has aired to date, we’re also treated to an awesome tune. The Stonecutters Theme had everything a a song on this show needs. It’s funny. It’s completely absurd and it’s catchy as hell. I don’t think The Simpsons has ever done a bad song and dance number but this one is absolute perfection on every single level.
Honorable Mentions: The Themes
As I mentioned, it was hard to pick just ten songs for the list so I had to cut out a lot of great stuff, especially some of The Simpsons greatest theme songs. Check them out below!