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17 Songs That TV Shows Absolutely Ruined For Us

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There’s a certain look someone will get in their eyes when ‘How To Save A Life’ by The Fray is played. There’s a trauma there, a darkness, and it’s either to do with Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, or both.

Many TV shows have ruined certain songs for us now. I’m not talking Glee ruining everything it touches. I’m talking about that moment when you’re innocently listening to Spotify, then a song comes on that transports you back to the dark place of a fictional breakup, tragic moment, or a character’s death.

For shows like Grey’s Anatomy, there are plenty (and we’re not even going to touch the musical episode here which was a tragic episode for entirely different reasons). And our Aussie dramas have had their fair share of moments of ruining songs for us also – though I’m still extremely grateful that Offspring opted to not use a well-known track when Patrick died, otherwise I may have never recovered.

We’ve rounded up songs that TV shows have absolutely ruined for us over the years, due to the emotional journey they forced us on.

Greys Anatomy GIFs | Tenor

#1. Home and Away: ‘Light Surrounding You’ – Evermore

For weeks that felt like years, we didn’t know if Sally would survive being stabbed by Rocco on Home and Away, and it was Evermore’s ‘Light Surrounding You’ that appeared on all the ad breaks leading up to the premiere of the 2007 season. I still can’t hear it to this day without thinking of the angst it gave me, waiting to find out if Sally lived.

#2. Grey’s Anatomy: ‘Chasing Cars’ – Snow Patrol

Can anyone listen to this song without thinking of that moment in season two when Alex had to pry Izzie off of Denny’s body?

#3. Grey’s Anatomy: ‘How To Save A Life’ – The Fray

Another song often repeated on the show from season two onwards for traumatic moments and deaths, it was cruelly tainted once again when it was used to farewell Derek Shepherd.

#4. Packed To The Rafters: ‘Fix You’ – Coldplay


#5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: ‘Goodbye To You’ – Michelle Branch

There was a lot happening here and Michelle Branch’s ‘Goodbye to You’ was all too fitting. The singer is actually in the episode performing as Buffy drowns her sorrows over the news that Giles is moving back to England, and at the same time Tara and Willow break up. Our hearts.

#6. The O.C.:  ‘Hide & Seek’ – Imogen Heap

OK the SNL parody may have made this a lot funnier later on, but at the time Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide & Seek’ playing over Marissa shooting Trey was traumatic… and well, kinda odd.

#7. The O.C.: ‘Hallelujah’ – Jeff Buckley/Imogen Heap

So moody. So much teen angst. The season one finale ended with Jeff Buckley’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ as a sad Ryan departs Kirsten and Sandy’s home to do the right thing by Theresa, and Seth decides to set sail.

Of course, more trauma was to come by reusing ‘Hallelujah’, but with Imogen Heap singing it, when Marissa takes her last breath.

I will never be able to move on.

#8. Neighbours: ‘Last Day On Earth’ – Kate Miller Heidke

This was like the Neighbours version of ‘Light Surrounding You’, except this time someone actually died. Poor Bridget deserved better. Also, I forgot how bonkers her actual death scene was?!

#9. Skins: ‘Alice Practice’ – Crystal Castles

Sid finally gives in to the emotions of his father’s death at a concert and in that moment Tony knew exactly what to do (for once). Still weeping all these years later.

#10. Skins: ‘Wild World’ – Cat Stevens

Skins was filled with tragic moments, but who could forget the jaw-dropping season one finale when Tony is hit by a bus and the cast start singing ‘Wild World’? Did it make sense?! Not really. Does Tony singing, while presumed dead, still terrify me a little? Absolutely.

#11. Fleabag: ‘This Feeling’ – The Alabama Shakes

Fleabag, for its two-season duration, was nearly perfect TV: comedic but emotional, with laugh out loud moments that could just as easily make you tear up. ‘This Feeling’ by The Alabama Shakes will now forever be known for featuring in the final scene, which is simultaneously heartbreaking and life-affirming.

#12. Six Feet Under: ‘Breathe Me’ – Sia

Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ has been used in numerous shows now from Veronica Mars to The Hills to Orange Is The New Black, but it’s most remembered for the emotional series finale of Six Feet Under.

#13. One Tree Hill: ‘Lesson Learned’ – Ray LaMontagne

It may be true that Gavin DeGraw’s ‘I Don’t Want To Be’ reminds us of this show the most, but who could forget the sad vocals backing this hectic scene where Hayley and Lucas nearly die?! So stressful.

#14. Supernatural: ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ — Kansas

Not sure if anyone was really listening to this song before Supernatural’s existence, but there’s no doubt the show has ruined it for many of us later on – it’s played in every season of the show and it’s now impossible to separate the two. The series finale is even named after the song.

#15. The Sopranos: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

The final scene of The Sopranos still has people talking all these years later, and it’s hard to think of previous pub banger ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ in exactly the same way. It cuts to black as the song also fades off, signalling the end of Tony Soprano.

#16. This Is Us: ‘A Little Bit Of Rain’ – Fred Neil

The song playing on Rebecca and Jack’s first kiss, after they both opened up to each other is even more tragic to listen to knowing how short-lived their journey was together, due to Jack’s untimely death later on.

#17. Friends: ‘With or Without You’ – U2

TBH, if we are talking movies Looking For Alibrandi ruined this song for me, but we’re talking TV shows. Fuckboi Ross dedicates this song to Rachel and all looks like it could be forgiven until Rachel decides to cut it off.

If only she did cut off Ross for good.