There are many staples that have defined Supernatural over the years. Long drives, back roads, flannels, dive bars, and greasy spoons are all things that combined to give the show its very specific, back roads Americana vibe — well, that and ganking monsters of course.
However, one of the most integral aspects that has defined the show has been the music. You can’t picture the Winchesters without thinking of the classic rock soundtrack that accompanies their gritty lifestyle. Many moments in the show have become synonymous with the background tracks that were playing as the moment unfurled on our screens. With these tracks being such a big part of the Supernatural experience, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best music moments throughout the entirety of this magnificent series.
Disclaimer: There was no possible way to fit 15 years worth of incredible music into this one tiny article, so forgive us if we missed a few.
“(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” – 1×12, “Faith”
“Faith” has been a fan-favorite episode of Supernatural for years, and it’s easy to see why. It contains a monster of the week that illuminates the differences in Sam and Dean’s worldviews. As the brothers desperately try to figure out how a con artist is exchanging lives in order to “heal” the sick, we see a lone female jogger running through the woods as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult plays. Turns out the culprit is a Reaper, and as the terrified woman dies we cut to a sick man being saved onstage at the faith healing. It’s the perfect song for the moment that shows how terrifying the Reapers are.
“I Am the Fire” – 13×10, “Wayward Sisters”
Badass women, badass intro music. “I Am the Fire” by Halestorm has become an important song not just to the Supernatural fandom but to the Wayward Sisters movement in particular. A song about not letting the past decide your fate, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a montage of our favorite wayward women kicking ass and taking names. While the backdoor pilot was never picked up to series (which we are still mourning), “I Am the Fire” has endured as the unofficial theme song of the wayward sisters.
“Ordinary Life” – 15×20, “Carry On”
What’s left after killing God? An ordinary life … sort of. In the series finale, we see Sam and Dean doing everyday things as “Ordinary Life” by Van Morrison plays. It’s a great song on its own, but coupled with shots of Sam going for a run or Dean playing with Miracle, it adds depth to the montage. The brothers finally have their mundane life without God pulling the strings … but it won’t stay that way for long.
“Space Oddity” – 6×09, “Clap Your Hands If You Believe”
Fight the fairies. That’s all we have to say. That, and clap your hands to thank the music supervision team for licensing David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity” for a two second music cue.
“Running on Empty” – 15×19, “Inherit the Earth”
This montage was so perfect it almost felt like the series finale itself. As Sam and Dean drive off into the literal sunset in Baby, we see a montage of the many people who have been important to both they and the fans for 15 years. But the lyrics of “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne paint the picture that there’s still something missing: “You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find/(Running blind) Running into the sun, but I’m running behind.” Sam and Dean are off to an uncertain future, but they’ll face it together.
“Renegade” – 2×12, “Nightshifter”
In my humble opinion, this scene is one of the best moments in the early days of the Winchesters’ misadventures. Back when one of Sam and Dean’s highest priorities were avoiding the police (simpler times), this scene found the boys confronted with quite a conundrum: after saving a bank full of innocent people from a shapeshifter, the boys found themselves with the feds on their tails. Narrowly escaping in some stolen SWAT gear after incapacitating its owners, the Winchesters book it back to the Impala to the tune of this song, narrowly escaping from the police’s clutches. The somber beginning of the song, paired with Dean’s apt assessment of their situation (“we are so screwed”) before the music crescendos into the chorus, lends the scene an aura of incredulity that leaves viewers so painfully aware of the trouble the brothers have just managed to get themselves into.
“Heat of the Moment” – 3×11, “Mystery Spot”
“Rise and shine, Sammy!” Any true fan of the show instantly gets PTSD from hearing this song on the radio, but we love it nonetheless. The tune that signaled yet another day beginning in Sam’s infinite time loop, induced by none other than Gabriel (A.K.A The Trickster) himself, became infamous amongst fans very quickly. “Mystery Spot” boasted quite a few funny moments (“do these tacos taste funny to you?”), but the audience eventually came to realize that every time this song played marked yet another Tuesday for Sam; the younger Winchester was reliving one hell of a waking nightmare, slowly losing his sanity trying (and failing) to save his brother. Despite the darker aspects of the latter half of the episode, the tune is largely associated with a good laugh as we see Dean cheerily waking his brother up for yet another Tuesday morning.
“Night Moves” – 11×04, “Baby”
This beloved Bob Seger tune marks one of the best brotherly moments in the entirety of the series. The particular scene would go down in Supernatural history as a fan-favorite, something that can in part be attributed to the choice of the musical accompaniment. We normally see Sam and Dean continually reaffirm and forge their bond through fire, having one another’s backs when ganking monsters — saving people, hunting things, the family business. However, this touching scene in the unique episode “Baby” (shot from the perspective of the Winchesters’ vehicle) gave viewers a glimpse into the brothers’ lives in their more mundane moments, road tripping through the backways of America in the Impala, eating crappy diner food, and generally enjoying each other’s company without the looming threat of danger hanging above their heads. The tune gives the scene a warm and lighthearted feeling, proving once again that the Winchesters’ true home is with each other, with Baby’s seats against their butts and her tires scraping the road.
“Eye of the Tiger” – 4×06, “Yellow Fever”
So this technically isn’t a scene from the show, but the Supernatural gag reels taken alone could have odes written unto themselves, so we’re gonna give that tiny detail a pass. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles being their usual goofy selves in a moment of filming led to one of the most iconic bloopers in the show’s history. Waiting for his partner to enter the scene (spoiler alert, it doesn’t happen) leads Jensen to give a performance that fans and crew alike will never forget, jamming out to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” in an increasingly performative manner once he realizes that all eyes are on him. Incorporating some rock-star moves and even a little scratching from his character’s ghost sickness affliction in the episode, Ackles firmly cemented this moment in the hearts of many with his natural humor and charm.
It was physically painful to not fully feature some of these. Despite our limitations, we wanted to give them a little taste of the spotlight they deserve.
“Smoke on the Water” – 6×02, “Two and a Half Men”
“Goodbye Stranger”- 8×17, “Goodbye Stranger”
“Bad Moon Rising” – 1×22, “Devil’s Trap”
“Beautiful Loser” – 6×01, “Exile on Main St.”
“Highway to Hell” – 1×01, “Pilot”
“God Was Never on Your Side” – 14×10, “Moriah”
“Rock of Ages” – 5×22, “Swan Song”
“Road to Nowhere” – 1×18, “Something Wicked”
“Silent Lucidity” – 2×17, “Heart”
“Walking on Sunshine” – 7×20, “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”
“Simple Man” – 5×03, “Free to Be You and Me”
“Wanted Dead or Alive” – 3×16, “No Rest for the Wicked”
“Oh Death” – 5×21, “Two Minutes to Midnight”
“Shake It Off” – 10×12, “About a Boy”
“The Famous Final Scene” – 15×01, “Back and to the Future”
“Fare Thee Well” – 11×20, “Don’t Call Me Shurley”
“Carry on Wayward Son” – Literally Almost Every Finale Ever
And finally, we have the main event — you didn’t really think we’d leave this one out, did you? Give us some credit guys. This unofficial theme song of the fandom has become synonymous with the name Supernatural. Fans around the world recognize the importance of this song that signals the close to each subsequent chapter in the Winchesters’ lives. The song’s strong ties with the show (and the band Kansas’ musical prowess, of course) has lead it to be blasted innumerable times on the show, at cons, and in the homes of fans as the Winchesters’ unofficially official anthem. The lyrics have always aptly captured the feel of the show as well as exemplified one of the most prevalent central themes — until their dying breaths, the brothers would fight to help people and do the right thing. Hearing those fateful lyrics play for the last time was truly an experience that fans will never forget.
Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more
While Supernatural‘s ending was bittersweet, fans can find comfort in the fact that after all of their toil and sacrifice, the brothers are finally at peace. These fantastic musical accompaniments have given the show some of its most transcendental moments. If there’s one thing that fans can be certain of, it’s that they’ll never forget how some of Supernatural‘s most profound music moments made them feel. Whenever you’re feeling down about the show ending, sit back, put on some classic rock, and keep the Winchester legacy alive by revisiting some of these favorite moments.
Authors: Kenedi, Jules
What are your favorite music scenes from the show? Let us know in the comments! Special thanks to Brianna for her gif making assistance.