Top Ten Best Songs on Glee

Yesterday I wrote about why I love Glee and began a list of my 50 favorite songs in honor of the 300th Glee performance and it turns out, also the 50th episode of Glee. For those who think I have too much time on my hands, I have been working on this list over a long time with my Glee playlist on my mp3 player. In 300 songs, the Glee cast has broken a number of records. For the past two years, the Glee Cast has held the world record for the most hit singles in a calendar year. The cast charted 79 Hot 100 singles on the Billboard chart in 2010 (26 in the top 40). So far for 2011 there are 52 Hot 100 singles (12 in the top 40). So far they have 164 Hot 100 singles in total. To put a little perspective on all of this, The next closest is Elvis Presley who had 108 Hot 100 singles in his career and then James Brown with 91, Lil Wayne with 82, Ray Charles with 74, Aretha Franklin with 73 and the Beatles with 71. The next best Year record is the Beatles with 31 in 1964, six of which were number one hits (and two that stayed as number two because the number one hits were their own).

Of course a big help here is the vast number of songs. The Beatles recorded just over 200 songs in their career (not looking for debate here) so about 35% of their songs were Hot 100 hits. For the Glee cast 164 out of 300 is actually over 50% of their songs, so it is remarkable, but Elvis with approximately 700 recorded songs had about the same as the Beatles about 35%. So however you look at it, it is a remarkable record.

A few people asked me how I left off certain songs from the list yesterday. Well some will be below and my first Glee playlist had over 150 songs in it! I tried to chop that down to a list that I could comment on. Perhaps if I made the list now, I would include some other songs and everyone’s listening tastes change all the time. I could never tell you what my favorite Beatles song was and I probably could not tell you my favorite Glee song either.

Now without further ado, here, in a basically chronological order is my Top Ten List! (click on each song title to go to a youtube of the song)

  1. Somebody To Love – This song from episode 5 of season 1 is still in my mind the best group number they ever did. It has been used in multiple flash mobs and lib dubs on you tube from the moment they released it. Queen’s music lends itself so well to choral arrangements and I hope they do some more as the show continues.
  2. Keep Holding On – This song by Avril Lavigne from the movie Eragon never got that far for her (it made it to 17 in the Hot 100 list), but this arrangement and performance on the show was so beautiful. From episde 7 of season 1, I think it comes a close second as the best group number.
  3. Imagine – OK, so this song is perhaps one of the 10 most well-known songs ever recorded. It is gorgeous and haunting at the same time. Given that it is so easy to mess it up. In episode 11 of season 1, New Directions has a sing off with the two groups they will face in sectionals. One of the groups is a deaf school and they start out signing the song with one of them reciting it with just a simple piano in the background. After a few moments the kids in New Directions are so moved that they slowly join in (and stings and orchestra) and sing the song and learn the signing. I was so moved by this performance and I still feel goose bumps when I listen to it. If you have not heard this, please click the list and listen.
  4. Gives You Hell – In Episode 14 , the first after the sectionals, the theme of the songs was “Hello”. Rachel was mad at Finn so she chose to knock off the “o” and led the group with this incredible rendition of this song by The All American Rejects. I know it is an angry song, but it sounds so lively and fun that you just want to roll down the windows and sing out loud with it.
  5. Valerie – Season two episode 9 had Santana lead a song (finally!) . Naya Rivera is perhaps the best singer all around singer on the show and is still underused. Her character is amazing and I think we will see a lot more of her as this seasons progresses. She led the Amy Winehouse version of the Zuton’s song.
  6. Thriller / Heads Will Roll – The attempt in season 2 episode 11 to bring together the football team and New Directions ended with this fabulous mash up of the Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Heads Will Roll. The production included costuming similar to the Thriller music video and sounds amazing.
  7. Landslide – I love Fleetwood Mac and although there was a whole episode devoted to them (season 2 episode 19) this song from episode 15 of season 2 has Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holly Holliday singing the Dixie Chicks version of the song. In the production, Santana is getting ready to confess her love to Brittany and truly feeling like being in a landslide. Her tearful backup is beautiful and very emotional. (Watch this one too!)
  8. I Feel Pretty / Unpretty – Perhaps the best duet of the show this song from season 2 episode 18 has both Rachel and Quinn contemplating the way the see themselves. Quinn, as we discover, was an overweight little girl and Rachel contemplates having a nose job. I Feel Pretty is of course from the Broadway musical My Fair Lady and Unpretty is a song by TLC that talks about woman’s struggle with self image. This is one of the best arranged and best used songs in Glee.
  9. Uptown Girl – Just last week in season 3 episode 5 we got this beautiful arrangement of Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl. It did not drive the plot at all, but the Warblers sounded fabulous and the perfect use of a teacher as the “uptown girl” in the production was genius.
  10. America – Also from last week the school performance of West Side Story goes on and Santana’s incredible lead in America is so powerful, I would love to see her really do the show. They reworked the entire song to fit in both the women and men, but it worked amazingly and the staging was perfect.


So there you have my top ten list. Whether you agree with my choices or not, Glee is still some of the best music being recorded today.



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