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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best 'Glee' Songs

The songs in the hit TV show 'Glee' mirror the lives of the students and teachers at McKinley High. Focused on the school's glee club, New Directions, the Golden Globe Award-winning series features show-stopping renditions of chart-topping hits as well as classic show tunes. Below, we count down the 15 Best 'Glee' Songs from Season One. To hear even more music from 'Glee,' tune in to 'Glee' Radio!

Charlie Chaplin
McKinley High's musically-talented social outcasts all seem to find themselves drawn to New Directions. Chaplin's classic tune -- originally sung by Nat King Cole in 1954 but performed as a lovely, harmonic cast number in the episode 'Mattress' -- can even cheer up the unpopular folks whose photos are bound to be doodled in the high school yearbook.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Papa Don't Preach'
Before 'Glee' tackled an all-Madonna episode, Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) and Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling) perform an acoustic 'Papa Don't Preach' in the episode 'Hairography.' The energy of the 1986 dance-pop track is replaced by a low-key sincerity that follows the pregnant cheerleader-turned-glee club member's storyline.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Gives You Hell'
Winning show choir competitions may be the primary focus for the kids of 'Glee,' but that doesn't mean they can't work some teen angst into their routines. In the episode 'Hell-O,' Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) delivers a bitter, emotionally-charged farewell to longtime crush Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) singing AAR's punchy 2008 kiss-off hit.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Like a Prayer'
The group's interpretation of Madge's 1989 hit may not have the scandal of the original (no burning crosses here), but it does have the pizzazz. Backed by a gospel choir, the finale of the episode 'The Power of Madonna' features multi-cast solos, including contributions from new member Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff), formerly the male lead from competing team Vocal Adrenaline.
iTunes | Lyrics

'A House Is Not a Home'
Growing up is tough, especially when only one parent is around. When cast member Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer)'s dad hits it off with Finn's mom, a new idea of family arises. In the episode 'Home,' Kurt performs a sweet solo of the 1964 Warwick ballad to represent love and loss, while trying to convince Finn to accept their parents' relationship.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Any Way You Want It / Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin''
During a seamless mash-up of Journey hits, New Directions bring Season One to a close with sparkle and spunk. The songs, released in 1980 ('Any Way You Want It') and 1979 ('Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'), celebrate the group's commitment to competing at Regionals, even though the odds are stacked against them -- Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is judging, the then-pregnant Quinn's water breaks and celebrity judges Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John are swayed by Aural Intensity conveniently performing Groban and Newton-John tunes.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Bad Romance'
When Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) has a bit of an identity crisis in the episode 'Theatricality,' she -- along with the glee club's other female members and Kurt (Chris Colfer) -- naturally turn to the genius of Lady Gaga. While the performance of the 2009 hit is certainly memorable, the cast's costumes are also noteworthy, particularly Tina's bubble-adorned outfit and Rachel's Kermit the Frog-inspired dress.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Don't Stop Believin''
As part of the previously mentioned Journey mash-up at Regionals, the 1982 classic is considered both Journey's signature song and the heart of the glee club, who first tackled it on the show's pilot. In fact, the 'Glee' take on the tune was released as a single and certified gold, achieving over 500,000 digital sales. Although they don't take the prize during the season finale, the group is rightfully euphoric after their performance.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Dream On'
While plenty is going on with the New Directions in the episode 'Dream On,' the stand-out performance of the same name focuses entirely on Coach Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and Bryan Ryan (Neil Patrick Harris), a former McKinley High glee club member. The pair sing a powerful duet of the Aerosmith rock ballad when they decide to pursue their dreams of auditioning for a local theatrical production.

'Over the Rainbow'
Will and Puck put an acoustic, Jason Mraz-like spin on the feel-good song in 'Journey,' the season finale. The rest of the glee club members are very touched by the duo's performance, as the 1939 Judy Garland/'Wizard of Oz' classic sets a sense of optimism around the rehearsal room. Fittingly, it's at this time that the group finds out that their club will live on during the following school year.
'Total Eclipse of the Heart'
After putting herself into an unlikely love triangle, Rachel finds herself leading an emotionally-charged rendition of the 1982 Bonnie Tyler song. The scene, which takes place during the episode 'Bad Reputation,' features the worthy vocal performance, lots of feeling and an angry -- if a bit awkward -- ballet number.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Defying Gravity'
'Wicked' Cast
Both Rachel and Kurt wow their fellow glee club friends in a diva-off on the episode 'Wheels,' while auditioning to sing this song -- which initially gained popularity in 2003 as the main number from the musical 'Wicked.' Interestingly, Broadway's version of the track was recorded by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, both recurring characters on 'Glee.'

'Sweet Caroline'
Much of the 'Glee' spotlight often centers on Rachel, Finn and Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), but in the episode 'Mash-Up,' Puck -- fleetingly trying to impress Rachel -- gets a shot at his first solo with the 1969 pop hit. Story has it that Diamond was hesitant to license the song to the TV show, but loved the end result.
iTunes | Lyrics

'Somebody to Love'
The complex 1976 Freddie Mercury-penned tune gets the choral treatment in the episode 'The Rhodes Not Taken' -- and the 'Glee' kids nail it. The ensemble performance, which brings Rachel back into the club to share lead vocals with Finn after a hiatus, proves that the show must always go on -- and that the group really knows how to rock.

While three Journey tracks have already made the countdown, the glee club seals its tribute to the band most successfully with the 1983 song. The tune opens their Regionals selection, which goes on to include 'Any Way You Want It,' 'Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'' and 'Don't Stop Believing.' Before Cory begins to sing, he and Rachel share a look in a private backstage moment that assures that everything will be all right for them and the club.