To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.
Whether you hate “Easy Street,” love “Easy Street,” or both love it and hate it because you just can’t get the undeniably infectious tune out of your head, it’s a fact that the song is among the most memorable tunes ever featured on The Walking Dead. We’ve rounded up some of our other most favorite musical moments from the series, including that perfect last song from the pilot, a totally unexpected Bee Gees number, and the song we’ll never be able to hear again without thinking of Sonequa Martin-Green and the late, great Sasha.
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Someday We’ll All Be Free (Season 7, ‘The First Day of the Rest of Your Life’)
There’s certainly never a bad time for a Donny Hathaway song, and while this R&B classic resonates with listeners for a lot of different reasons, it will remain haunting to fans of Sasha, and the fantastic Season 7 finale performance of her portrayer, Sonequa Martin-Green, as the song that comforted the character through her decision to make the ultimate sacrifice so that her friends might live to fight another day.
Lyrics: “Hang on to the world as it spins around/Just don’t let the spin get you down/Things are moving fast/Hold on tight and you will last…Take it from me, someday we’ll all be free.”
Tip Toe Through the Tulips (Season 6, ‘Start to Finish’)
Sam Anderson was an endearingly odd kid, but it’s still memorably strange that this is the 45 he put on his record player as he laid on the floor in his bedroom, coloring disturbing photos of the things he’d seen post-apocalypse as a stream of ants marched in through his window. After the episode aired, Scott Gimple told Yahoo TV, “I think it was just the weirdness of the song, that made it a fun choice.”
Lyrics:“Tiptoe through the window/By the window, that is where I’ll be/Come tiptoe through the tulips with me.”
Spicks & Specks (Season 5, ‘Forget’)
The Bee Gees song wasn’t chosen for its lyrics, though some of them absolutely resonate with Rick’s character, who’s strolling through Alexandria, checking out the state of affairs and the wall surrounding the community as the newly appointed constable when the upbeat number starts playing at the end of “Forget.”
“I just always loved that Bee Gees song,” music supervisor Thomas Golubic told Yahoo TV in 2015. “There was something very beautiful and interesting and weird about it. When we were working on the episode, and we got to the very weird ending, [showrunner Scott Gimple] wanted to do something unusual… For whatever reason, Scott felt like it worked, and that’s how we got there.”
Lyrics:“Where is the sun/That shone on my head/The sun in my life/It is dead/It is dead” and “Where is the girl I loved/All along/The girl that I loved/She’s gone/She’s gone.”
The Walking Dead Theme by Bear McCreary
The cast and crew have undergone many changes, but ever since the pilot episode back in 2010, those familiar, menacing notes have signaled a new post-apocalyptic adventure with Rick Grimes and company. In an official video blog, composer Bear McCreary details creating the “very agitated, very aggressive and energetic” opening of the theme, which he calls a “little, burrowing earworm that I wanted to get stuck in the back of your minds.” Mission accomplished.
Space Junk (Season 1, ‘Days Gone By’)
If you only know them as the “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”guys, you might be surprised to find out it’s Wang Chung singing this perfect ending tune in The Walking Dead. “Welcome to my world, welcome to my only world,” the British new wave group sings as the camera zooms out first on the walkers feasting on the horse Rick road into downtown Atlanta, then on the tank the bewildered Rick’s hiding in, the one also covered with walkers trying to get inside for a little Grimes snack.
Lyrics:“My head is full of space junk/But your words are getting through/I’m riding on the space junk/And it’s bringing me to you,” the song plays, right after Glenn contacts Rick inside the tank via radio, famously calling his new friend a “dumba**.”
Action Packed (Season 6, ‘The Next World’)
Ronnie Dee’s rockabilly tune is what Rick pops into the car’s CD player — much to Daryl’s annoyance — when the BFFs embark on their “Butch and Sundance” supply search road trip. Again, a grumpy Daryl’s not a fan, but the song has Rick snappin’ his fingers in what is — relatively speaking — the lightest, funniest episode of the series.
Lyrics: “I wanna lay it on the line/’Cause everything I do/I wanna do it in double time/When I take a ride in my car/I let ‘er roll/I like to feel that wind in my face/Nice and cold… ‘Cause when I take a ride in my car/It’s gotta be action packed.”
Crying (Season 7, ‘The Cell’)
Roy Orbison’s emotional classic can make you sob under the happiest of circumstances, so even though it’s literal, it’s still the best choice for the soundtrack to the scene in which Dwight ramps up his torture of Daryl by sliding a Polaroid of Glenn’s bashed in head into Mr. Dixon’s cell at the Sanctuary.
Lyrics:“I’d been crying over you, crying over you… Alone and crying, crying, crying, crying.”
Weeds or Wildflowers (Season 6, ‘No Tomorrow Yet’)
Parsonsfield’s energetic song that plays while Carol is gathering acorns in the woods outside Alexandria so she can whip up a batch of the acorn and beet cookies that the townsfolk seem to enjoy. Carol can, ever so briefly, put her violence-filled world out of her mind, or at least pretend to, while she’s in Cardigan Carol mode. Though, as the “Weeds or Wildflowers” lyrics capture spot on, “I had a pure potential in a soiled white shirt”; Carol was wearing a crisp white shirt while gathering the acorns, until she had to stab a walker and spray her top with blood.
The episode’s director, Greg Nicotero, told Yahoo TV after it aired that the song playing over the Carol-in-the-woods montage made it feel like Carol was in her own series. “The music definitely takes it to a different place,” Nicotero said. “I really love that she wants to be that person, but she’s struggling. I really think that for her, that’s the hardest thing in this world. So she sits up and makes a list of the number of people that she’s killed. You can tell that she’s trying. But she’s struggling hard.”
Lyrics:“I came along to find a little peace of mind/Neglectin’ all my duties, stepping off that straightened line.”
Easy Street (Season 7, ‘The Cell’ and ‘Hostiles and Calamities’)
The upbeat tune from The Collapsible Hearts Club factored in two episodes in Season 7: one in which its repeated play is intended to torture Daryl Dixon while he’s being held prisoner in a cell at the Sanctuary, while, later in the season, Eugene nods his head along with the song when it plays on the stereo in the food, books, and videogame-laden private room he’s given at the Sanctuary. It’s a fun, dual use of a peppy number that, according to Norman Reedus, wasn’t easy to find.
“I was talking to one of the producers… and I was like, ‘What song are you using?'” he told Yahoo TV last year. “They were saying it’s really hard to get a song for that scene, and I go, ‘Why?’ and they go, ‘Because nobody wants to have their song play over a torture scene.’ I didn’t really think of it until she told me.”
Lyrics: “We’re on Easy Street/And it feels so sweet/’Cause the world is but a treat/When you’re on Easy Street.”
Up the Wolves (Season 4, ‘Still’)
Not only is the music a little lighter at the end of what had been an emotionally heavy episode, but the lyrics are perfectly in sync with the fact that Daryl has worked out some painful memories from his childhood, and he and Beth are now burning down the cabin that reminded him of his unhappy home as a symbolic sign that he’s ready to move on.
Lyrics:“There’s bound to be a ghost at the back of your closet/No matter where you live/There’ll always be a few things, maybe several things/That you’re going to find really difficult to forgive.”