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21 Best Songs Featured In 'Scandal'

Tara Bitran |
October 29, 2014 | 8:08 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Sit back, relax, and enjoy (@ScandalABC/Twitter)
Sit back, relax, and enjoy (@ScandalABC/Twitter)
Every #TGIT at 9 p.m., you know exactly where to be: sitting on your couch with a generous bowl of popcorn, watching your girl Kerry Washington handle all the White House drama on ABC’s "Scandal." 

But underscoring each jaw-dropping moment our favorite crisis-solver and her team of Gladiators encounter lies the emotional core of the series—the 60s and 70s soul music, picked to perfection every episode by Shonda Rhimes and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas.

Here’s a list of 21 of the tracks that made us cheer and cry for Kerry and Co. from Seasons One through Four.

"It's Your Thing," The Isley Brothers

Featured in the Season One finale "Grant: For the People," "It's Your Thing" by the Isley Brothers triumphantly plays as Olivia and OPA watch White House traitor Billy Chambers publicly fall from grace. 

"Tell Me Something Good," Rufus and Chaka Khan

Always deft with the montage songs, Shonda's choice of "Tell Me Something Good" is no exception, as Olivia and her Gladiators investigate spies that could be leaking information to hacker Sarnoff in Season Two, Episode Six "Spies Like Us."

"Get Down Tonight," KC & The Sunshine Band

Working late at night on a case? What better music is there than KC & The Sunshine Band's classic "Get Down Tonight," which is played as OPA listen to audio recordings taken from future Attorney General (*spoiler alert*) David Rosen's apartment. This song was featured in Season Two, Episode 13 "Nobody Likes Babies."

"I Don't Know Why," Stevie Wonder

The christening. The pianese. THE CLOSET. Need I say more? Featured in Season Two, Episode 14 "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."

"Play That Funky Music," Wild Cherry

Another investigation song. This time, OPA look into the Caldwell brothers in Season Two, Episode 15 "Boom Goes the Dynamite."

"Low Rider," War

This song may appear familiar as the theme from "George Lopez." But in the Scandalverse, "Low Rider" plays as Olivia and her team take on the case of CIA Director Osborne's apparent suicide in Season Two, Episode 18 "Molly, You in Danger, Girl."

"Brick House," The Commodores

Another tune with a disco beat, "Brick House" plays over Huck's flashback to when he first joined B613. Featured in Season Two, Episode 19 "Seven Fifty-Two."

"I Can See Clearly Now," Johnny Nash

Haunting considering the optimism of this song, "I Can See Clearly Now" plays over Huck's flashback to his blissful life with Kim as he simultaneously commits murder for his day, rather night, job through working for B613. This song is also featured in Season Two, Episode 19 "Seven Fifty-Two."

"Higher Ground," Stevie Wonder

Just as Olivia has put her white hat back on and is literally clad in white to go out for a morning jog, she is bombarded with press reporters accusing her of being the President's mistress at the end of the Season Two finale "White Hat's Back On."

"Ain't No Sunshine," Bill Withers

Featured in Season Three, Episode Eight "Vermont is for Lovers, Too," "Ain't No Sunshine" plays over Fitz and Olivia's jaunt to the house he built for her in Vermont, as they yearn for the dream where they would have kids and make jam, while Mellie is back at the White House unable to reach him.

"Try a Little Tenderness," Otis Redding

The classic soul song sung by Duckie in "Pretty in Pink" packs a punch as a montage of scenes culminate in Season Three, Episode Eight "Vermont is for Lovers, Too," closing with Olivia seeing Mama Pope for the first time in years after thinking she was dead.

"Living for the City," Stevie Wonder

Back with some more Stevie, Shonda shocks with a jaw-dropping ending for Season Three, Episode 10 "A Door Marked Exit," as Jake Ballard replaces Papa Pope as Command and Mama Pope calls Olivia from the front of the White House, sending off the show into a winter hiatus with a bang.

"Express Yourself," Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Facing the backlash of Sally going solo as she vies for the Presidency, Olivia and Co. reach out to Fitz' old friend Andrew Nichols to possibly fill the VP slot. Featured in Season Three, Episode 11 "Ride, Sally, Ride."

"Me and Mrs. Jones," Billy Paul

Cued up after a late night tryst in the park between Huck and Quinn, Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" plays over Adnan seducing Harry back at the OPA offices in Season Three, Episode 15 "Mama Said Knock You Out."

"Super Bad," James Brown

Indeed, Mr. "Super Bad" himself Papa Pope struts into OPA to the beat of this song, as he surprisingly arrives to help take down the ultimate Super Bad, Mama Pope, in Season Three, Episode 17 "Flesh and Blood."

"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," The Temptations

Ever a fan of nail-biting finales, Shonda ends the tumultuous Season Three with a montage sequence underscored by The Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," as viewers were left to wonder the fate of OPA's resident smooth operator Harrison Wright (RIP), Mama Pope is left in the hole in B613, and Olivia and Jake fly off into the sun together, all thanks to Papa Pope. 

"Bride Over Troubled Water," Aretha Franklin

In the opening episode of Season Four, "Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia," our four remaining Gladiators (and Jake!) unite from their now separate lives to mourn their dearly departed friend Harrison at his funeral, as they were his only family.

"What's Going On," Marvin Gaye

Heralding another montage sequence in Season Four, Episode Three "Inside the Bubble," "What's Going On" recaps the current state of flux Olivia and Co. feel, as Olivia sits on her couch with her resident glass of wine in hand surely wondering "what's going on."

"I'm Coming Out," Diana Ross

Ever the crisis-solver, Olivia returns to the White House with OPA to help find the two boys with whom First Daughter Karen Grant performed the infamous "Eiffel Tower" the night before in Season Four, Episode Four "Like Father, Like Daughter."

"(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," Otis Redding

Whether you like the vocal stylings of good old Otis or Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley, "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" allows for friendly camaraderie between Olivia's two boyfriends before Fitz turns hostile towards Jake as he tries to force him into confession in Season Three, Episode Five "The Key."

"The Light," The Album Leaf

And last but not least, the Fitz and Olivia theme song. Anytime these two share a dramatic moment (which is often), you know the downbeat of The Album Leaf's "The Light" is right around the corner.

Thank you, and go enjoy #TGIT.

Reach Staff Reporter Tara Bitran here.



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