Now that Glee is gone for good, we have some ideas about what songs the show slipped up on by not covering.
Over the course of six seasons, it may have felt like Glee covered every song ever written, but they actually only (only!) managed a handful over 700 musical numbers. A good effort, all told, but we wish they’d made room for a few more.
Season 6 certainly featured some classics that the showrunners clearly wanted to jam in there before the big finish — “Time After Time,” “Mickey,” and “Take On Me” to name a few. But there are still thousands of songs that would have made great additions to the show at some point. Some of Glee’s song choices were perfect, some were questionable, some were confusing. Some launched the careers of lesser known bands and some brought classic artists back into the spotlight of a new generation. Fans will remember various controversies over the years surrounding Glee not getting the legal rights to perform some songs they wanted — Disney, to start with — and of the millions of other tunes out there, well, there simply wasn’t time for everything.
However, they should have made time for these. We take a look at twenty musical numbers that Glee really should have covered at some point.
‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’
Original artist: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Who should have sung it: Finn and Rachel
Why it would have worked: Its’s one of the most beloved male/female duets of all time, and it encapsulates the love, playfulness and passion of Finchel at their best. It would have been “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” all over again. If Finn and Rachel had ever performed this one with that special look in their eye, it would be a fan favorite for sure.
Original artist: Lorde
Who should have sung it: The Unholy Trinity – Quinn, Santana and Brittany
Why it would have worked: This was one of those massive “song of the summer” tunes that Glee often seems to jump on, so it would have fit right in during season 5. Although they weren’t around much that season, we can imagine the Unholy Trinity tackling this song with some nice raspy low tones and harmonies. It also would have worked well for the three season 6 girls — Kitty, Jane and Madison.
‘I Touch Myself’
Original artist: The Divinyls
Who should have sung it: New Directions
Why it would have worked: To quote one of our readers verbatim: “Season 3 should have had an inappropriate assembly number, and it should have been this.” Where is the lie? There would have been so much second-hand embarrassment, but sometimes that’s what Glee is all about — remember “Push It?” A pep-rally performance of this including Blaine Anderson and Sugar Motta? Please, send help. And nobody tell Jacob Ben-Israel.
‘Mr Blue Sky’
Original artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Who should have sung it: The Warblers
Why it would have worked:This song is the epitome of Warblerdom — pop positivity with a vintage twist, and just the ability to put a smile on our faces. Obviously, it’s perfect for an a cappella group — if you don’t fancy the version featured above, you can try out one of these many different arrangements here, here, here or here. One of them even includes percussive foot-stamping — a very Sebastian-era Warblers trend!
Original artist: One Direction
Who should have sung it: Vocal Adrenaline
Why it would have worked: Over the years, Glee gave us a fun version of “What Makes You Beautiful,” an okay version of “Live While We’re Young,” and a horrid version of “Story of my Life,” but “Kiss You” blows all of those out of the water as a dynamic and fist-pumping pop single. The best deserves the best, so we’d make this a Vocal Adrenaline competition number, with a strong guest vocalist and some high energy dance moves.
Original artist: Queen featuring David Bowie
Who should have sung it: One of the male BFF pairings: Blaine and Sam, Jake and Ryder, or Spencer and Roderick
Why it would have worked: This explosive duets is, quite frankly, one of the best songs of all time, and it’s so strongly themed that it could have played a crucial part in some sort of plot-based drama, but it could have worked equally well as a part of a massive competition set. We’d really like to have seen it sung between one of the pairs of male friends, obviously, channeling their inner David and Freddie and hyping up the crowd.
Original artist: Culture Club
Who should have sung it: New Directions 3.0
Why it would have worked: Karma Chameleon is both instantly recognizable and a super fun song to sing, full of gorgeous vocal dips and melismata (look it up, nerds). Mason’s voice in particular would be a joy on this song — a competition winner for sure, and there’s also the opportunity to get pretty crazy with the costumes and styling if it was more of a music video style performance.
‘People Will Say We’re In Love’
Original artist: Broadway’s Oklahoma!
Who should have sung it: Rachel and Jesse
Why it would have worked: Rachel once told Jesse that her three dream roles were Fanny Brice, Evita and Laurey from Oklahoma!. Jesse would make a perfect Curly, so we want to see the pair of them, all married and stuff, star in Oklahoma! on Broadway together, leading to Rachel’s Tony win. Infinitely preferable to the somewhat questionable concept of Jane Austen Sings, don’t you think?
Original artist: Leonard Cohen
Who should have sung it: The entire cast
Why it would have worked: Hallelujah, which has been covered and re-arranged by many artists, including John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Alexandra Burke, is a strange and haunting song often associated with — though not actually about — grief. It would have fit beautifully into many of the show’s graver moments, featuring a lead vocalist — Mercedes maybe — with a choral background from the whole glee club.
‘God Only Knows’
Original artist: The Beach Boys
Who should have sung it: The entire cast
Why it would have worked: It’s surprising that Glee never used this song — even the opening chords invoke a feeling of love, melancholy and togetherness. It should have been a big end-of-episode number, cutting between different characters in different places all contributing to the performance. Ideally, it should have been the closer for “Glee, Actually” — if you’re going to call your episode that, it’s really the least you can do.