Since Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie materialised on our screens over 29 years ago, we’ve seen it all: killer babies, evil dolphins taking over the world, completely unqualified astronauts going to space, and hundreds of celebrity cameos. But the Simpsons moments that have stuck with us forever are the unforgettable — and surprisingly well written — musical numbers. Get your headphones ready, because we’ve picked out our favourites.
Cut Every Corner
‘If nobody sees it, then nobody gets mad / It’s the American way!’
Shary Bobbins is the Mary Poppins parody we never knew we needed. Every song in this musical episode is a perfect Poppins pastiche, but “Cut Every Corner” has to take the winner’s (flat) cap. A spoof of “A Spoonful of Sugar”, the arrangement of this little number, from the perky instrumentation to Bart and Lisa’s cute interjections, evokes the splendour of the Disney classic without ANY of the moral messaging. It’s the ultimate ode to laziness and goes out to everyone who would rather do a “half-assed job” than ACTUALLY tidy their house. So, basically everyone.
Baby On Board
“I’m telling you it’s mighty nice, each trip’s a trip to paradise / With my baby on board!”
Homer’s had a colourful past, and one of his best stories has to be his brief stint in ‘The Be Sharps’ — back in Springfield’s barbershop quartet phase of 1985. In this delightful episode, we see the unlikely vocal group evolve (sorry Chief Wiggum, Barney has some PIPES) along with a glimpse of Homer’s fatherly affection for Lisa in his hit single “Baby on Board.” The band’s rendition on the rooftop of Moe’s, reminiscent of The Beatles’ 1969 rooftop concert, is surprisingly nostalgic and delivers a true Simpsons anthem.
We Do (Stonecutters’ Song)
“Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do!”
As far as secret society songs go, this is up there with the greatest. Emmy nominated for outstanding individual achievement in music and lyrics, it might just be the catchiest tune in this entire list. Raise your tankards and sing along to the rousing hit which celebrates everything annoying about the world — and the cult that made it so.
See My Vest
“Like my loafers? Made of gophers!”
The second Disney parody in the list — this time based on “Be Our Guest” — Mr Burns delivers this showstopper with evil gusto. Gallivanting around his walk-in-wardrobe sporting various bizarre animal furs, Burnsy is Springfield’s answer to Cruella De Vil. Although his grizzly bear underwear is scarred on to our retinas forever, it’s 100% worth it to hear him rhyme ‘poodle’ with ‘noodle.’
Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?
“Homer’s a delightful fella / Sorry ‘bout the salmonella.”
Apu might have lost his livelihood, but that doesn’t stop him from belting out this classic musical number. Another Emmy nominated song, “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?” is not only a shining moment for Apu, but a masterclass in finding words that rhyme with ‘Kwik-E’ — sticky, sicky, hurl a bricky, etc. And let’s not forget Apu’s plaintive rooftop reprise: “Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? I doooo!”
“Is there a chance the track could bend? / Not on your life, my Hindu friend!”
Despite the town’s Main Street being in dire straits, travelling monorail salesman Lyle Lanley convinces Springfield to spend all their money on a monorail system instead. How? Through the power of a group song, of course. From the earworm chant of “monorail, monorail, monorail” to the infectious 1920s ragtime piano, to the chorus processing down the steps of the town hall, Lyle has Springfield — and the rest of us — sold. Sorry Marge, the mob has spoken.
We Put the Spring in Springfield
“We’re the sauce on your steak, we’re the cheese in your cake, yes we put the SPRING in Springfield!”
It’s Marge vs. the mob again as she tries to destroy Springfield’s illicit burlesque house, the ‘Maison Derrière’. In a desperate bid to keep the establishment alive, Homer leads a show-stopping cabaret number which unveils that Springfield citizens of all generations hold the place close to their hearts. The finger-tapping Dixieland tune sees memorable turns from Abraham Simpson, Mayor Quimby, Chief Wiggum and even Nelson Muntz — and when the song gives way to a high-kicking jazz finale, we’re all on the side of Belle and her showgirls. Keep the Maison Derrière ALIVE.
Those are our top seven, but there are countless others to choose from — honourable mentions go to “Talkin’ Softball“, the “Mr Plow” jingle and “Dr. Zaius” from the infamous Planet of the Apes musical. Let us know your favourites over on The Simpsons Wiki.