The opposite of Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics
- an instrumental tune never intended to have lyrics is given some, often for humorous or ironic effect.
Gaining popularity on the Internet (e.g. Brentalfloss
of Screwattack with Nintendo
game themes, and That Guy with the Glasses
doing it to 1980s cartoon themes), but the practice has been around for a while
- e.g. The Two Ronnies
once did it with a big-band performance of In The Mood
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Anime and Manga
- Charlie Chaplin added lyrics to his theme for A Countess from Hong Kong to make the Petula Clark hit "This Is Your Song."
- Also, "Smile" (a standard popularized by Nat King Cole) was adapted from an instrumental theme from Chaplin's Modern Times.
- It's also been covered by Michael Jackson as well.
- The film My Fellow Americans has both the rival ex-presidents admitting to coming up with their own lyrics for 'Hail To The Chief'.
- Kevin Kline in Dave also has fun with 'Hail to the Chief' while showering: "Hail to the Chief, he's the one we all say hail to..."
- This very NSFW song, set to to the main theme from Jurassic Park.
- When Marvin Hamlisch adapted Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" for the movie The Sting, either he or his lyricist added lyrics. "Now the curtain is going up / The entertainer is taking a bow"
- A version of the old Superman films theme tune was once recorded by an artist named Enrique in France with added lyrics. The song was later resung by an artist named Noam.
- Ennio Morricone and Hayley Westenra's Paradiso consists largely of this.
- In the commentary track for UHF, "Weird Al" Yankovic sings along with the Orion Pictures Vanity Plate: "Orion... Orion... is bankrupt... now!"
- The Lord of the Rings movies have a few examples. In the end credits to Fellowship, after Enya's May It Be there's a version of the Shire theme A Hobbit's Understanding set to English lyrics (see here). The refrain to Into The West, the end credits song to Return, has the tune to the Gray Havens theme. If Elvish lyrics also count, there are quite a few, but one of the best has to be the Fellowship theme as heard at the start of the Battle of the Black Gate.
- On his blog, Lawrence Miles, fandom personality and writer of Doctor Who Television Tie In Novels, has a sidebar giving lyrics to some instrumental themes from the show:
The Words to Well-Known Doctor Who Themes: Although the location-footage music in "City of Death" is instrumental, everyone who hears it instinctively knows that the words are, "Running through Paris, we're running through Paris, we're running through Paris, we're running through France"...
- For a non-comedic example, the last season of Roseanne added lyrics to what had been an entirely instrumental tune for all past seasons.
- The theme tune to The X-Files was a victim. Allegedly the words go: "The X-Files is a show ... with music by Mark Snow..." Whistle it, and be doomed to forever have it in your head.
- Similarly, this clip from the Stargate SG-1 DVD commentary track includes tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Stargate — it's a crazy trip.
You can go quite far,
And you don't need a car
Or even a ship.
- In This Island Earth, an incidental tune plays as the flying saucer's viewscreen returns to normal view. When featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie:
Nor-mal view, nor-mal VIEW, nor-mal VIEW, nor-mal VIEWWWWWW!
- Fun fact: This tune bears a striking resemblance to the Renaissance motet Crucifixus II, by Antonio Lotti.
- This trope was a Running Gag on the series; ie. Fugitive Alien and The Girl in Lovers' Lane ("With Jack E-lan, not Jack La-lanne...")
- "Puma Man, he flies like a moron!"
- The Beast of Yucca Flats: "Coooooolemaaaaan Fraaaaanciiiis...Cooooolemaaaaaan Fraaaaanciiiiiiis!
- Gamera Vs Guiron: "They're gonna ride their bicycles, / they'll disappear into the woods, / it will be days before they're found, / Corn Job will be blamed."
- Hobgoblins: "It's the 80s, do a lot of Coke and vote for Ronald Reagan." They spent the same episode coming up with lyrics trying to figure out just what one song actually said.
- Final Justice: During the instrumental music over the closing lyrics, Tom and Crow devolve into "Eat eat eat eat, eat eat eat eat, munch munch munch munch, chew chew chew chew, gorge gorge gorge gorge, burp burp burp burp — stuff lotsa food in your ... fancy face! Oh yeahhhhh"
- Escape 2000: pretty much every piece of background music was given lyrics containing the phrase "Leave the Bronx". Even the end theme, in which Mike was nearly driven insane by Tom singing "Leeaaaave Bronx, baby leeeeaaaave Bronx..."
- Fugitive Alien: "This is the song written for the train chase/This is the chase, Rocky and Ken/He TRIIIIIED TO KILL ME WITH A FORKLIFT!"
- The theme from Star Trek: The Original Series has lyrics, which have never been used. This was not for humorous effect, but because of the way royalties for songs work in Hollywood. Roddenberry discovered that if a song had lyrics, the lyricist got royalties every time the song was used, even if the lyrics weren't. So, he whipped up some silly romantic lyrics for the theme, made them official, and received a little extra money for every airing of the original series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the movies, and... yeah. This understandably pissed off composer Alexander Courage and caused him to leave the series.
- Roddenberry didn't discover this, Hanna-Barbera did.
- In The Young and the Restless, a version of the theme song with lyrics is sung by Gina.
- For some reason, the French version of the opening theme for The A-Team has lyrics, whereas the original was instrumental only (save for the opening narration). The lyrics did work though - even though they're definitely eighties.
- In a Taxi episode, Reverend Jim is set up on a date with Marcia Wallace of The Bob Newhart Show, and regales her with the lyrics he's composed for the show's theme: "Here comes Bob and Carol/His wife, Emily, really likes him/He has five people in his group..."
- Nick at Nite used to do this in promos, for Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie too, though in at least one of those cases there actually were unused lyrics for the song..
- GSN also ran commercials adding lyrics to the themes from Match Game, Family Feud, and The Newlywed Game. The Feud commercial was actually based on lyrics that a contestant sang to Richard Dawson once.
- The sitcom Buffalo Bill featured Dabney Coleman as the titular Bill, who hosts a morning TV talk show. In one episode, he decided to "spice up" the show by adding his own lyrics to the theme song:
The people 'round here do some talking;
Turn on your T.V. set,
Turn on your T.V. and see!
- A Saturday Night Live sketch had Bill Murray as Lounge Lizard Nick Winters singing the main theme of Star Wars:
"Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars..."
- The Star Wars Holiday Special had Carrie Fisher sing the Life Day song to the tune of the Star Wars theme...
- In one of the Academy Awards, Will Ferrell and Jack Black added lyrics to the song played when a speech gets overtly long.
- Eddie, from the late 90's sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, came up with a get rich quick scheme that involved invoking this trope. One theme he added lyrics to was the Sanford and Son theme.
- "Live show, it's a 30 Rock live show. It's 30 Rock live!"
- Some fans of Game of Thrones have come to associate these lyrics to the incredibly catchy theme song:
Time to watch, Game
Game of Throoooones...
- According to Joss Whedon on one DVD commentary track, the theme song to Angel goes "Angel iiis a vampire/Who fiiights criiime with hiiis friends..."
- A sketch in Harry Hill's TV Burp has Harry declare to the audience he's discovered the words to the Emmerdale theme tune, which involves the characters singing the names of different sauces.
- A non-comedic example: Eino Grön, a Finnish singer, once put the theme to words under the name of "Kotona Taas" (Finnish for "Home Again").
- Irish singer DANA once sang a version of the theme to Brookside with lyrics. The name of the song is unknown and it was never released.
- In 1999, MAD ran an article titled "11 Ways Jeopardy! Contestants Can Really Piss Off Alex Trebek". Number 11 was "Sing along to the "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music".
Contestant: This is Final Je'par-dy,
Having trouble WITH this cat-e-gory!
To-day's champ—it won't be me!
Don't know Greek myth-o-lo-gy!
Hope my friends don't watch the show,
Or they'll see there's NUH-thing that I know and
I'll look like a total heel.
Wish instead I'd gone...on...Wheel! DUM DUM!
- Blake's 7 had lyrics to its iconic theme tune written for the revamped credits for the fourth and final season, to be sung by Stephen Pacey. As you can see, they suffered from a pretty serious case of Lyrical Dissonance given the increasingly bleak and cynical tone of the show and the idea was dropped. If any test recordings were ever made, they appear not to have survived.
- Manhattan Transfer did this with the Twilight Zone theme.
- Allen Sherman's classical-music parodies, including his best-known work, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (to Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours").
- The Megas is a band devoted to this; particularly the classic Mega Man 2 games. Their album "Get Equipped" covers all the songs from Mega Man 2, and they are working on some songs from number 3. Oh, and both the lyrics and music are actually very good.
- The series itself did this in the third Mega Man Star Force game, where the theme song, Shooting Star, was given lyrics that were sung during one of Sonia's concerts. Sadly, it only showed up in text form and wasn't actually sung...
- The Adventures of Duane & BrandO is in the same vein as The Megas, though with more of a focus on the protagonists than the villains. They are most well-known for their youtube videos for such games as Final Fantasy and Mega Man 2 (over a million hits for FF!). They're damned good.
- As an example, The Amazing Brand O sets lyrics to the Song Of Storms; one of the most iconic instrumentals from Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time:
First some wind, then some rain
Then a fuckin' hurricane!
We're all gonna die! Time to say goodbye!
Holy crap! What the shit?!
I am twelve and what is this?!
We're all gonna die tonight!
- In Flanders and Swann's "Ill Wind," the singer laments the theft of his French horn to the tune of a Mozart French horn concerto.
- This is, more or less, the entirety of the genre of vocalese. Manhattan Transfer's version of "Birdland" (an instrumental composition by the jazz fusion band Weather Report) is a good example.
- Barbershop example: the Gas House Gang ('93 world champs) did this by putting a plot summary of Mozart's The Magic Flute to the much-more-well-known tune of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
where the dinosaurs are free-ee
- Hoagy Carmichael originally wrote "Stardust" as an instrumental—and a ragtime piano solo, at that—and the lyrics were added later by Mitchell Parish. Nowadays, the words and music are generally regarded as having always been together.
- Pianist Floyd Cramer wrote "Last Date" as an instrumental. In 1960, Skeeter Davis and Boudleaux Bryant wrote lyrics, and Skeeter recorded the lyrical version as "My Last Date with You". Later on, Conway Twitty wrote his own lyrics as "Lost Her Love on Our Last Date", which was later Covered Up by Emmylou Harris as "Lost His Love on Our Last Date".
- ES Posthumus's first album was fully instrumental. Their second album included lyrics in a Latin derivative.
- Stevie Wonder wrote "The Tears of a Clown" as an instrumental but couldn't come up with any lyrics. Smokey Robinson thought it sounded like a circus, and obliged.
- It's more rap than singing, but Sweetbox's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" was Bach's Air on the G String turned into R&B.
- Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist best known for Fiddler on the Roof, was commissioned to write lyrics to Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" in the late '50s, but his lyrics(known as "The Man with the Sign") were all but forgotten. The theme of his lyrics, that the freedom to express unpopular points of view is important to a Democratic society, may have been too controversial for the era of Joe McCarthey. His lyrics tell about a lone protester carrying a sign, and how the singer, while vehemently disagreeing with the protester's views, supports his right to protest, since it means he is free. You can read (most of) the lyrics here.
"But the man with the sign's a friend of mine
All alone in his proud endeavor
And as long as I fight for this man's right
That's the glory of the stars and stripes forever.
Yes, the man with the sign's a friend of mine
All alone in his proud endeavor.
For the sign says to me, "This man is free!"
That's the story of the Stars and Stripes Forever."
- Of course, the Stars and Stripes Forever has a much better known set of "with lyrics" attached to it. "Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck maybe somebody's muh-ther..."
- Singer Helmut Lotti has written lyrics to several classical music pieces.
- Duke Ellington: It's reported that the Signature Song "Take the 'A' Train" was originally written with lyrics, but the earliest recordings of the song were completely instrumental and the lyrics were apparently lost or discarded. The Delta Rhythm Boys ended up recording a version of the song with their own lyrics. Independently, the 17-year-old Joya Sherrill also came up with lyrics for the song; when she sang them for Duke, he was so impressed that he hired her as a vocalist and adopted those lyrics.
- Orbital: The Box EP ended with a vocal version of the title track, with Grant Fulton and Alison Goldfrapp singing.
- "A Lover's Concerto", which is sung to the tune of "Minuet in G" by Christian Petzold.
- Bob Keeshan, AKA Captain Kangaroo, narrated a children's record of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite". Lyrics telling the story are given to each piece. For example, the famous "March" comes on when the toys (mostly stuffed animals) come to life; it begins with: "Dogs followed by cats and kangaroos/all marching along in step by twos..."
- The Brian Setzer's Orchestra's "One More Night With You" provided lyrics for a swing arrangement of Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King".
- The Beastie Boys' joke song "The Biz Vs. The Nuge" samples the first half-minute of Ted Nugent's "Homeward Bound", with Biz Markie singing along to the guitar riff.
- A common treatment to previously instrumental trance anthems, such as Darude's "Out of Control(Back For More)"(featuring Tammy Marie), Tiesto's "(Sub)Urban Train"(featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw), Rank 1's "Breathing(Airwave 2003)" and "It's Up to You(Symsonic)"(both featuring Shanokee), and Armin van Buuren's "Shivers" (featuring Susanna, originally "Birth of an Angel").
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra frequently does this. Notable example, "Christmas Canon", based on Pachabel's "Canon in D".
- Straight No Chaser's "Christmas Can-Can", to the tune of The Galop from "Orpheus in the Underworld" features these lyrics:
"Come, let's all do the Christmas Can Can,
If you can't, can't dance then that's okay.
(Not gonna do the kickline)
All you need are a tree, some lights,
About a thousand presents, wrap them up and pray for snow.
- Ditto for "Kick the Can" by Bus Stop and "Can Can World" by Makkeroni.
- TV's Kyle wrote lyrics for the music from Super Mario Bros. 2, found here.
- Ferry Corsten produced a lyrical version of his previous single "Punk" titled "Junk", with rapper Guru. "Galaxia", an early production by him under the alias Moonman (later remade under his own name), also had a vocal version.
- Energy 52's "Cafe del Mar", their sole song of note, was lyricized by Fragma as "Man in the Moon".
- Calexico, at some of their live shows, would take their instrumental "Frontera" and perform it with the lyrics from their song "Trigger".
- Tori Amos released Night of Hunters in 2011, putting lyrics to some classic pieces, along with new arrangements and some of her own additions.
- Jazmine Sullivan's "Dream Big" is basically just her singing over Daft Punk's "Veridis Quo".
- Decoded Feedback's "Soultaker" was originally released as an instrumental on the Deluxe Edition of Aftermath, then rereleased on Diskonnekt with lyrics performed by Claus Larsen.
- Here are some lyrics for music from Double Dragon by Bonecage.
- Pop-punk group Supernova sort of did this with their cover of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme - the "lyrics" are the title of the movie repeated over and over.
- Solarstone's "The Last Defeat, Part 2" is a lyrical version of "Part 1" from the previous album.
- Coldplay's "Life In Technicolor II" adds lyrics to the original, instrumental "Life In Technicolor".
- The Crystal Method's song, "Vapor Trail" was given some vocals and a guitar riff by Ozzy Osbourne and DMX for, "Ain't Nowhere To Run".
- WFMU DJ William Berger added lyrics to the instrumental Joy Division B-Side "Incubation", affectionately parodying the band's melodramatic streak by doing an Ian Curtis impression while singing about chickens hatching in an incubator.
- In 1990, The Pixies released an instrumental called "Velvety Instrumental Version" as a B-Side to the single "Dig For Fire". Twelve years later, Frank Black revived the song with his then-current band The Catholics and added new lyrics, calling it simply "Velvety".
- Futurecop!'s "Starworshipper" appears to be a vocal remix of their earlier instrumental "Tonight's Hero".
- Stunt's "Raindrops" and Starstylerz' "Keep on Moving" are lyricized versions of Sash!'s "Encore Une Fois" and "Ecuador", respectively.
- The legendary X vs. Zero theme in Megaman X5 now has lyrics, sang by three famous seiyuus with a number of popular nico video singers! Here it is, complete with an amazing PV. Full version here. Now prepare to shit bricks. It's X vs. Zero theme taken Up to Eleven.
- Actually, the entire Rockman Holic album is composed of several Classic Megaman and Megaman X remixes, where most of them have lyrics.
- "Omoide wa Okkusenman!" (aka, the BGM for Dr. Wily's level from Mega Man 2, given lyrics by a still yet unknown individual) is one of the most memetic examples of this — Even JAM Project's gotten in on it
- The arranged soundtracks for 9 and 10 have vocal versions of each game's ending theme. The one for 10 ups the ante by arranging the three Special Stage themes into a single epic vocal piece.
- Brental Floss was mentioned above for his work with Nintendo music, including Zelda, Kirby, Dr. Mario, and Tetris.
- Link! He come to town!
- Touhou is a game of stage music and boss music and can not avoid this. The sheer amount of lyrical remixes to themes has rewarded its fans with such things as:
- Done by Taku Yoshioka Squad, "It's Kill or Be Killed" is a remix of the main theme of No More Heroes, "N.M.H.", with lyrics added. Originally done for the Dark Side remix album, the song was used in the game's sequel. Another remix of the song with lyrics, a Japanese punk rock song "NO MORE RIOT," was also made for the album and used in the sequel.
- The albums Final Fantasy: Pray and Final Fantasy: Love Will Grow give lyrics to instrumental themes from the series.
- Pig With The Face Of A Boy took the Tetris theme and put the history of the USSR to it. Though, to be fair, the original folk song (Korobeiniki) did have its own lyrics. Still counts, though!
- Ōkami has beautiful music, but except for the ending song, it's all instrumental. However, one video on YouTube has Vocaloid singer Gakupo adding lyrics to arguably one of the most beautiful tracks in the game.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's musical composition started with Todd Howard calling up Jeremy Soule and saying he wanted the traditional Elder Scrolls theme "as if it were sung by a barbarian choir". Throw in some lyrics in Draconic sung by said barbarian choir and you have the main theme music for Skyrim.
- Zero Division made a rock version of the theme song from the C64 game Deflektor.
- A few songs from the Ys franchise got this treatment, for example, "The Morning Glow" was rearranged into the Award Bait Song "Endless History" and used for the credits of the anime adaptation.
- Cynthia's battle theme from Pokémon Black and White was rearranged into "battle gene M"
- Gourmet Race has been given this treatment.
- Serving as a Theme Tune Cameo, the Mass Effect 3 love theme is sung by Tali, if she was romanced by the player, in the Citadel Downloadable Content; she mentions that it's the main theme of the Show Within a Show, "Fleet And Flotilla".
- Reflec Beat has two songs by TAG that get this treatment from DJ YOSHITAKA: "Diamond Dust" and "Unlimited Fire". Both songs are labeled as the "Try to Sing Ver."note and credited to "TAG rejected by DJ YOSHITAKA".
- YouTube user Goldentusk has a series of videos giving lyrics to movie theme tunes such as Jaws, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Terminator, Halloween, Batman, Superman, Back to the Future and LOST.
- YouTube user Hyadain2525 has an entire profile on this, crafting new songs out of familiar tunes. What gets really creepy is that he apparently provides all the voices through vocal modulation — even the female song parts. Further searches on YouTube can easily provide English subtitles for these songs. In some cases, it's an improvement to know the lyrics. Others, not so.
- YouTube user Tobuscus has a series of videos titled Literal Trailers in which he adds lyrics to trailers that are nothing but explaining what's going on on the screen. Many of these videos have more total views than the trailers they parody, and have made him into a featured performer at gaming conventions.
- Moosebutter's tribute to Star Wars, most widely known through Corey Vidal's lip-synched video.
- The Legend of Zelda by Joe Pleiman (not System of a Down).
Link, he come to town
Come to save the Princess Zelda
Ganon took her away
And now the children won't play
But they will when Link saves the day
- Brentalfloss does a more comedic version, wherein the Old Man urges Link to save princess Zelda in order to get laid (as tries to sell him the strategy guide while he's at it).
From here to over there,
You'll find Ganon's lair.
C'mon it's your destiny!
Trust the hero inside
But if you're terrified
Purchase the strategy guide
From me. (Fourteen dollars, also tax, here ya go now.)
- Many Let's Play videos have the player singing along to a theme from the game being played:
I'm going to play Majora's Mask
And I'm gonna suck at even the smallest task
But I know you guys
Probably won't seem to mind
So I'd better get off my behind
My behind, my behind, my behind now
- That's not the only time he's done that, either. NCS makes up his own lyrics on the spot to at least one song in every game he plays, usually during a point where he doesn't have much to say. Most of the time these lyrics involve taking a dump on the toilet.
- And from both him and Chuggaaconroy: "You got a thiiiiiing!"
- DeceasedCrab sang the "Jellyfish Song" over the Bonus Stage music in Jaws.
- Freelance Astronauts:
Ferr: (singing, to same tune)
You lit the torch like I said!
- In Jabu-Jabu's belly, Maxwell discovers a cow that's not embedded in the interior wall of the chamber it's in, Maxwell plays a song to get milk, and pipes! sings along to it. First, he mistakenly plays Saria's Song ("I'm gonna milk you and it's gonna be okay because it's in..."), then he gets it right with Epona's Song:
pipes!: Give me milk, give me milk, / even though your udders are in standing water!
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- A number of video game tunes have been given lyrics by the remixers at Overclocked Remix: "Dreams Come True", "Permutation", "Tororian Love Song", "The Incredible Singing Robot", "Summertime", "The Place We Know", "Forever Until Tomorrow" and Darkness Dawning are among the results.
- "This is not Roy's Castle" is a version of this for the Super Mario World castle music, and is surprisingly catchy.
- The Theme from the Dark World song (by the same maker as the Roy's Castle song)
- And, of course, the rawest version of the Forest Maze theme from Super Mario RPG.
- The song the letter Y sings in the first Charlie The Unicorn is sung to the tune of "Clarinet Polka".
- I Can't Believe It's Not AVGN, a series of commentaries about The Irate Gamer, added lyrics to the show's theme tune:
Irate Gamer's not a gamer
Irate Gamer sells to people
Crappy DVDs and T-shirts
Irate Gamer is a pee-hole
- At the end of the Zero Punctuation review for Guitar Hero World Tour, Yahtzee included an Easter Egg consisting of him adding lyrics to the theme tune of Deus Ex, highlighting all the pros and cons of the game, and adding a few Take Thats at Ion Storm.
- While they already have lyrics, it's become something of a minor meme on /m/ to come up with English versions of various Humongous Mecha Anime Theme Song lyrics. Original thread is archived here. The GaoGaiGar one at the beginning is particularly epic.
- Final Fantasy's "Chocobo Mix" gets lyrics in this Final Fantasy Tribute.
- YouTube user Brentalfloss has a series of With Lyrics songs put to various video game melodies.
- "Comic Bakery" by C64 tribute band Press Play On Tape turns the (instrumental) opening theme of the Commodore 64 game Comic Bakery into a Boy Band song.
- The main theme to Rad Racer became the main theme to the 20X6 anime from Homestar Runner.
- The Newgrounds short "Indiada Jodes", an attempt to summarize Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2 1/2 minutes, ends with a lyrical version of the Indiana Jones theme. ("Indiana/Freakin' Jones!/Indiana/Freakin' Jones kicks ass!")
- Glove And Boots' "The History Of Television" is mainly a medley of these, though they also used new parody lyrics for a few TV themes that had lyrics to begin with.
- Caustic Critic AllieRX87's review of Transformers Convoy No Nazo has made-up lyrics to the one stage theme repeating throughout the game:
Takara made a game
About Transformers, but it's really lame.
Straight from the get-go, this game...is...
This game is beyond broken....
Takara, what the fuck were you smokin?
Convoy no Nazo is....
I'm running out of lyrics....