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Awesome Music / Looney Tunes

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Hoo boy, where to even begin with this series?! When they weren't making you laugh right out loud, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies lived up to the latter half of their names with a massive, captivating library of unforgettable music. Literally half the series was made just to promote the Warner Bros. vast music catalog, and the whole series is loaded with many classic songs! Not to mention for the bulk of the series, you had Carl Stalling, one of the most emotional, energetic composers who ever lived. Even the B&W cartoons were loaded with wonderful songs!



     Series Themes 
  • "Merrily We Roll Along", unofficially known as the theme of the entire franchise (but was used as the opening for Merrie Melodies, and it wasn't made for the cartoons). Notably, "Merrily" was the central song for the mid 1930's short "Billboard Frolics", before it actually became the theme of the Merrie Melodies! And before that, it was performed in a play of the same name by Eddie Cantor, who co-wrote the song.
  • "The Merry Go Round Broke Down", the actual Looney Tunes theme, is just as iconic, if not more than "Merrily". "Daffy Duck and Egghead" even has Daffy Duck sing an entire song number built around the piece!
  • The earliest Looney Tunes theme, "A Hot Time on the Old Town Tonight", is more pleasant than truly memorable, but the final theme that the Bosko cartoons eventually settled into, "Whistle and Blow Your Blues Away", is definitely a lively, energetic piece of music. Bosko even sings a brief snippet of "Whistle" in "Bosko in Person", and in a deeper voice than normal.
  • The earliest Merrie Melodies theme, "Get Happy", is likewise a very memorable, breakneck paced song.
  • There isn't really much to say about the second Merrie Melodies theme, the fast-paced "I Think You're Ducky", except that once you hear it, it will never, ever leave your head.
  • The 1933-36 Looney Tunes theme, normally attributed as being the 1934 song "Beauty and the Beast"note , while by no means iconic and rather quaint sounding, is still a lively, beautifully orchestrated jingle of music.
  • The third Looney Tunes theme before they finally settled on "Merry Go Round Broke Down" is a fun, jaunty piece of music called "Porky's Signature", which fits the nature of his fun 30s shorts quite well.
  • Bugs Bunny's official theme song, "What's Up, Doc?", which notably had lyrics for its first use in the short of the same name.
  • And how about the iconic "This Is It" opening number for the original Bugs Bunny Show, and carried over to the Road Runner and Tweety eras? It even has Bugs and Daffy, voiced by the same actor (Mel Blanc), singing alongside each other and perfectly harmonizing! Its German equivalent, used on Mein Name ist Hase, deserves a special mention, too.
  • "It’s Cartoon Gold", which replaced “This is It” for the 1984-85 season of The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show, is a great way to end the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner era, in no small part due to its catchy guitar work.
  • The theme for the Adventures of the Road Runner TV pilot film. There is also the Road Runner Show theme, plus the second portion of the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show theme, which are both great songs.

     Recurring Music Cues 
  • Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" novelty song is a common recurring song in the franchise, and is arguably famous because of how frequently it was used!
    • One of the most notable uses of it is during the conveyor belt sequence in "Baby Bottleneck".
    • The first, fast paced half of the song is used memorably during the rocket trip in the first "Duck Dodgers" short.
  • "In the Stirrups" by J.S. Zamecnik, a song commonly used for breakneck paced scenes. Its most notable use is during the scenes where Daffy is running in fear in "Draftee Daffy" (1945), but it was also used in "Milk & Money" (1936) and "Wild Wife" (1954).
  • "California, Here I Come" is a very popular recurring song in the shorts. Carl Stalling's use of it in the opening of "Porky's Railroad" is downright majestic.
  • "We're in the Money", the famous song from Gold Diggers of 1933. It was the basis for one Merrie Melodies short of the same name, and it's a fun take on a great song.
  • The Gavotte in D major by François-Joseph Gossec. It was used for the sewing worm in "Porky's Party", and for the monsters' abrupt break into dance in "Have You Got Any Castles?"
  • "In Caliente", a rousing music cue from the 1935 Warner Bros. film of the same name; it was usually used in shorts themed around South of the Border settings, such as "The Timid Toreador", "Bully for Bugs" and "Speedy Gonzales" (1955), but it occasionally popped up in unrelated shorts, such as "Porky's Hare Hunt".
  • "A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich, and You", used in a bunch of shorts whenever food was the subject on screen. Its MGM counterpart is "Sing Before Breakfast".
  • Carl Stalling often used a very jaunty rendition of the title tune to the play 42nd Street, perhaps most prominently throughout "Daffy Doodles".
  • The theme of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride, is another iconic piece, especially when it's put to the speed of the chase that goes on in the shorts.

     1930s Shorts 
  • The early cartoons with Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid have some memorable song numbers too. The first short notably kicks off the entire franchise with the jaunty "Singin' in the Bathtub" song, and later treats us to a rendition of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles".
  • "Congo Jazz" has an all around good soundtrack, but the climatic scenes set to the song "Give It This and That" will make you want to get up and dance!
  • "The Booze Hangs High" sets a fairly large chunk of the cartoon around the classic song "By Heck" (and then a banjo solo of "On A Little Street in Honolulu" midway through), where Bosko is playing the tail of his horse like an instrument!
  • All three of the Foxy cartoons, and the early Merrie Melodies in general, were adorned with very memorable songs, such as "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!", "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" and "One More Time!" Other hits included "Pagan Moon", "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land", "Shuffle Off to Buffalo", "Red Headed Baby", etc.
  • "You Don't Know What You're Doin" is probably as Fleischer-esque as the studio ever got, and the eponymous song is awesome, especially during the climatic, surreal drunk car chase!
  • Even the generally ill regarded Buddy shorts can have some good music. "Buddy's Circus", while not a particularly good cartoon, has a music score that perfectly captures the overstimulating, brass heavy big top bravado that the circus is known the world over for!
  • "Page Miss Glory" isn't one of the stronger oneshot shorts in the series, but the eponymous song in it is pretty dang good.
  • "We Agree Perfectly", a lovely song cue that pops up twice throughout "Alpine Antics" (1936), most notably during the second half of the Ski race.
  • Carl Stalling's musical debut, "Porky's Poultry Plant", starts off almost like the standard meat-and-potatoes musical scores of previous composers Bernard Brown and Norm Spencer, but once the hawk shows up to terrorize Porky's hens, prompting the swine to attack the hawk head-on in his airplane, the score switches to a very dramatic score of J.S. Zamecnik's Furioso #2, which was unlike anything previous heard in the Looney Tunes series, and it can easily rival the score of any live action movie of the day!
  • "She Was An Acrobat's Daughter", like "Bosko's Picture Show" before it, is a time capsule of the days when audiences could sing along to the lyrics on screen, and the short's main song is a very fun little ditty.
  • "Katnip Kollege" has a very catchy, swinging soundtrack throughout the entire cartoon, especially by the climax, where we get the song "As Easy As Rolling Off A Log"!
  • The climax of "Porky in the Northwoods", which uses a combo of Felix Mendelssohn's Athalie Overture and Franz Von Suppe's Poet And The Peasant Overture.
  • The "Little Boys Shouldn't Smoke" song number from Frank Tashlin's "Wholly Smoke". It helps that the song borrows its melody from the song "Mysterious Mose", with custom lyrics added.
  • The central song of "I Love to Singa". It will get stuck in your head.
  • "Polar Pals" gives us the lovely "Let's Rub Noses (Like the Eskimoses)" song, one of the happiest tunes in the series!
  • "Have You Got Any Castles?" is one of the better "Things Come To Life in a Bookstore" cartoons, and the variety of great music in it helped; besides the main song (which is barely sung in proper, but still plays throughout the climax), there's also the opening music, which is borrowed from the Poet and Peasant Overture, the "Vieni, Vieni" bit with the Invisible Man and Topper, the "Old King Cole" number, a reprise of the "Swing for Sale" song from "Clean Pastures", and the songs "Boulevardier from the Bronx" and "You're the Cure for What Ails Me" during The Thin Man skit).
  • "You're An Education", another Tashlin "Bookstore cartoon", has a good variety of music as well, and the main song is a lively little ditty.
  • "Sniffles and the Bookworm" gives us the memorable "Mutiny in the Nursery" musical number, which is the highlight of the entire short.
  • "I Wanna Moo", the opening song number of "Porky's Romance"—a very happy piece of music for what is ultimately a rather dark cartoon.
  • The song number that Bugs' Bunny/Happy Hare sings in "Hare Um Scare Um", where, in early Daffy Duck persona, he sings about how crazy he is!
  • The leitmotif of the Proto-Bugs in "Presto Chango", which is the classic song "The Umbrella Man".

     1940s Shorts 
  • "A Corny Concerto" uses two staple waltzes by Johann Strauss ("Tales of the Vienna Woods" and "The Blue Danube") plus Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and Carl Stalling's arrangements of them are breathtaking.
  • "You Ought to Be in Pictures", a lovely recurring song in the series, most notably used as theme for the 1940 Friz Freleng cartoon of the same name. Notably, four of the six Looney Tunes Golden Collections used it as the main menu theme!
  • The "Oh, Susanna!" number from "The Wacky Wabbit". At one point, Bugs and Elmer are both singing the song together, and they manage to perfectly harmonize with each other!
  • "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" notably eschews the typical orchestrated sounds of the cartoons for an incredible jazz ensemble that perfectly accompanies the madcap action on screen!
  • 1943's "Tin Pan Alley Cats" does likewise. Some very nice jazz-infused pieces feature some mellow guitar playing, especially during the opening scene of the harbor with a re-lyriced "The Light of the Silvery Moon."
  • "Rhapsody Rabbit" and "Rhapsody in Rivets" both use Franz Liszt's famous 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody, and to wonderful effect.
  • The "Java Jive" song from "Robinson Cruesoe Jr." and, more notably, it's version with custom lyrics in "The Hep Cat"!
  • "Russian Rhapsody" gives us the Gremlin's song "We're Gremlins from the Kremlin", which is based on the Russian songs "Ochi Chyornye" (Dark Eyes) and "Eh, uchnem" (Song of the Volga Boatmen).
  • "Pigs is a Polka" is set to lovely arrangements of Brahms' Hungarian Dances Nos.5, 7, 6 and 17.
  • "Americans Don't Give Up" from "Scrap Happy Daffy"; it's a variation of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (with a bit of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sandwiched in) with custom lyrics, used by a vision to Daffy Duck's patriotic ancestors to motivate him to rise back up against his Nazi foes.

     1950s Shorts 
  • "Hello, Ma Baby!" from "One Froggy Evening". Also notable is the custom made song "The Michigan Rag", a throwback to classic ragtime music.
  • Bugs' square dance number from "Hillbilly Hare".
  • Of course, you can't mention Looney Tunes and great music, and leave out mentioning "What's Opera, Doc?". Love or hate the cartoon, the music is breathtaking! Especially the "Ride of the Valkyries"!
  • Nor can you forget a mention of "Rabbit of Seville". Never has the overture to Rossini's Barber of Seville been so perfectly married to fast-paced slapstick.
  • "The Three Little Bops" will get stuck in your head.
  • A Bird in a Guilty Cage and Putty Tat Trouble are two of Carl Stalling's finest Sylvester & Tweety scores.

     1960s Shorts 
  • While later entries like Bunny and Claude are considered to be the nadir of the original theatrical cartoons, it at least spawned a pretty good theme song, dubbed "The Ballad of Bunny and Claude".
  • "Chimp and Zee", which, unusually for Bill Lava's work on the series, is upbeat and energetic, mixing the instruments of surf rock guitars, saxes, flutes, and accordions into a very fun score.

  • The song sequence from the live action movie "My Dream Is Yours" (1949), featuring Bugs Bunny interacting and singing with Jack Carson and Doris Day.
  • While Norman Normal (1968) is not part of the series propernote , it has a very good opening song, a collaboration between musician Paul Stookey and the studio.

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