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Crowd Song

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Rocko: Why was everyone singing?
Heffer: We just got a song in our hearts!
Rocko: How is it you all know the words? Did you rehearse?
Heffer: Yeah, every Thursday. Didn't you see the flyers?
Rocko's Modern Life, "Zanzibar"

Any time a large group of people need to sing a song in unison, two things are inevitable: One, everyone always knows all the words; two, no one is ever off-key or out of sync. In other words, no matter how spontaneous the moment is supposed to be, they sound like they rehearsed the song.

In the world of storytelling, there are untold legions of men, women and children ready to burst into song at a moments notice, they only need a nice main character or two to inspire them. Lyrics? Got em memorized. Tricky singing pieces? Not a problem. Choreography? Goes off without a hitch. Every single time.

Naturally, this grows directly out of musical theater, where it's understood that all these people aren't REALLY bursting into song—they're merely acting as the Greek Chorus for the lead characters. For that matter, since the actual Chorus in many Greek tragedies speaks for the general public within the play, versions of this are Older Than Feudalism.

TV shows will sometimes make an entire Musical Episode out of this trope. Obviously, Musicals will have these all the way through.

Compare Crowd Chant. Often overlaps with Audience Participation Song. Made possible by Spontaneous Choreography. Taken to the extreme, it's because the lead cast Summon Backup Dancers. See also Sound Off where a military group uses a song or chant to keep everybody in time. If the song's about the crowd coming together as a mob it's an Angry Mob Song. If the crowd song happens to be the final song in the work it's a Big Finale Crowd Song.

Bizarrely, this is edging its way into Truth in Television with the phenomenon known as a "flash mob," where the performers gather at a prearranged time and place and then assemble as if stepping from the crowd, giving the illusion of spontaneity. Here's an example.


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  • Parodied in Labatt's "Out of the Blue" commercial. A guy starts singing "Sweet Caroline" to his girlfriend, and various wood dwellers—including a park ranger, hikers, nudists, mobsters, a Swamp Thing, and a parody of the Blair Witch project—come out of the woods and join in.
  • Coca-Cola:
    "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony..."
  • Super Mario Sunshine: note 
  • Adverts for British price comparison website Go Compare feature an operatic tenor named Gio Compario who appears out of nowhere to literally sing the site's praises. Although this always resulted one of these in earlier adverts, this trope is largely averted in later ads.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • It would be just a little too obvious to say that a good number of Disney films have 'em. But then, they are patterned after Broadway musicals, and it's been long established (ever since sound was added) that animated characters can sing, dance, and play any musical instrument perfectly without practice.
    • In Frozen, the trolls' song "Fixer Upper" is a Crowd Song, which makes sense as Frozen is a musical.
    • "Some Things Never Change" in Frozen II is sung by Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and the chorus of Arendelle's citizens.
    • "I've Got a Dream" from Tangled combines this with an "I Want" Song, as the thugs at the Snuggly Duckling show off their Hidden Depths and share their dreams with Rapunzel and Flynn.
    • "Os Quindins De Yaya" from The Three Caballeros. Doubles as a Disney Acid Sequence.
    • Beauty and the Beast has "Belle", which gets a Lampshade Hanging of just how crowded it is; Gaston ends up singing "Please let me through!" as part of the song.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest has a scene like this based on Zach's Walkman being turned on and playing "Land of 1,000 Dances". The faeries are weirded out and disturbed for a second, and then they're wholeheartedly participating.
  • A Goofy Movie has two, the second of which is a Traffic Song.
    • The latter also occurred in Goof Troop: when Goofy and Pete were in a traffic jam, Goofy started to sing to waste time and all the cars followed!
  • Happy Feet and its sequel has several of these.
  • In the climax of Horton Hears a Who! (1970), the citizens of Whoville do this in a attempt to make enough noise to prove that the flower they live on is not uninhabited like the Arbitrary Skeptic trying to destroy it believes. It works. The 2008 version additionally ends with every single character spontaneously bursting out into REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight this Feeling."
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: When an entire neighborhood starts breaking into "Catchy Song" in complete unison, Emmet and Rex make a break for it.
  • The song, "Corazion", from The Princess and the Pea.
  • An American Tail had "There Are No Cats in America", where a random character would sing a verse about a tale of woe from the old country involving cats, and then all the mice on the ship to America would sing the chorus. The sequel had a similar crowd song called "Way Out West". The third direct-to-video film had the song "We Live in Manhattan".
  • Anastasia also had a couple of them.
  • Strange Magic ends with a crowd song Tell Him where the crowd of elves and goblins tell Marianne and the Bog King to confess their feelings.
  • The Lorax has a gospel-tinged song "Let It Grow," with the evil O'Hare overthrown from Thneedville.
  • In Turning Red, this is justified. The crowd at the 4*Town concert join in with Mei's friends and 4*Town themselves in singing "Nobody Like U" because they are all fans of the Boy Band and know their songs well. This becomes very useful in the climax, when 4*Town sings "Nobody Like U" to empower the ritual circle which will help restore Ming back to normal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • (500) Days of Summer has a crowd DANCE number, though this is pretty obviously supposed to be a fantasy sequence.
  • Across the Universe features dozens of bystanders singing the "na na na naaaaaa's" during the "Hey Jude" sequence.
  • Almost Famous has the scene where one by one, everyone in the Stillwater bus starts singing along to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer".
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: When Ron tries to describe his new-found love, he goes into song ("Afternoon Delight"), followed by the entire News Team in perfect harmony.
  • In The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, given his status as a singing cowboy who runs on Zany Cartoon logic, it's no surprise that Buster is able to start one of these about a man he just killed. It's more realistic, though, in that he sings to a pre-existing tune ("Little Joe the Wrangler"), the pianist picks it up when he recognizes it, and the crowd joins the chorus because they're clearly alarmed by this obvious psychopath.
  • Battle of the Bulge: Col. Hessler's tank recruits, who had hitherto left him unimpressed, break into a spontaneous chorus of the "Panzerlied", which impresses both Hessler and his adjutant. Semi-justifiable, since there would not have been a tankist in the Wehrmacht who didn't know the words, and as soldiers they would probably have the discipline to tap their feet in unison, on the other hand, where the cymbals and brass that cut in are supposed to come from is left unsaid.
    Ob's stürmt oder schneit, ob die Sonne uns lacht,
    Der Tag glühend heiß, oder eiskalt die Nacht,
    Bestaubt sind die Gesichter, doch froh ist unser Sinn, ja, unser Sinn.
    Es braust unser Panzer im Sturmwind dahin.
    Es braust unser Panzer in Sturmwind dahin.
  • This happens in The Blues Brothers, too. During the concert at the end, Curtis manages to get the whole crowd singing along to parts of "Minnie the Moocher". A better example, however, may be the scene in Ray's Music Exchange - true, the crowd doesn't sing along to "Shake Your Tailfeather", but they do dance along, with remarkable accuracy and skill, after which everyone cheers. Presumably they were happy to get the take.
    • "Minnie" is totally justified, as it's a call-and-response song that Cab Calloway (who is playing Curtis) was known for performing the same way "Curtis" does it in the movie, and the audience would faithfully sing along. It's not like "hi de hi de hi de hi" are difficult lyrics, after all. The one time Calloway actually breaks out into something that's hard to follow (something like "zip-dot-deet-doot-diddly-zip-a-deet-dot-diddly-zip-zap-zeet-do-ooohh"), the audience just laughs in response.
    • Also when Mrs. Murphy (Aretha Franklin) starts singing at her husband, not only do the customers keep time, but the girls at the counter become spontaneous backup singers. After the song ends, they sit down as if nothing had happened.
  • Inverted in The Brady Bunch Movie; when the kids are going through the mall shopping, they break into a spontaneous song and dance number, but the rest of the patrons just stop and stare at them like they're just a bit nuts!
  • Bran Nue Dae has the final number, a reprise of "Nothing I Would Rather Be". Every character in the film gets a second in the limelight.
    • This Crowd Song was especially bizarre since the song really has nothing to do with anything that happened in the movie.
      • Although considering Horton's personality, him randomly bursting into song isn't that big a shocker...
  • There are several Crowd Songs in Bride and Prejudice the Bollywood style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
  • Cannibal! The Musical has "Hang the Bastard", a cheery upbeat song where the whole town joins in to celebrate Packer's scheduled hanging by singing and dancing.
  • Casablanca has one to La Marseillaise (France's National Anthem) in protest to the Nazis in the bar singing Die Wacht am Rhein. This is extra effective when you keep in mind that the extras were refugees and exiles who fled France due to the Axis Powers taking over.
  • With regards to the Oompa-Loompas in film adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (see Literature below for more), in the 2005 version this is lampshaded when, after the first such tune, Mr. Salt comments "I do say, that all seemed rather rehearsed." Charlie notes that it's suspicious they knew Augustus Gloop's name and personality. Wonka chalks this up to skilled improvisation. This oddity is not addressed in the book, which makes the dialogue further lampshading. (Then again, this movie's Oompa-Loompas are hive-minded drones, so of course they could improvise in harmony...)
    • In the 1971 film, "I've Got a Golden Ticket" was originally going to evolve into this, with much of the town celebrating along with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, but the director nixed that as unrealistic. Interestingly, much the same thing happened with "Easy Street" in the 1982 version of Annie.
  • Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000 has two of them:
    • The first, "The Galaxy's for You and Me", is an upbeat song-and-dance number led by Chuck E. in Pasqually's diner at the beginning, as he rallies his gang and the other patrons to support him as he decides to sign up for the Galaxy 5000.
    • The second, in big finale fashion, "We Did It", is sung at the end of the movie after Chuck E. has won, and he, his gang, and a majority of spectators all sing and dance together in celebration of his victory.
  • In Clerks II, there is spontaneous dancing in the parking lot of Mooby's to "ABC" by The Jackson 5.
  • During Mrs. Potter's engagement party in The Cocoanuts, Hennessy's shirt disappears... causing him to break out in song about it as everyone else joins in.
  • Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier turns this into a painfully straight lampshade. The protagonist, Selma, is explicitly delusional, having frequent hallucinations of the people around her joining her in choreographed song and dance. The idea is that she keeps imagining life as a Musical, because "In a Musical, nothing bad ever happens." Then again, she does live in a Crapsack World, which is par the course for a typical Lars von Trier movie.
  • Elf: Jovie leads a group of New Yorkers in an impromptu rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in order to create enough Christmas spirit for Santa's sleigh to take off; this is slightly justified in that pretty much everyone does know the words to that song, and in that several people are fairly off-key.
  • Enchanted: "That's How You Know". Robert accepts that Giselle sings (he thinks she's a Cloud Cuckoolander), but is completely astonished when the effect proves contagious and an increasingly large number of Central Park street musicians and performers join in. Somehow, this scene manages to play the trope so straight it meets parody coming the other way.
    Robert: He knows the song too?! I've never heard this song before! What the hell is it?
  • Fame: Mostly averted, but "Hot Lunch Jam" is the exception.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off takes this a step further. Not only does everybody in Chicago sing along to "Twist and Shout", but many of them dance in unison, too. Somewhat justified. It's a well-known song/dance.
  • The film version of Hair has "Let the Sunshine In" turn into this as the finale.
  • Mildly subverted in Hairspray, as Tracy marches down the sidewalk singing "Good Morning, Baltimore" she walks through a group of women who spontaneously choose to follow her, only to be cut off by "the flasher who lives next door."
  • Hello, Dolly!:
    • "Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out..."note 
    • "Dancing" escalates into this.
  • In Help!!, the entire earth sings the Ode to Joy (in its original German, no less) to save Ringo from a tiger.
  • Happens during a festival in The Hidden Fortress. Our heroes (and Matashichi and Tahei) join in, but they're all horribly out of step.
  • High School Musical. OH, NO, NO, NO! STICK TO THE STUFF YOU KNOW...Then again, the song isn't overly difficult to learn. Still, there's perfect harmonies and choreography that doesn't miss a beat...
    • Might be safe to say, the High School Musical series are gonna have a few of these.
    • The students at the high school can all apparently autotune their voices on the fly!
  • Played with in Hot Rod, where Rod starts a normal uplifting Crowd Song of "You're the Voice". More and more people join in, their antics becoming increasingly energetic...until it eventually just devolves into an outright riot as people trash the street. The hero and his friends run like hell.
    Rod: What the hell?! Was that because of us!?
    Dave: I dunno man! It started out super-positive then it just got crazy!
    • Made even more funny by the fact that no one in the main cast was actually involved, which only added to their confusion. It simply happened around them.
  • The Hunt for Red October has a scene where, after Captain Ramius announces their "orders" and gives an inspirational speech, crew members spontaneously start singing their national anthem, though a number of them are audibly off key.
  • In It Happened One Night, passengers on a bus sing the popular song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" together. Unfortunately, when the bus driver joins in, he neglects where he is driving and swerves off the road into the mud.
  • The television film It Nearly Wasn't Christmas, and in fact many a Christmas Special.
  • Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na: "Hai popular!"
  • Jack (the 2013 CBC movie) features a reconstructed approach to this trope; rather than the choreographed-looking crowd songs often associated with movies, this movie uses a more plausible kind where groups of people (in this case, Jack's campaign team) sing on a bus, whether it's singing Parachute Club's "Rise Up" earlier on, or a politics-themed parodical version of Home On The Range later on. Neither crowd song is shown in its entirety.
  • Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy has a character in painfully transparent denial of his homosexuality...until he takes an antidepressant, and leads the town in a song-and-dance number about it.
  • La La Land opens to "Another Day of Sun", which takes place in the middle of a traffic jam, of all places. Pretty much the entire main cast gets involved.
  • The jilted boyfriends and husbands out for revenge against Leon Phelps in The Ladies Man spontaneously break into an uplifting crowd the form of a camp Broadway musical number with elaborate choreography.
  • In Lincoln, after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed, the abolitionist senators break out in a spontaneous rendition of "Battle Cry of Freedom". Justified, since this actually happened, and it was Lincoln's campaign song, and so popular that the publisher famously hired every printing press in Washington and still could not keep up with demand. They'd know the words.
    We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
    And although they may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
  • In The Mask, The Mask uses his powers to get the police surrounding him to join in a big, splashy rendition of "Cuban Pete", which leads to the SWAT team getting an offer to open in Vegas.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail, quite famously. The King of Swamp Castle tries to stall the start of a Crowd Song, or any kind of musical number, for as long as possible.
  • The Muppets:
  • Mildly subverted in the luncheon scene in My Best Friend's Wedding, wherein part of the joke is that the stuffy rich folk actually know the words to "I Say a Little Prayer" in the first place. That they know it in perfect multi-part harmony, accompanied by full-on instrumental track, is another story altogether.
  • Newsies "Carrying the Banner" gets the whole street a-rockin.
  • Not Another Teen Movie spoofs this with all of the main characters and then some, singing a random dramatic montage ending with all of them dancing and posing at the end. Afterwards, they all look awkwardly at each other and walk off, as if it never happened. It also got a lampshade hanging. One character comments "Funny, isn't it? You would never suspect everyone at this school is a professional dancer."
  • "Consider yourself" from Oliver!
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the pirates and townspeople at the beginning get an epic one. When they join in the singing of "Hoist the Colors", they actually make the EITC marines back up apprehensively. It's starting to become clear that the pirates are far more organized than the British had anticipated, although Lord Cutler Beckett has been anticipating this all along.
    Groves: Lord Beckett! They've started to sing...sir?
    Beckett: Finally.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show Let's do "The Time Warp" again! It's just a jump to the left...
  • Shoot to Kill: The fishermen all sing as they hike on two occasions. First, they sing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall," and later, after a false bear sighting, they sing the Davy Crockett theme song while jokingly repeating the line "Killed him a bear, when he was only three." Unusually for a trope, several of them are consistently off-key or out of sync.
  • Spider-Man 3 uses this when alien-possessed Peter interrupts Mary Jane's song, and the band plays and sings along with him perfectly.
  • State Fair has "It's a Grand Night For Singing", which starts out as simply a serenade for waltzing couples, until everyone in the fair sings along.
  • In Sunshine On Leith, The Proclaimers' Juke Box Musical, when Davy stops Yvonne at Waverley Station to say he loves her, everyone in Princes Street joins in for "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Granted, most people in Edinburgh know the words, but the Spontaneous Choreography is sophisticated enough that even the main characters look bewildered by it.
  • Variation: The Japanese film Swing Girls has a part where the remnants of a jazz band, after splitting up due to many girls not wishing to continue being part of a band, goes out and plays in front of a store. The girls who split up to live a partying life see them and are inspired to rejoin, at which point they go off to sell their expensive clothing and accessories, and use the money to buy musical instruments, at which point they rejoin those who were playing and play perfectly in sync with the others, despite not having practiced at all.
  • Tank Girl; When Tank Girl forces the Madam to sing Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" in Liquid Silver, everyone in the club knows the words and can sing along.
  • Top Gun: Tom Cruise starts singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". First Goose, then the entire bar goes along with him. Gets the girl's attention, and it's hilarious.
  • In Turning Red, the reprise of "Nobody Like U" during the climax becomes this as the audience joins in.
  • Inverted in A Very Brady Sequel. The Bradys are singing and dancing through the local mall while everyone else are looking at them strangely, clearly not hearing the music.
  • White Christmas: The soldiers of the 151st sing of their devotion to General Waverly in "The Old Man," first when he hands over command to their new CO at the start of the film, and again when the men rally to his struggling hotel for a surprise Christmas show and to help keep him in business.
  • Happens in Yes-Man when Carl is trying to convince a suicidal man to come back from the window ledge. Having just learned guitar due to a 'Yes', he grabs the man's guitar and starts singing "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind. Then the crowd below starts singing. Then the firemen sent to rescue him start singing.

  • Plays a prominent part in the end battle in Much Fall of Blood.
  • Discworld:
    • Not an actual occurrence, but in Men at Arms the narration remarks that Carrot is the sort of person that could pull this off.
    • In the Thieves' Guild Diary, pickpockets get trained how to do this, as it's an essential part of the "image" (the accompanying illustration is clearly of Ron Moody as Fagin in Oliver!)
  • In the Star Trek novel How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford, the Direidians break out into crowd songs around the visiting Federation and Klingon diplomatic delegations on several occasions. It turns out that it was all carefully rehearsed and planned out ahead of time, as part of the Direidian "plan C" to prevent either of the two sides from taking over their planet and disrupting their way of life.
  • In Sky Pirates!, this is a stress-induced disorder called Rojahama's Song-And-Dance. It only exists in the System, where reality itself runs on Rule of Funny. (And, since the book expertly twists Rule of Funny into Fridge Horror and back, Benny is deeply traumatised at finding herself singing a song about trusting one another against her will.)
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas love to make up songs and perform crowd numbers (written in rhyming verse) to comment upon the fates of each of the bratty children over the course of the factory tour. See the Film and Theatre folders for how this is applied in adaptations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mocked to great effect in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More With Feeling". When the gang are discussing how they're all breaking into song they wonder if they're the only ones affected or if it's the entire town. Buffy sticks her head out the door of the Magic Box and catches the end of a song about a man celebrating his dry cleaning.
    Mustard Man and Crowd: They got the mustard OUT!
    Buffy: (to the rest of the gang) It's not just us.
  • Saturday Night Live mocks it here and here.
  • The Australian show The Chaser's War On Everything occasionally sends people out into unsuspecting places, and sees how people react when things suddenly turn into a musical.
  • The legendary So Bad, It's Good Stephen Bochco misfire Cop Rock tried to combine this trope with your standard law-and-order melodrama (ie, a courtroom scene in which the jury rises to sing 'He's guilty, guilty, guilty...'). What? Yes, that really happened...
  • Scrubs:
    • Played with to great effect in the Musical Episode where all the singing and dancing in the elaborate musical numbers is explained as the hallucinations of a patient with a brain aneurysm.
    • The episode "My Philosophy" featured a transplant patient telling J.D. that she hoped her death would be like a big musical number. When she died, J.D.'s imagination provided this with her performing a song accompanied by many of the cast members.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O simultaneously twists this around into a Crowd Dance and manages to justify it by having it be a result of the dance-happy spirit Ryutaros having the ability to command people, which he typically uses as the Michael Jackson-like ability to make everyone around dance to a hip-hop remix of the show's opening theme.
  • Happens periodically on The Mighty Boosh:
    • Series one, "Mutants": We are the mutant race! Don't look at my eyes, don't look at my face!...
    • Series two, "The Call of the Yeti": Look into our eyes, everything is good, you don't need your friends or family...
    • Series three, "Party": Bouncy bouncy/Oh such a good time/Bouncy bouncy/Shoes all in a line...
  • Fame, the TV show, not so much the movie. While somewhat justified in that the characters attend The School for the Performing Arts, they tended to break out into song an dance when not in class.
  • Most episodes of Fraggle Rock have at least one instance of this. Arguably justified, in that Fraggles are inherently musical creatures (as are nearly all creatures in the Rock, to a lesser degree), and are strongly implied in several episodes to be somewhat telepathic. Crowd songs often involve creatures other than Fraggles.
  • Reading Rainbow: The premiere episode in 1983 included an example of this: "Check It Out", an elaborate musical number introduced by the host, Le Var Burton, to a young child, staged at the Milburn Free Public Library in Milburn, NJ.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother goes into an Imagine Spot Crowd Song where a whole street in New York sings about the virtues of suits.
    • This was on the 100th episode, so it was kinda a special occasion.
    • Another (smaller) How I Met Your Mother example: In one episode, Ted explains the gang's presence on someone's front porch by claiming that they're carolers. They look at each other, then Marshall begins to sing "Silent Night." The rest of the gang joins in in perfect harmony.
  • Glee. Sure, sometimes the implication is that they rehearsed the song to take us through to the big song-and-dance-number we see as a final version. And sometimes it's a Dream Sequence. And they are a reasonably well-drilled show choir. But faaaiiirly frequently, this sort of thing happens, particularly when non-Glee-Club characters (like Emma Pilsbury) are involved...It gets a little ridiculous when they can invent a mash-up, with full choreography, on the spot, and the band can just keep up.
  • Television commercials will sometimes feature a montage of "real" people (i.e., actors pretending they're not actors) singing the ad campaign's jingle, with the lyric divided up and several different people each singing a fragment. To convince the viewers that these are "real" people, the montage will always include one or two schlubby types (always white, usually overweight) who are tone-deaf and can barely croak out the lyric. However, all black people in the same montage will invariably have trained singing voices with perfect pitch. Madison Avenue can't acknowledge the existence of black people with no musical talent.
  • The Kids in the Hall - Bruce McCulloch sings an upbeat number about "The Daves I Know", and all the Daves he knows join him in the last verse.
  • In a Monty Python's Flying Circus courtroom sketch, the court compliments Inspector Dim (Graham Chapman) on his cleverness, leading him to break into a music hall-style song about being a window cleaner, and the entire court joins in on a verse. The counsel (John Cleese) then takes up another verse about being an engine driver, and everyone just stares at him until he meekly sits down.
  • Remote Control - When a contestant is thrown "Off the Air" (eliminated), the audience usually sings "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye", "Hit the Road Jack", or one of a couple other songs as the player is yanked through the wall.
  • In Daddy's Daughters, criminal Tolya comes to the girls' school and gets them all to sing a criminal song.
  • QI gives us "They say of the Acropolis where the Parthenon is..." To elaborate, Stephen gets tripped up while trying to explain the titular line. Jimmy and Bill proceed to turn it into a rousing crowd song and the rest just has to be seen.
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom has this in a Musical Episode, "Land of the Luvvies"; a Wacky Wayside Tribe have been bitten by a showbiz bug, which turned them into a song-and-dance troupe- and it's catching. ("Look out! Jazz hands!") As each person is turned, they magically pick up the songs and choreography; more mysteriously, so does a person who is only posing as one of them.
  • As a Variety Show the Colgate Comedy Hour had many of these.
  • Community: Season 3 opens with a particularly zany version of this. Turns out that Jeff is dreaming about how "normal" he hopes the new year will be.
  • Sesame Street has a number of these.
    • For instance, there's one song (featured on their 1995 greatest hits compilation and also featured on a same-named 1993 cassette) called "We Are All Earthlings", about all people on Earth being part of the same planet and thus friends. Naturally it is performed by a crowd of Muppet animals (and Jill Scott, depending on which version you're listening to).
    • Before then, they also had a parody of "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen, called "Barn in the USA" that was lyrically and thematically similar to "Earthlings", though it was mostly sung by barn animals (hence the title).
    • Then there was their 2010 "Music Magic" episode, which even worked in a parody of the "They Got The Mustard Out" song from Buffy!
  • Most of the songs in The Noddy Shop are sung by all of the toys in the shop. There have been several instances where only a few characters sing (like "Tooth Fairy" from "The Tooth Fairy" and "Lost and Found" from the episode of the same name) or where the other usual characters are present, but only a few are singing with the others commenting on what is going on in the song ("It's You" from "Skunked").
  • Band of Brothers, an otherwise pretty grim show about American paratroopers in World War 2, features a scene where said paratroopers burst into an enthusiastic rendition of "Blood On The Risers" (which is a famous American paratrooper song, but it's still odd to break into harmonised singing in a convoy in the middle of Germany).
  • Ted Lasso had, when Rebecca had to eulogize her father when her relationship was complicated, just saying the lyrics of "Never Gonna Give You Up", a song he and her mother liked and somehow fit the occasion. And everyone else in the church eventually sings the chorus!
  • It's a Big Big World: In season 1, the first story was followed by a song, "Curve of the World," sung by all the characters. In Season 2, this song was removed.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • At ECW House Party 99, ECW World Tag Team Champions Rob Van Dam and Sabu defended the belts against Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten, who themselves sang along with RVD and Sabu's music, which was perfectly understandable since it was Pantera's "Walk."
    • A similar ECW example, at One Night Stand 2005 the crowd sang along to the Sandman's theme, "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, as he walked to the ring through the crowd. The WWE Network has since dubbed over this.
  • ECW events also gave birth to two songs "Taz is gonna kill you!" and "Fuck em up Taz, fuck em up!", which have since been adopted for other wrestlers in other promotions.
  • Samoa Joe's fans tend to sing "Ole, Ole Ole Ole!" whenever his opponent is knocked on their behind, which is usually right before he runs a lap and kicks them in the head. El Generico's fans tend to sing "Ole" whenever. On Mexican shows, particularly those run by CMLL, "Ole" may be sung for any popular rudo. Fans may also sing a Taz-styled chant in "Joe is gonna kill you!" which is prominent during his WWE days.
  • K-Kwik and later, R-Truth took this to the next level, as he makes his entrance through the audience and encourages them to sing along to his entrance song, What's Up?.
  • Starting in early 2002, whenever Kurt Angle's entrance music played, he was showered with "You Suck" chants in rhythm with his music. A couple months later, at Edge's insistence, they started chanting even louder, and the chants continued throughout the rest of his WWE Career, even being censored briefly in late 2005 when Kurt complained about it in kayfabe. Though, when he returned from injury in the middle of 2003, he expressed how much he'd missed the accompanying chants as part of his in-ring promo. He even went as far as gleefully leading them!
    Kurt Angle: I can't believe I'm gonna say this, but you have no idea how good it feels to hear those words again! Play my music!
  • "(Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey) Goodbye" to add salt to the wound of a wrestler just fired or announcing he's quitting in the ring.
  • Buzzing for the Swarm/Hybrid Dolphins (London and Danielson in Pro Wrestling Guerilla)
  • During the Eric Young/Johnny Devine match at TNA's Hard Justice 2006 PPV, the crowd began singing "The Roof Is on Fire" for no apparent reason. It turns out the roof of the Impact Zone was actually on fire but the announcers tried to ignore it until the smoke became so bad that they could no longer hide it, but by then the crowd had switched to chanting John Cena's catchphrase, "You Can't See Me", which TNA probably hated more than the roof being on fire.
  • The North West Wrestling Alliance fans had their own song, to the same tune as "Taz is gonna kill you." "We don't wanna hear you!"
  • One of the funniest examples of this was during the Raw after WrestleMania 29. Fans began singing Fandangonote 's entrance music. However the song has no lyrics and is completely instrumental, so they just sang the melody.
    • Popular wrestlers who have instrumental entrance themes will have the melodies of said theme either fully vocalised or accompanied by the crowd en masse. Notably, Sami Zayn's "Worlds Apart"note , Finn Bálor's "Catch Your Breath"note  and Shinsuke Nakamura's "Rising Sun"note . With that in mind, it would likely be a crime if Bobby Roode's "Glorious Domination"note  wasn't added to the list, especially given his entrances at NXT Takeover events. Seth Rollins' entrances also enticed the WWE crowd to sing his entrance music ever since his Heel–Face Turn as "The Visionary".
  • Speaking of Cena, it was clear the Raw audience was greatly displeased with his victory over Bray Wyatt following the 2014 WrestleMania where they were singing "He's got the whole world in his hands" along with them. They showed this displeasure by singing "John Cena Sucks" in tune with his Cena's entrance music and continued well into the show, long after the music had stopped playing.
  • Another from the Taz trend, the NXT crowds like to sing "Bayley's gonna hug you!"
  • During the Heart Of SHIMMER Tournament the fans sang "Heidi Lovelace" to the tune of We Will Rock You.
  • AEW fans sing along with Chris Jericho's theme "Judas" even after the music cuts out.
  • Similarly, after CM Punk returned to wrestling by signing with AEW, the crowds started singing to his theme "Cult of Personality" whenever it played.

  • Need we even mention all of the Theatrical and Broadway musicals? Many of which mock themselves?
  • 1776 gets their Crowd Song out of the way first thing with "Sit Down, John". Basically, all of Congress wants John Adams to shut up already.
  • The "Governor Miller" song in the Takarazuka Revue presentation of Ace Attorney, done in praise of the titular politician by a gang of reporters.
  • In Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, when Cesare and Angelo sneak out to go to the festival, the crowd is all singing about the episode from the Crusades that the festival commemorates — Cesare claps along, but then corrects their version of the history.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has its own versions of the Oompa-Loompas' moralizing tunes plus two more crowd numbers: "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" for the Bucket family and the arriving reporters when Charlie finds his Golden Ticket, and "A Little Me", which is a Pep-Talk Song / So Proud of You sequence to celebrate Charlie becoming Willy Wonka's heir.
  • Two songs from Guys and Dolls count: "Luck Be A Lady" first has Sky Masterson singing about how badly he needs to win this round of craps, and then all the gamblers around him join in apprehensively singing at him to shut up and roll the dice. "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" then features a prayer meeting full of missionaries and the aforementioned gamblers singing about the dream that Nicely-Nicely had last night (which is often implied to have been made up on the spot).
  • "My Shot" from Hamilton starts off as a solo "I Want" Song from the titular character before his friends join in, and then all of colonial New York, showing the spread of Revolutionary fervor that Hamilton spearheaded.
    • In a sense, almost every song in the show is a crowd song in one way or another, as the show heavily uses a Greek-style chorus that participates in every song except for King George III's (and they do join in at the end of "You'll Be Back"). Depending on the song, the chorus has different purposes - in "Alexander Hamilton", they join the main cast (except Hamilton) as omniscient narrators, while in the above "My Shot", they represent real people, and in songs like "Hurricane", "Wait For It", or the end of "Non-Stop", they simply echo other people's words and aren't meant to represent actual people present. Therefore, the "true" crowd songs, so to speak, are "My Shot", "The Schuyler Sisters", "Farmer Refuted" note , "Right Hand Man", "Yorktown", "Non-Stop", "The Reynolds Pamphlet", and "The Election of 1800".
  • This trope is subverted during a song in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. To get ahead at the office, Finch learns that his boss is a graduate of Old Ivy, and then Finch falsely claims to be an alumnus of that same college. When the boss starts singing the college song "Grand Old Ivy", Finch joins in ...but, rather than singing in unison, he lags slightly behind the boss so that the audience will understand that Finch doesn't actually know the lyric.
  • In the Heights:
    • The opening sees the entire community of Washington Heights join in as the Interactive Narrator foreshadows the events that will transpire the community.
    • "96,000" becomes this once Sonny spreads the news that someone won the lottery, leading the entire community to get caught up in excitement over what that money could mean for them.
    • "Blackout" sees all of Washington Heights look to the sky and see the July 4th fireworks light up the night sky, providing light in the face of the chaotic power outage.
    • Daniella gets everyone laundering around the streets to put their time into celebrating their Latin heritage in "Carnaval del Barrio".
    • "Finale" sees most of the characters reprise parts from previous song and provide back-up while Usnavi considers his future and how that will affect the Barrio.
  • From Les Misérables, "Do you hear the people sing?" - both the main song and the reprise at the finale. Being epicified by a 250 persons choir certainly helps.
    • "At the End of the Day", "Lovely Ladies", "Master of the House", "Look Down - Reprise", and "One Day More" also apply.
  • La Vie Boheme from RENT counts as a small-scale crowd song—everyone in the Life Cafe (except for Benny and his three associates) joins in right on cue after Mark's mocking prayer for the death of Bohemia. It's both spontaneous AND catchy.
  • Classic Lampshade Hanging in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore:
    Margaret: But see, they come - Sir Despard and his evil crew! Hide, hide - they are all mad - quite mad!
    Rose: What makes you think that?
    Margaret: Hush! They sing choruses in public! That's mad enough, I think!
  • Like the movie it was based on, the King of Swamp Castle in Spamalot is constantly trying to put a stop to these kind of songs, or any kind of singing whatsoever. He ultimately fails of course. Actual crowd songs from the show include "Finland", "Knights of the Round Table", "You Won't Succeed on Broadway", and "Act II Finale".
  • Sondheim averted some of this in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — there is a great deal of counterpoint in the crowd songs, with individual members singing different things. Most noticeably shows up in "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir" and "God That's Good!" "City on Fire," on the other hand, is perhaps the only straight Crowd Song in the bunch.
    • Sondheim himself has admitted that he doesn't like this idea, as it stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief too much for him. As such, he makes it a point to avert the trope as much as possible, with many of his works, including Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along, containing large group numbers with people singing, if not different melodies, different lyrics in different tempos. When the trope does come up, he does his best to justify it with some kind of plot device (in Sunday in the Park, for example, the Act One finale is something of a dream sequence, so the characters aren't fully in control of their thoughts.)
  • The musical Titanic is made up almost exclusively of these, with only two solos and two duets of any appreciable length.
  • A few songs in Urinetown: The Musical count, but none moreso than "Act I Finale", in which the entire band of the poor people, the two local policemen, and the Big Bad and his henchmen all join in a song about the rebellion's goals.
  • Finale has several:
    • "Today is the Day", a song about how everyone is going to have a good day.
    • "Panic in the Streets", a song about everyone stressing out over the fact that the world is ending.
    • "Finally", a song about everyone accepting their deaths and the end of the world.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone has several, just like the musicals of old that it parodies. However, after the opening number and first Crowd Song "Fancy Dress", it's lampshaded almost every time it happens again:
    • After "Show-Off", a large spectacle about how Janet doesn't want to show off anymore, Kitty mentions she's surprised Janet didn't do an encore. Janet complies.
    • After "Toledo Surprise", Janet wonders aloud why they're all dancing if their dreams have been ruined by what transpired in the song.
    • The Act II Opener, "Message from a Nightengale", is a Crowd Song from an entirely different musical that the Man in the Chair put on by accident.
    • The true Act II Opener, "Bride's Lament", is a Crowd Song in which only one person is real - every other cast member on stage is a part of Janet's mental breakdown.
    • The Finale of the Show, "As We Stumble Along (Reprise)" plays it fairly straight, but like the above example, only one person - the Man in the Chair - is "real", and the rest is just the cast of the show coming to life in his mind.

    Video Games 
  • Elite Beat Agents: This is largely the point of the game, with musical numbers breaking out to inspire people in need of assistance from the titular secret agency.
  • The main characters of Squaresoft's Final Fantasy X at one point placate the Big Bad by having every person on the planet sing a soothing hymn. The net effect of this effort is a hauntingly beautiful song, suggesting that the United Choir of Spira had been practicing for such an occurrence for years.
    • Well, they had been. It helps that they had eight or ten psychics acting as mental cue cards.
  • Saints Row: The Third allows you to play as a errr, antiheroic sociopath. All of them really get into this.

  • Penny Arcade parodies Disney's tendency to do this in this strip.
  • Often in Looking for Group.
  • Martin of Questionable Content apparently engaged in one off-panel after he and Dora first had sex.
    Faye: A bluebird just landed on his shoulder! Random pedestrians are joining him in a complicated dance routine!

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has "So They Say" at the start of Act 3. "Everyone's A Hero" may count too.
  • Whenever some member(s) of Channel Awesome gets together to review a musical (with the exception of Paw Dugan, who reviews them exclusively), there will almost certainly be a bit where a bunch of contributors get together to parody the trope. A non-musical case was the review of Southland Tales, where a time-travelling Linkara tries to prevent the review from happening in the first place - he does so by making everyone just chant The Killers song that plays in the movie ("I've got soul but I'm not a soldier...").
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-630-J ("A Song In Their Heart"). When SCP-630-J activates it causes all sentient beings (including animals such as house cats) within range and all beings that watch the performance live to break into song.
  • Improv Everywhere once had a bunch of random characters break into song during busy hours in a food court.
    • The T-Mobile Dance - had a huge bunch of people launch into a choreographed song and dance number in Liverpool Street Station in London, with baffled and amused commuters looking on.
  • Might be a Plot Point in Doctor Whooves Adventures Bells of Fate, where no one notices anything out of ordinary except the Doctor, who's confused by the singing.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • "The Words": Darwin begins a song about how he hasn't expressed his opinions too much, and several of his classmates join in. However, they leave after realizing the whole song is just him insulting them.
    • "The Singing": A showerhead sings a song during the morning. He is ripped off the wall for bothering one of the house's inhabitants, and the neighbor follows him in singing, then are followed by the newspaper man, and so on.
    • "The Compilation": "Weird Like You and Me" is a song sung by most of the cast about how You Are Not Alone, and there's a place for everybody no matter how weird you are.
  • As the page quote showcases, Rocko's Modern Life had a Musical Episode called "Zanzibar" - unfortunately, Rocko was the only one who didn't know the words since he didn't attend the rehearsals, a fact that was repeatedly lampshaded throughout the episode.
  • Justified due to Mind Control in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Mayhem of the Music Meister" and notable for a Crowd Song that seemingly encompasses the entire world. Which is, again, justified due to the satellite transmitting the mind control.
  • The Simpsons has had many, many, many episodes which include a spontaneous Crowd Song.
    • One of the clip shows spoofs this:
      Lisa (singing): We can't even get any local laws passed, without everyone singing like a big Broadway cast.
    • Another time Marge was absent during the crowd song which stopped them from being one of their typical angry mobs and asked if they could sing it again. The reply was that it was really one of the spur-of-the-moment type of things, making Springfieldians even more impressive than those in the page quote, as they clearly do not rehearse. Good for them.
      • Marge attempts her own song to prove her point, with limited success.
      • Oddly enough ,it was established in a musical clip show that the whole song was video recorded, so if Marge had the song recorded on tape, why did she ask the crowd to sing it again instead of play the tape for her?
      • At the time, she didn't know there was a recording, since she asked for the song to be sung again immediately after it happened, without using the key phrase "One More Time!"
    • Also subverted in an episode where Grandpa bursts in with a line of song after the song has ended. Homer tells him off as he bemoans the fact that he had to take three buses to get to the scene.
  • Lampshaded in the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "A Robot for All Seasons". The episode ends with everyone singing a reprise of the opening holiday song while facing the camera... everyone except Tucker, who is wondering who everyone is singing to and grows more and more disturbed as they refuse to respond to him.
  • Futurama:
    • In the episode "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", the audience gets in on the action when the Robot Devil interrupts Fry's holophonor opera, including Dr. Zoidberg and Professor Farnsworth:
      Prof. Farnsworth: I can't believe the Devil is so unforgiving!
      Dr. Zoidberg: I can't believe everybody's just ad-libbing!
    • In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Bender's personality had been removed so all he could say was "I am Bender. Please insert girder." To find the disc his mind was uploaded to, Hermes had to sort and file dozens of canisters. He sings the "Bureaucrat Song" while he does so, which becomes a Crowd Song when his friends join in.
      Dr. Zoidberg: They said I probably shouldn't be a surgeon.
      Prof. Farnsworth: They pooh-poohed my electric frankfurter.
      Leela: I know I probably shouldn't fly with just one eye!
      Bender: I am Bender. Please insert girder.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter becomes a receiver for the New England Patriots, and guest star/quarterback Tom Brady warns him not to showboat. So, after he scores a touchdown, Peter leads the crowd, cheerleaders, band, and other players in a full musical number — "Shipoopi" from The Music Manover two whole minutes, the punchline being that it was just as random in the original play.
    • There was that dance sequence Peter and friends did at a roller rink.
      "I can't believe we did all that! That was totally an accident!"
    • "The spirit of Massachusetts is the spirit of America/The spirit of what's old and what's new/The spirit of Massachusetts is the spirit of America/The spirit of the red, white and blue"
    • A small-scale example: The Griffins are on a road trip and Peter decides that they need some driving music and sings the first line of "The Rose." The rest of the family joins in, singing in perfect harmony. Except Chris came in a bit early.
    • In the episode where Chris joins the Peace Corps he leads the tribe in a rendition of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go which according to the tribe's traditions means that he must now marry The Chief's Daughter.
  • Subverted in Mission Hill, where everyone bursts into song with "Everybody Hurts," but not on key. And justified, since not only was the song played earlier that episode, but it started off as one person singing it with everyone around joining in after a line or two.
  • South Park has several Crowd Songs, even making The Movie into The Musical. In the episode "Canada on Strike", the entire nation of Canada bursts into song (although there is Lampshade Hanging, saying that they've been rehearsing.)
  • Animaniacs pulled this off every so often, but this was also an animated series that frequently featured musical numbers in their skits, including an impressive rewrite of the Major-General's Song.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Winter Wrap-Up" from the episode of the same name.
    • "At the Gala" from the season one finale, "The Best Night Ever".
    • Also "The Heart Carol" from the Christmas episode, "Hearth's Warming Eve" (this is the series' shortest crowd song, at only 38 seconds). Its also the most realistic, akin to people singing a well-known Christmas carol.
    • The Flim Flam Brothers started out themselves and got the whole crowd into the song celebrating their Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
    • "Smile, Smile, Smile" from "A Friend In Deed" has a large cast of background ponies involved by the end.
      • A very good case can be made for this particular song happening entirely in Pinkie's mind.
    • "A True, True Friend" from "Magical Mystery Cure" Also has the entire town joining in by the end.
    • "Pinkie the Party Planner" from "Pinkie Pride" constantly switches between being this and an "I Am" Song.
    • Twilight leads "Friendship Always Wins" toward the end of "School Daze – Part 2". Dragon Lord Ember doesn't enjoy it, and would rather not hear another song.
  • "Small Ass Town (Big Ass Hearts)" from The Cleveland Show, episode, "The Blue, The Gray and the Brown".
  • Phineas and Ferb has an original song nearly Once per Episode, and so these abound. There's "I Ain't Got Rhythm", which begins as a duet between Phineas and the drummer-turned-librarian, but gradually morphs into one as everyone in the library gets in on the beat; "A-G-L-E-T", sung at the boys' aglet awareness concert; "Mix And Mingle Machine", performed by everyone on the titular ride; "Danville for Niceness" in the Christmas Episode, as the people of Danville petition the North Pole that they have been misidentified as a naughty city; "We're Going to War", the battle hymn of Planet Meap; "Troy", sung by the kids, the Trojan War re-enactors, and a talking horse. The show's ultimate crowd song is "Carpe Diem", in which nearly every named character up to that point appears.
  • The song "Hula-Baloo" from the ChalkZone episode, "Pop Goes the Balloon" might also qualify as a Crowd Song, as Rudy, Penny, Snap, and a bunch of cupid-like characters sing it along with chalk images of teen versions of Rudy's parents to repair their balloon of romance (read: their love for one another) just in time for their second honeymoon to Hawaii.
  • "Goin' To the Beach" from the episode, "Wiccan of the Sea" of Sabrina: The Animated Series. (This is also an example of the trope it was All Just a Dream, as the musical sequence turned out to be a wishful thinking daydream sequence.)
  • Tangled: The Series: "Ready as I'll Ever Be", sung by the entire kingdom of Corona as they ready themselves to rescue Queen Arianna from Varian.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, the very first episode the host Chris outright states the songs will not be rehearsed and will come without warning. However, they all do a very good job of guessing what everyone else is singing, though it's averted twice with Ezekiel and Owen not thinking of a rhyme/interrupting the song to start a new verse.
  • There was an episode of Pepper Ann made up almost entirely of these...
  • Duckman is peppered with musicals but they are usually duets, no crowd. One exception is "My Feral Lady". The crowds all start singing a lullaby.
    Duckman: How come everyone knows this song except me?
  • Tiny Toon Adventures made liberal use of this trope; even its own theme song was something of a crowd song ensemble performed by much of the cast!
  • The song featured in the Ready Jet Go! "Every Day Is Earth Day” episode is first sung by Jet, and then by everyone.
  • In "Rock-A-Bye Birdie" from T.O.T.S. KC, Pip and Freddy perform "One in a Million" as the Rock-a-Tots to introduce the bird Mimi as T.O.T.S.'s one millionth baby delivery, with the crowd of T.O.T.S. delivery storks joining as the song continues.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: "The Treeborhood Thankfulness Stew" ends with all of the characters singing the harvest day song together.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Lyrical Psychic


"Stuck Inside Your Head" Song

Scene from the 2019 film, The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part. After his friends are abducted by General Mayhem, Emmett ventures into the Systar System to save them joined by another person called Rex Dangervest who wishes to help him. At the same time, Lucy tries to resist the Systar claims that they're not evil. So to help her "chill out", they subject her to catchy pop music. Which plays just as Emmett and Rex arrive into the system. A song that has an odd infectious effect on those who first hear it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / MindControlMusic

Media sources: