Follow TV Tropes


Record Needle Scratch

Go To

"Jonathan Morris has a dream: to be the first male Knicks City Dancer. There's only one problem...
...He's the President of the United States!"
The Modern Humorist, "Movie Trailer Cliché Theater"

The plot is moving at a predictable pace toward a foregone conclusion. Suddenly, something shocking happens, disrupting the action and going off somewhere totally unexpected. With the sound of a phonograph needle being pulled violently across a vinyl record, the Background Music, along with everything else, comes to a screeching halt.

The most used record scratch sound is a track on the Sound Ideas General 6000 library labelled "STEREO, TURNTABLE - NEEDLE SCRATCHING RECORD, RECORD PLAYER 02".

Please note that if you wish to use the sound in a bit of your own, just buy (or get) a prerecorded version. In spite of how easy it is to synthesize the sound, it's insanely hard to organically produce this noise using an actual record player, and it's depressingly easy to permanently damage an album or the player itself, so Do Not Try This at Home, at least for any records you care about.

Incidentally, while questions did emerge in the '90s and most of the 2000s regarding younger generations' ability to discern what exactly the sound effect was meant to be, the Vinyl Revival (which began the same year this very page was created, funnily enough) brought vinyl records back into the public consciousness to enough of an extent for the source of the record scratch sound to be just as easily identifiable to the youth of today as to generations prior.

A commonly cited gag pairs the record scratch with a Freeze-Frame Introduction, followed by the character explaining in voiceover, "Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering How We Got Here..."

A variant is Letting the Air out of the Band, which happens when you cut the juice to the rotation motor without jerking the needle. Do not confuse with Musicalis Interruptus. Compare Screeching Stop, the use of old car brakes effect when a cartoon character suddenly stops. Depending on the circumstances, the Moment Killer may be responsible. When it's Background Music going silent, see Sudden Soundtrack Stop. Can be used to accompany a humorous Double Take. Related to Broken Record, a gag based on the Repetitive Audio Glitch that happens when a vinyl record gets a scratch and starts to skip and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat....


    open/close all folders 

  • A commercial was released by Blockbuster in 1994: "This was to be the year. Dan Marino, eleven year veteran quarterback was to surpass 290 career touchdowns, 3200 completions, and 40,000 yards..."
  • In the original Super Smash Bros. commercial costumed characters hold hands and skip across a field until one deliberately trips another accompanied by a needle scratch, whereupon they start pummeling each other senseless. After the scratch, however, the same music carries on ("Happy Together" by The Turtles).
  • Home re-fi commercials on radio use this ad nauseum. Once they get to a pivotal point of the pitch, a record scratch is used before the announcer delves into the product in question.
  • One advert featured a hidden camera show, in which annoying jaunty music plays as a person pushes letters out of postbox; there's a sudden record scratch as one of the prankees shoots him several times.
  • January 2018, Marvel Entertainment put out this promotional video for X-Men: Gold #30, featuring the wedding of Colossus and Kitty Pryde, with an abrupt record scratch in the middle of Pachelbel's "Canon in D", and the ominous words, "What could possibly go wrong?"

    Anime & Manga 
  • One episode of Digimon Adventure has a verbal version of this when the the titular mons discover they can't Digivolve.
    "Tentomon Digivolve to...(usual SFX, but no change)...Kabu—never mind."
  • In Episode 3 of Glitter Force Doki Doki plays one when Maya and Rachel see that Clara and Sebastian have caught Glitter Heart's Transformation Sequence on video.
  • Samurai Champloo used this constantly, both in the usual sense and for sudden scene transitions. In the dub, it was used to censor certain profanities.

    Audio Plays 
  • Monty Python:
    • The LP Another Monty Python Record has an audio version of their documentary on the Piranha Brothers crime family end when mobster Luigi Vercotti walks in and informs the sound engineer that he should quit the sketch. When the engineer balks, there's a large scratch and Luigi says "Awww, sorry, squire, I scratched your record!/orry, squire, I scratched your record!/orry, squire, I scratched your record! etc. etc.
    • The Python LP Matching Tie and Handkerchief has the "First World War Noises" sketch. The Frame Story involves a customer listening to the title sketch in a listening booth at a very strange record store ("She came over all dead so we gave her the afternoon off"). The record sticks, there's another bit involving the customer, then the sketch resumes. Later the record sticks again, the customer complains and then the Frame Story also sticks. There's a very loud Record Needle Scratch and the next sketch begins.
    • Monty Python's Previous Record starts off with Terry Jones shouting "Not this record! Not this record!" followed by a record needle scratch. Side 1 ends with the Travel Agent sketch, as Mr. Bounder (Michael Palin) frantically pulls a record needle scratch while Mr. Smoke-Too-Much (Eric Idle) drones on about his misbegotten holidays. Later on the album, an inversion occurs as a recording of Alastair Cooke being attacked by a duck is played, starting with the quiet static heard when the needle is placed on the record.
  • At the end of the first Cheech & Chong LP, Chong is attempting to play a humorous record his friend had ordered; cue about 15 seconds worth of horrendous needle scratches.
  • Cheech & Chong's "Earache My Eye" sketch starts with a song about a rock star which is cut short by a needle scratch, followed by Cheech yelling at Chong to get up and get ready for school.

    Comic Books 
  • Kamala Khan inserts this trope into her own narration in her issue of Generations. It starts with the very 21st-century Kamala showing up at an editorial staff meeting for Carol Danvers' Woman magazine in the 70s. Kamala uses the Exact Words "record scratch, freeze frame" to cap off the In Medias Res introductory scene and rewind the story to explain How We Got Here.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, as Basil tries to brush off Olivia's concerns over her recently-kidnapped father by saying that surely her mother knows where he is. Her answer causes him to screech the violin he'd been playing.
  • The Lion King 1 ½ has Timon's mom showing Timon the savanna at sunset, explaining how "everything the light touches" (hinting at the "... is our kingdom" line from the original), cue Timon's mother ending with: "... belongs to someone else!", and then the needle scratch.
    Timon: Funny, I thought you were going in a whole different direction with this.
    • It happens again when Timon and Pumbaa finally reach Pride Rock. As they make a mad dash for what appears to be their dream home, they skid to halt (accompanied by the record scratch) once they see the massive crowd of animals waiting for Simba's presentation.
  • A Running Gag involving this was cut from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, where every time a dramatic statement was made, a record scratch would be heard, only to show it to be caused by a jukebox repairman, even if the scene took place outside.
  • In Toy Story 3, when Ken meets Barbie for the first time, they're happily talking ("Nice leg warmers/ascot!"), and "Dream Weaver" is playing, when Lotso (-Huggin' Bear) breaks them up [cue scratch] and says "C'mon Ken, recess don't last forever!" It also happens in Toy Story 2, complete with an actual record player.
  • In Hoodwinked!, during the "Schnitzel Song", Kirk is waltzing back to his truck with the children. As another verse is about to begin, cue a needle scratch and quick whip-pan that reveals that during this number, someone has come by Kirk's truck, emptied it of supplies, and also taken off the tires and mounted the axles on cinder blocks.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, this is used during the closing credits when the "La Da Dee" song is cut-off for the black-and-white horror film "Brunch."
  • Ice Age:
    • At the end of Ice Age: The Meltdown when Scrat is dancing through his acorn-littered Fluffy Cloud Heaven this happens just before he can touch the biggest acorn he's ever seen and is pulled back to the land of the living.
    • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: When Scrat first encounters female sabertooth squirrel, Scratte. Lou Rawls' "You'll Never Find a Love Like Mine" starts playing as he gazes smitten with her. Then the music comes to a screeching halt as soon as he notices her holding his acorn.
      • And once again: When Scrat and Scratte are falling and both holding on to the acorn, the same song mentioned above plays again. Then, with a Record Needle Scratch, Scratte winks and turns out to be a flying squirrel while Scrat keeps plummeting down.
  • In Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, this happens when the titular character first sees The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
  • Parodied in The LEGO Ninjago Movie. After Garmadon uses Meowthra to destroy the ninjas' vehicles, Garmadon and his Shark Army hold a celebration. But after Lloyd reveals to his father he's the Green Ninja, a needle on a turntable drags slowly across a record, and that needle bumps into another needle which drags across the other record.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
  • In Sita Sings the Blues, twice. First when Lakshmi attempts to fix the skipping Annette Hanshaw record as the opening credits begin, and later as the Romeo And Juliet Overture begins to play as Sita and Rama are ostensibly about to be reunited after Rama rescues her from Ravana.
  • In Turning Red, this occurs in the intro when Mei delivers An Aesop only to claim it doesn't apply to her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In-universe in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore when David takes Tommy's annoying hard-rock record off the turntable. This leads to a nasty argument which interrupts David's romance with Alice.
  • Happens twice in the Austin Powers series, once with Austin dancing in his underwear and being found by Vanessa, and once when he arrives on a beach wearing a bikini as Felicity notices.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) inverts this. Their sensei wants them to meditate on their first real battle (and victory), and it shows him starting to meditate, and then a Record Needle Scratch happens. Instead of it ending a song, it begins one: Tequila. Cue the eye rolling and "Oi" from Splinter, and the creation of a Funny Moment.
  • The very beginning of A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) pulls this trope: it looks like you will be seeing a happy stop-motion animated tale about a little elf, but a few minutes later, when the happy elf is skipping over some rocks in the water, an abrupt record scratch is heard and the set lighting turns off:
    Lemony Snicket: I'm sorry to inform that this is not the movie you will be watching. The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, then I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two. However, if you like stories about clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations, then stay, as I retrace each and every one of the Baudelaire children's woeful steps. My name is Lemony Snicket, and it is my sad duty to document this tale.
  • An in-universe variant occurs in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). Loud music is playing at a party, then someone bumps the record player. There's a loud scratch and the music stops, just as Arthur shouts over it, "They're all idiots!"
  • Fight Club has an interesting variant. The Dust Brothers included a record scratch in the score of the film. The opening theme starts out as one song, record scratch about 3 seconds in, and then a totally new song takes its place.
  • The end of George of the Jungle seems to be a parody of The Lion King (1994)'s "presenting the next king at Pride Rock as all the animals look on" scene, until the needle scratches and Ape cuts in with a musical segment of him performing in Las Vegas.
  • Down with Love shows the needle automatically scooting across the record.
  • The Movie Plots With A View has it too. Alfred Molina, who plays Boris Plots, is dancing to a song which plays on a record player until Brenda Blethyn appears. Plots then accidentally kicks the needle from the vinyl, making this record needle scratch sound.
  • Averted by The Matrix Revolutions. When Morpheus's team breaks into club Hel, The Merovingian shouts for silence. The scene then cuts to a DJ scratching on two turntables looking up... then hitting the "stop" button on his deck. This is noted in the Rifftrax of this film as well.
  • In-universe in My Cousin Vinny, when Vinny and Mona Lisa walk into a bar to collect her $200 pool winnings from the man who stiffed her.
  • Justified in Malibu's Most Wanted in the rap battle scene as they are using actual vinyl records, and B-rad has a problem with N-Word Privileges.
  • Justified in The Shawshank Redemption: Trying to introduce a little humanity to the prison, Andy is playing opera music over the intercom. Then the brutal guard shows up and walks towards Andy, and the camera pans away as the record scratches.
  • Justified in Saving Private Ryan right before a major battle. The Americans are listening to a French record while one of them translates the lyrics - then everyone hears rumbling from an incoming German tank, the record scratches and stops, and the Americans get into position.
  • Played 100% straight in A Nanny For Christmas. The lead character sits down for an interview at an ad agency, relaxing Christmas-like music plays throughout. The female boss is called away from the interview and flat-out tells her that she'll make a great nanny, the music skips loudly.
  • Occurs in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood after a character proudly declares to have raped another man in prison. Cue the shocked expressions from his friends.
  • An in-house example in Bedazzled (1967): we see the Devil at his London base performing routine acts of mischief - ripping the last page out of an Agatha Christie novel, hammering a crate of bananas, putting a scratch into a phonograph record...which becomes a Brick Joke as Stanley, who had sold his soul for seven wishes, is trying to seduce the girl he loves. He's playing a stirring record...which starts skipping. He's puzzled as it was brand new.
  • In Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mrs. Meers brings "The Tapioca" scene to a screeching halt with a literal record needle pull.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has a variant, as the music stops when Jack gives up on kissing Angelica (director Rob Marshall even mentions the trope in the DVD Commentary).
  • In The Wolverine when the long-haired, bearded Logan is presented to Yashida's servants, the Background Music stops with this.
  • In-movie example in Hairspray as a terrified Mrs. Pingleton bursts into Motormouth Maybelle's record store to grab her daughter away, and yanks the needle off a record.
  • Variation: The opening titles of Monty Python and the Holy Grail is accompanied by Background Music listed as "Ice Flow." When the credits' subtitles veer off into talking about moose and all of the guys contracted to make the credits get fired, the music slows down to a stop twice. The credits resume with Background Music listed as "Wide Horizons." When it starts going off into mooses, it is stopped suddenly and replaced with new credits—this time about llamas—and music listed as "Mexican Buster."
  • Iron Man 3 has it happen when Tony Stark is first trying out the Mark XLII in his garage. He has a record playing, and the scratch is done when the record is knocked over by flying suit parts.
  • A Running Gag in The Impostors is Marco trying, and failing, to propose to Lily. Near the end, he finally does, she accepts, and they have The Big Damn Kiss - at which point Meistrich, who has his own designs on Lily, appears behind them. Cue record scratch.
  • In the German war movie, Downfall, Eva Braun takes a number of Nazi functionaries and several support staff out of the underground bunker to have a party, while the Battle of Berlin rages a few blocks away. As the party gets in to full swing an artillery shell lands nearby and the music stops with an audible scratch. Eva tries to restart the party with a jazzy piano tune, but the party finally ends when another shell lands right outside the building, covering everyone with dust and rubble.
  • The Zombie Apocalypse in Apartment 14F: When Raymond starts talking about Red, the woman in the apartment below the one they're in, romantic music starts playing. It scratched to a halt when Joey says she's with another man.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Episode 12 of Alchemy of Souls includes the Crown Prince and Jang Uk following the pull of the paired jade bird eggs through town, only to have the music do this when they realize they have been led to each other.
  • The introduction to Better Late Than Never, about celebrities such as William Shatner traveling around Asia, states that Asia features "...exotic beauty, untold wonders, home to civilizations that have lasted for thousands of years (record needle scratch) until now."
  • At the end of the Blackadder episode "Duel and Duality", the record needle is pulled off the sad music when Edmund's death scene is interrupted by his lack of dying. We later hear the needle placed back onto the record after the prince is shot, continuing the previously-interrupted death scene, though with a different character.
  • Used often on Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent, usually in the following two varieties:
    • Transvestites and drag queens who reveal themselves to be men while on stage (like Britney Spears and Lady Gaga impersonators Derrick Barry and Max Oliver), or
    • People who look relatively normal backstage, but then go on stage in bizarre outfits (like Manuela "the Mominatrix" Horn and John "Prince Poppycock" Quale).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: An updated version happens when Spike stakes a vampire right in front of singer Aimee Mann, leading to a squeal of protest from her electric guitar as the band stops playing. After a moment of Stunned Silence, she continues singing right where she left off.
  • Comedy Central Roast Of Pamela Anderson plays with this by using a different sound as a record needle scratch. As the "What we like about Pam" music video is in the middle of its Big Rock Ending set to a barrage of Fanservice-heavy images of Pam, it abruptly ends with Pam catching a falling man in her mouth and eating him which is accompanied by a high pitch male scream acting as the needle scratch as the music suddenly stops. The fact that the yell is timed perfectly with Pam chomping down on the guy makes it seem like he was the singer and the song ended because she ate him.
  • Used in Come Dine With Me when one of the (male, heterosexual) contestants dressed in women's clothes to host his party greeted his first guest.
  • One episode of CSI has Grissom doing the usual one-liner, the soundtrack cuing up the opening music theme...then Grissom gets a page on his phone and the musical cue immediately rewinds.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Vampires of Venice", an electronic version occurs at Rory's stag party when the Doctor bursts out of a cake in place of the expected stripper.
  • Dog with a Blog: In the episode where Stan's puppies demonstrate the ability to talk, Stan and the kids celebrate, right up until Chloe points out the obvious issue: how do they keep them from talking around the parents? Cue record scratch and Stan telling Freddie to get off the turntable.
  • A record needle scratch interrupts a romantic moment in Ghost Whisperer when Melinda and Jim realize that a particularly angry ghost hadn't been accounted for due to the suspected person being very much alive, not to mention very happy.
  • One episode of Good Eats features Alton Brown trying to get a wedge of cheese to jump through a hula hoop, complete with circus organ. The scratch comes before he announces he'll have to make soup out of it.
  • The Swedish comedy series Hem till Midgård (Home to Midgard) from 2003 used this about once every minute.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart": Flanagan and Allen's "Underneath the Arches" is playing on the gramophone, but it suddenly halts when Lestat de Lioncourt lifts the needle from the record. It's an aural cue to viewers that shit is about the hit the fan in this scene.
    • "Like Angels Put in Hell by God": Louis de Pointe du Lac listens to Lestat's song "Come to Me" (which Lestat had sent to him as a Valentine's Day gift) on his gramophone, which features Lestat's mistress Antoinette Brown as the vocalist. The tune isn't even halfway done before a fuming Louis removes the needle from the disc, grabs the record and storms out the door. After six years of giving Lestat the Silent Treatment, Louis is finally going to confront his boyfriend.
  • "The Bully Bulldog: Pugsley" from It's Me or the Dog opens with patriotic music playing and the announcer stating: "The great British bulldog. Traditionally a symbol of national pride (record needle scratch, music changes to a more upbeat theme) but not this one. This is Pugsley, the bully. Treats the family home like a public loo. And he's a sex addict."
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: In the season one finale, the girls assume they've lost their powers forever. Rikki goes to the shore, and enjoys the feeling of the surf washing over her feet for the first time in months... cue the background music's needle scratching as she unexpectedly changes to mermaid form and falls over.
  • In the Kamen Rider Ex-Aid sequel movie Another Ending: Genm vs Lazer, Kuroto Dan throws something at a record player, and the resulting record scratch sounds like the guitar riff for the Dangerous Zombie gashat.
  • This happens on Lost when Desmond is listening to "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" on the record player in his underground bunker. The needle gets knocked off the record when our heroes blow the hatch open with dynamite.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, Dewey's babysitter—played by the late, great Bea Arthur—is in the process of bonding with him by dancing to ABBA's "Fernando" when she succumbs to a heart attack. How do they keep that funny? Bea's ticker trouble is indicated by the film stopping and the sound of a record scratching to a halt, followed by a jump cut to an ambulance driving away.
  • Played straight on the M*A*S*H episode "Tell It To The Marines". Potter returns from an away trip to find that Winchester, left in charge in Potter's absence, is using Klinger as his manservant and is blaring opera records. Potter puts an end to it by scraping the needle across a selection.
    • Same thing happened when Potter and Winchester were quarantined for mumps in the same tent and Winchester tried to play an Enrico Caruso record.
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, this happened from time to time in conversations. In "Guide to: Talent Shows", 2 of these are heard about 3 seconds apart.
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge has one in one of its finale episodes. The Rangers are fighting Sledge in the past and already know a good deal of his tricks. So when Tyler is able to correctly guess that Sledge is about to enlarge himself, the music halts briefly as Sledge is caught off guard.
    Sledge: Enough playing around! Time to show you something you've never seen before!
    Tyler: Lemme guess... Magna Beam?
    Sledge: MAGNA— *record needle scratch* Hey, how did YOU know? MAGNA BEEEEEEEAAM!
  • RuPaul's Drag Race uses this in one of its reading challenges.
    Jinkx Monsoon: Raja! You've always been like a sis— *scratch* You've always been like a mo— *scratch* You've always been like a grandmother to me.
  • Scrubs:
    • One of the common subversions, where it turns out that the Background Music was being played by an actual jukebox until it broke.
    • Dr Cox and his best friend / brother-in-law Ben admit how much they missed each other while Ben was away. Romantic music plays, they lean towards each other — and the needle skips as Cox cracks up.
      Ben: YES! I am the KING of gay chicken!
  • Top Gear (UK):
    • Variant: Clarkson and May are teasing Hammond about falling in love with a 1963 Opel Kadett. May is playing the theme to "Romeo and Juliet" on a keyboard but stops abruptly when Clarkson slips and refers to the car as "him".
    • At the beginning of their hunt for the source of the Nile, Clarkson interrupts his own epic narration with a scratch to note that five minutes into the special, they've already found it.
  • Happens in Twin Peaks when Bobby sees Shelly kissing Gordon Cole in the Double R Diner. Justified in that Bobby bumps the jukebox on the way in.
  • Played straight in an episode of Veronica Mars where Veronica is listening patiently to her dad saying that he met someone and hoping that she's ok with it... until he drops that it's her best friend Wallace's mom. Cue record scratch.
  • An episode of Watchdog, a British consumer issues program, used this trope to end some Sad Violin Music, being played by a man with a violin.
  • In an episode of Wipeout (2008), Ariel "Never-Been-Kissed" Tweeto was mocked for her inability to see a red pole right in front of her, because she assumed the pole would be yellow. It doesn't help that, right before the pole, Ariel crossed the Big Balls, the first contestant in the show's history to do so. She then shouts "Where's the pole?!" causing the sound of screeching tires to play over the footage. The hosts' snark is in full effect, complete with literally dozens of arrows pointing at the pole onscreen.
    Anderson: And she did it! The only person to successfully cross the Big Balls! And she's showing no signs of slowing down!
    Ariel: Where's the pole?!
    Henson: (tires screech) And we might have hit a snag.
  • Played straight in the opening episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, at least within the show. Upon being told WKRP is now a rock station, Johnny Fever (who had previously been fired from a radio station for saying "Boogers") drags the needle across the easy-listening record that was currently playing and fires up a rock album. That he introduces by saying, "Boogers!"
  • Used in X-Play at the end of Adam's review of Drake of the 99 Dragons after he gets sick of hearing Drake say "Nothing Can Stop Me Now!"note .

  • The earliest example is Frank Zappa near the end of "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music" on We're Only in It for the Money.
  • Austin Texas' Asylum Street Spankers' song "My Favorite Record" has them quoting lines from their favorite records, and ending the song jerkily repeating a line like a scratched disk.
  • Madonna does this twice on the song "Now I'm Following You (Part 2)" from her Dick Tracy soundtrack album I'm Breathless...the first time is when the record skips, presumably when it finishes playing the previous song on the album, "Now I'm Following You (Part 1)", and near the end when she says "Will you knock it off, please?", a Call-Back to her response in the song "Cry Baby".
  • "Intro" on Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything? ends with one of these.
  • Anathema's "Judgement" suddenly ends with this.
  • Neil's Heavy Concept Album, by Neil of The Young Ones:
    Neil: Hey, what was that? Oh no, hang on, somebody's scratched the record...
    Neil: Oh no, there's another one! Bloody bastards! I mean I've just spent like most of my life, right, making this record, and you don't even take care of it...
There then follows a blob of peanut butter on the record, followed by the big black skatey bit.
  • The Monkees' song "Magnolia Simms" is recorded in the style of an old 78 record. Towards the end, the song gets "stuck" and there's a record scratch as it resumes.
  • "Highdelbeeren" by Austrian singer Wilfried (although the end sounds less like a single needle scratch but more like DJ scratching).
  • The closing track on Brotherhood by New Order, "Every Little Counts", ends with a record scratch. The plan was to do a different medium-appropriate ending for each format (i.e. a tape-chewing sound for the cassette release and a disc-sticking sound for the CD release), but they never got round to it.
  • The Replacements' "I Bought a Headache" ends with applause, which is ended abruptly by a record scratch, transitioning to the song that follows it, "Rattlesnake".
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song Let Me Be Your Hog is interrupted by a record scratch, probably because nobody can bear to hear the rest of it. note 
  • One of Eminem's signatures is making record scratch sounds with his voice, usually to make vocal scratches accompanying his alter-ego Slim Shady, who is something of a Meta Guy. Sometimes he does this to 'slow' his voice down for slurry, deep-voiced punchlines (most notably the Wham Line in "Nail In The Coffin"). He's also done variations with more modern technology - in "Just Lose It", the CD skips, and in "Discombobulated" he raps a passage with voice-acted digital audio buffering glitches.

    Music Videos 
  • Fishbone, in the video for their ska-flavored "It's a Wonderful Life", uses footage from the Frank Capra movie. The repeating fade-out comes to an abrupt stop with the visual of Donna Reed angrily yanking a record off a phonograph and smashing it.

  • Dark Dice uses a record scratch sound effect whenever the players or Dungeonmaster break character, usually to explain what's going on or so the DM can "rewind time" to re-narrate in order to account for player actions.

  • An actual scratched record was part of a segment of The Stan Freberg Show, "Gray Flannel Hat Full of Teenage Werewolves", where a werewolf-by-night ad man is almost enraged enough by a scratch on his record to revert to his hairy state.
  • Peter Bochan uses it in his sound collage "Barack Obama Remix", a special edition of his "Shortcuts" series. As the election results pour in, doom-laden music is heard and George W. Bush intones "The war goes on. There's never a day when I do not learn of another threat, or receive reports of operations in progress or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers." A record scratch, and cut to MSNBC's final projection of Obama as the winner. (Keith Olbermann makes the official announcement, holding back Manly Tears.)
  • In the first episode of Series 44 of The Now Show, David Quantick's monologue on The Proms has a record needle scratch when he reveals they aren't playing any modern music. The monologue is then interrupted by Steve Punt pointing out that a modern audience won't recognise it ("No-one listens to vinyl any more except Mitch, and he lives in a caravan!") Quantick suggests a CD stuttering as a replacement, but that's not modern enough either, so they eventually go for "the sound of an MP3 not playing", and the monologue resumes:
    Quantick: ...Prokofiev and a whole host of new music. Except...
    [utter silence]
    Quantick: ...they're not!

  • A variant of this happens in Portal 2 The Unauthorized Musical. During the song If You Could See You, Cave Johnson explains to Caroline how he wants her to run the facility if he dies, while the music is still playing in the background. However, when Cave reveals that he's ordered Caroline to be uploaded into GLaDOS, the piano plays very off-key note and the music stops abruptly.
  • The Book of Mormon simulates this with a trumpet rip during the song "Two By Two," when Arnold Cunningham is told he's bound for Uganda.
  • Happens twice in the Team StarKid musical Starship.
  • Used in First Date: The Musical when Casey's best friend Reggie is halfway through the chorus of the third time through the "Bailout Song", suddenly deciding he doesn't want to sing it anymore, because he's too pissed that his bestie still hasn't answered her phone, probably because her date is actually going well!
  • Happens twice in the Disney on Ice show "Follow Your Heart" when Joy interrupts the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to skip to the fun part.
  • Cabinet Battle #1 from Hamilton in Hamilton's verse when Hamilton and Jefferson are Battle Rapping, the Record Needle Scratch comes at the line Sittin' there useless as 2 shits, hey! turn around, bend over, I'll show you where my shoe fits! shows as an example of Hamilton's inability to stop talking, he just keeps going and going and does not know when to shut his mouth.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: This occurs both times Dontos appears in "More Than Just Friends". The first time, Dontos shows up unexpectedly while Sansa is waiting for Sandor. The second time, he's being an outright Moment Killer in a scene that was meant to be a romantic moment between Sandor and Sansa.

    Video Games 
  • Castle on the Coast: The sound effect seems to play whenever the player pauses the game.
  • Used in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Ginny tells Harry she's already arranged to go to Hogsmeade with Dean, and hilarious on virtue of it being ridiculously out of place.
  • Heard in Perfect Dark Zero when you activate the fire alarm in the dance club.
  • In Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, if the player dies, the Background Music will end with an abrupt record scratch before the screen goes to black.
  • A literal example can occur in the BioShock games if a song happens to be playing on a small record player, and it is jostled from its spot (which, due to the awkward physics of the game, can happen by simply searching the desk it's sitting on). Detracting from the realism though, is the fact that the music audibly fades out during the scratch instead of cutting out abruptly and that there is no record present on the phonograph. BioShock Infinite introduced actual spinning records on its phonographs. There's at least one point where the music will cut instead of fading: in Sander Cohen's apartment in Mercury Suites, there's a pair of dancers waltzing to a tune on a record player. Cohen warns you not to interrupt their music. Their player is balanced on a box of ammo - if you take the ammo, the player will fall over, cuing a needle scratch... at which point the music cuts off and the dancers go berserk.
  • In StarCraft II, when Prince Valerian reveals himself to Raynor, he removes an actual needle from a playing record, with a scratch.
  • In Call of Duty's first British mission, the player has the chance to sneak up on some German soldiers near a bridge listening to a radio. Shortly after you begin shooting, the radio stops with a record scratch.
  • In F.E.A.R., the elevator music does this when the power gets cut.
  • In Brain Dead 13, this occurs whenever you pause the game.
  • You get a very short one in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft when you hit the “Cancel” button while waiting for an opponent.
  • Boyfriend from Friday Night Funkin' produces these sounds whenever he misses a note.
  • In Magic Match Adventures the Big Bad does one during the introductory song, followed by snickering.
  • Madam Extravaganza's Monster Emporium starts with an introduction for a fake game, followed by a needle scratch and a cut to the actual title screen.
  • Ninja Painter and Ninja Painter 2 play a needle scratch when the "Try Again" screen pops up.
  • In Fancy Pants Adventure: World 2 a needle scratch plays when a giant rabbit grabs Fancy Pants Man's ice cream cone while he's holding it triumphantly over his head.
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: Hypno Baron summons a "creature of unspeakable horror" to ominous music... only for this trope to take place when the creature turns out to be Squid Baron.
  • In Creepy Castle, during Ant Queen's story, there is a boss fight against Pinky when Ant Queen escapes from being captured. The fight plays like normal...only for the fight to abruptly end early with a needle scratch when Pinky's health goes down to a certain point.
  • In Heroine's Quest, if you mess up a time travel sequence and erase yourself from existence, the music abruptly cuts off like this.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, mission White Lies. The protagonist, Vic Vance comes to his brother Lance's home only to find him performing his trademark Lance Vance Dance to Don't Go by Yazoo while being high on cocaine. Unable to take his brother's careless attitude any longer, Vic immediately stops the record, much to Lance's surprise.
  • The music of the second level of Earthworm Jim, "What the Heck?" starts with the opening of "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky, but halfway through is suddenly interrupted by a loud needle scratch and switches to what can only be described as elevator music with the occasional blood-curdling scream thrown in.
  • In Hades, Zagreus attempting to steal from Charon results in the Background Music doing this. Only after Zagreus has had a proper Oh, Crap! moment as he realizes who he's angered does the music return as a Boss Remix.
  • There Is No Game has the scratch happen while the title is appearing, and is followed by the narrator giving the bad news that there's no game - giving suggestions of other things to do, such as going outside, asking for a refund, etc.

    Visual Novels 
  • Used a couple of times in Daughter for Dessert in scenes when one or (usually) more characters are shocked.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, happens to the game's introspective "Friendship" track during a scene on Shizune's route where Kenji removes his glasses and says something almost sensible... before reminding everyone that he's still Kenji and putting them back on.

    Web Animation 
  • The Only Superhuman flash animation. God's dancing a victory jig for the destruction of humanity to a hammond-organ rendition of 'Hallelujah', which scratches when he discovers their ingenuity has foiled his plan.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, the first arrival of Fabulous Cusodes starts with Golden Throne's usual background choir being cut by record needle scratch before turning into "Awake", their Leitmotif.
  • Homestar Runner loves this trope, using it in at least ten cartoons so far. They use a distinctly different sound effect for it than most works.
  • Silver Quill: At the start of "After the Fact: Keep Calm and Flutter On", the club house music screeches to a halt when Silver Quill in full Man with No Name get-up shows up, replaced by the appropriate leitmotif. Then it screeches again as the initial music resumes, and we're shown it is Vinyl Scratch (appropriately) who's doing that. It happens a third time when Silver Quill says he's looking for a reviewer for a Discord episode, and DJ Pon-3 gives him a glare.
  • DEATH BATTLE!, "Deadpool vs. Pinkie Pie": The battle music scratches to a halt when Deadpool realizes that Pinkie can break the fourth wall like him.
  • Camp Camp has a case after a revealing\embarrassing line that's even justified, as it happened because the Quartermaster perforated the LP with his hook hand.


    Web Original 
  • In "20 Socially Unacceptable Things!" by Matthew Santoro, a man asks his friend how it's going. He responds that his parents just died and that he's having a really difficult time getting over it. Then, a record scratches, and the man interrupts him to talk about how his car just got 22-inch rims, because he doesn't care about his friend's problems.
  • As soon as the bar patrons see Deadpool enter at the start of "Deadpool: The Musical," the music playing in the bar comes to a needle-scratching stop and the patrons look at him in displeasure.
  • Doctor Steel used it in The Dr. Steel Christmas Special.
    "My Christmas tree is simply overflowing with kind gifts. Thank you, ever so much. I simply cannot wait until Christmas. And so... <skrrrrtt!> I won't!"
  • The Echo Chamber episode on the trope Freudian Excuse has Tom telling a sad story set to sad music. The story is about his childhood, and why it made him the jerk he is. Dana's response is an unimpressed, "Is that it?", timed with a Record Needle Scratch and the music stopping. It was an explanation, not an excuse.
  • Referenced by Le Fossoyeur de Films (a French videomaker discussing about cinema) in a video about the 10 movie clichés he dislikes the most. The Record Needle Scratch sound is the one he hates the most among them, although he mostly targets the humoristic use of this sound. It doesn't prevent him to use it a couple of times for jokes during the same sequence.
  • Referenced in an edition of The BBC's Paper Monitor (scroll down to Paper Monitor for 15th March):
    Skkkrrrrrreeeee! (An attempt to render the sound of a phonographic needle skittering across a record through the medium of the alphabet, to signify a "whoa, hold on there little doggy!" reaction.)
  • Plays during Pikasprey's review of Meteor The Hedgehog when he gets into the first battle and sees the amateurishly drawn OC he's fighting.
    "And in that moment, I thought of all the other things I could be doing today."
  • Saga of Soul: Invoked by Eriko when she begins feeding Douchebaggio false information.
    El Douchebaggio: I am also fairly certain that, when you turned Murder's own weapon against him, there was no dramatic music and needle scratch sound effect.
  • On The Spoony Experiment, Spoony pulls one during his "FMV Hell: Make My Video" review when he realizes that the two children from the "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch" game look exactly like younger versions of him and his sister.
    Spoony: Skrull! Skrull! I've been secretly invaded!
  • Todd in the Shadows invoked and immediately lampshaded this in reaction to a line from 5 Seconds of Summer's "She Looks So Perfect":
    I'm sorry. I believe I just heard a lyric so bad it made my digital internet video make a record-scratch noise somehow.
    • In a couple of later videos, he has a gag where he immediately retrieves a vinyl record after using the sound effect, in the first case joking that he does keep a record player handy for when he needs it.
  • A common Internet meme (First started on 4chan, now usually seen on Tumblr) involves someone posting a screencap from a piece of media featuring a random scene (Often an amusing one), accompanied with the following caption:
    *Record scratch*
    * Freeze frame*
    "Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation."
  • Pokémon Talk: In the Top 50 Moments video, right before a Running Gag compilation.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. This is used in "Scammer Expected $5,000 But Grandma Buys A Scooter" when his Granny Edna character is the middle of thanking "Amazon" for having given her $5,000 that she used to buy a scooter complete with a schmaltzy piano tune playing in the background and the scammer tells her she has to send the money back.
  • In "Harry Potter: Hogwarts in 2020" from The Warp Zone, Voldemort bombs a video-call of a Hogwarts class being held in this manner because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of these is used when Harry comes to the realization that he hasn't even masked his IP address and thus can be traced.

    Western Animation 
  • Used in the unfinished "Pretty In Pink/Crap Gets in Your Eyes" episode of Mission Hill where Andy is trying to tell Gwen he loves her, but is completely drowned out by her neigborhoods background sounds of barking dogs, blaring salsa music, and trashcans being rattled. When he finally gets the courage to scream out "GWEN, I LOVE YOU!!!!" everything goes completely quiet and the music stops with an abrupt "bweeeooo....".
  • Parodied in a Sealab 2021 episode, after the second Record Needle Scratch it cut to a nearby character at an actual record player, who then apologized for doing it.
  • Used in all the parody trailers for Rob Schneider films in the South Park episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe". Also used for the spoof pseudo-trailers in "Stanley's Cup".
  • Used straight in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, as Peter Parker confidently walks up to the head cheerleader and asks her out, only to be bluntly rejected.
  • American Dad!:
    • A needle scratch interrupts the opening credits of an episode when the newspaper Couch Gag has been replaced by Stan seeing Roger the alien undisguised on the front page.
    • It happens again in one of the later episodes which uses a new opening involving Roger showing up in Stan's car wearing a different outfit as the Couch Gag — One time when he isn't wearing anything, a needle scratch occurs as Stan turns the car back around.
  • Megas XLR: The sound of squealing car brakes replaces the traditional sound effects.
  • Used hilariously in an episode of Teen Titans. A villain is listing his demands to Robin, and the final demand is... that Robin will take his daughter to her junior prom. Said daughter appears on the screen ("Hi Robby-poo!"). Cue record scratch, as well as an eye twitch.
  • In The Simpsons season 21 episode "Bart Gets a Z", a cool new teacher actually says the words "Record scratch!" as he enters the classroom.
  • Used liberally in Phineas and Ferb. In "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together", the record scratches off Perry's Theme Tune when he realizes Doofenschmirtz isn't up to anything more nefarious than trying to make a nice sweet sixteen party for his daughter after a string of failed ones.
    • In another episode, Candace learned that she's is given a Godzilla role by the boys.
  • In the Pixar short Mater and the Ghost Light, there's one right after Lightning McQueen says, "What is the Ghost Light?"
  • Used in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Patrick is the one millionth recipient of a driver's license and wins a boatmobile. This trope occurs near the end when Patrick reveals that he threw the boatmobile away because the needle was on E, and he apparently thought it meant "end". Hilarity Ensues.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Used unusually frequently for a series of this type, because the music tends to follow the action. Just a couple of examples:
    • In "Call of the Cutie", Apple Bloom trips right into an actual record player, causing it to scratch like this, and drawing attention to the fact that she still doesn't have her cutie mark and was trying to hide it.
    • In "Hearts and Hooves Day", the Cutie Mark Crusaders play Shipper on Deck for their teacher and Big Macintosh. Not only does a needle scratch accompany the first attempt at a romantic moment being ruined, but because there was an actual record player present the music keeps playing, only distorted.
    Sweetie Belle: OH, COME ON!
  • Inverted in Duck Amuck; Daffy asks for sound, and a quiet static can be heard. That is the sound of a record starting to play.
  • A variant in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, in "Paw and Order", with a chorus instead of record needle: The "Masked Bear" is preparing to fight the villain and is twirling an ice cream spoon in his paw dramatically, but then suddenly drops it...
    Chorus: Ohhhhh... ohhhhh... aw!
  • In "Eager Beaver" from My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Beaver is trying to get the Super Sleuths to solve their cases more efficiently. He interrupts the "Think, Think, Think" song after about two seconds, complete with a record needle scratch.
  • At the start of the Danger Mouse episode "Alping Is Snow Easy Matter," we see the Swiss Alps instead of London, and as "Pomp And Circumstance" plays in the background, the announcer starts off with "London... teeming city of millions..." and then realizes the visual incongruity. The Background Music stops with a quick, vicious needle scratch as the narrator adjusts his dialogue to accommodate the scene.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, in the opening of the third act of the Animated Adaptation of Emperor Joker, just as the Joker feels a bit saddened at Batman's first death and the organ music plays, as he pauses for a moment of silence along with Harley and the others, he suddenly smiles and says, "Okay, let's do it again!"; and at the snap of his fingers, there is a sudden needle scratch of the record as Batman's winged spirit stops flying with a confused look on his face, then gets reversed along with the rewound music as the hammer lifts up from under him before he is returned to his Squashed Flat body and revived.
  • An episode of Danny Phantom weaponized this trope, after the gang discovered that scratching Ember's hypnotizing records disrupts her ghost shield.
  • In "How Can I Stop Little Bird Eating the Seeds?" on Guess with Jess, Jess's excitement at the idea of being a scarecrow is record needle scratched when he comes to the sudden realization that he'd get tired if he tried to stand around being a scarecrow all day. Later, in "How Can We Keep Dry for Horace's Concert?", Jess and his friends get record needle scratched when they think they've figured out how they can keep dry and shout "Yippity yay!" but then realize that water is leaking through the holes in the basket that they're using to cover themselves. It happens also in "What Can We Do With Mimi's Garbage?" when Jess gets excited before he's actually solved the problem, twice, and may be something of a regular thing. When he finally solves the problem fully in "Mimi's Garbage", he actually stops for a second after starting to cheer, apparently worried that he's about to get record-needle-scratched again.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): The opening of "Something's a Ms." has the Mayor putting a CD on a record turntable and placing the needle on the spinning CD. A continuous scratch is heard.
    Mayor: This techno music is dope!
  • On Sheriff Callie's Wild West, this is used in "King Stinky" to interrupt a reprise of the song about how great Farmer Stinky's peppers are when he reveals that he only has a few of them left and he's planning to use them to make soup for himself.
  • This is used for the "Problem Solved" song in "The Highlight Zone Problem" from Peg + Cat when Peg restores the color to her bed, but realizes that it hasn't been restored to anything else.
  • In "Stylish Ella" from Ella the Elephant, Ella's initial performance of her magic hat song is record needle scratched early on because she isn't wearing the hat. Belinda has her wearing a different hat with feathers to try to make her look "stylish."
  • In the premiere episode of Care Bears & Cousins, "Take Heart," when Wonderheart wakes up the day after the Cousins arrive, she says that she feels wonderful. After going outside and looking at the damage that was done to her room by the Cloud Clipper, there's a very brief record needle scratch and she amends it to "less wonderful," though she quickly perks up upon seeing the Share Cloud.
  • This is used so commonly on Beat Bugs as for there to not really be much point listing individual examples. Possibly the case because the show's conceit is that it's essentially set in a musical world — each episode is based around on a song of The Beatles.
  • In "Shoe In" on ToddWorld, the group encounters a caterpillar who is cold in the snow because he doesn't have enough money to buy shoes for his many feet. All but one of them agree that they can look for some of their old shoes to give to him. They then turn to resident fashion-plate, Stella, resulting in this.
  • Llama Llama:
    • In "Job Day," right before the kids are told which adults they're going to be paired with for Job Day, Luna expresses to the other kids that there's no way she'd want to be paired with Officer Flamingo, whose job isn't creative. Thus naturally when the assignments are given out, Luna is paired with Officer Flamingo, accompanied by this sound effect.
    • In the opening of "The Snow Must Go On," there's one after Nelly and Luna announce that they're planning to have their nearly created "Snow Games" tomorrow.
  • Ready Jet Go!: One can be heard in "The Tide is High" at one point, and also in "Mindy Turns Five".
  • In the opening of "Meteor Shower" from Pete the Cat, Neville narrates about how Pete and his friends are camping deep in the woods and gets record needle scratched as we're shown that they're actually just camping in Pete's backyard.
  • Steven Universe: Played with in "We Need to Talk"; after Greg witness Steven and Connie fusing into Stevonnie, he hastily stops the music he was playing, producing a scratching-record sound as he fiddles with the record player.
  • In "Hugo, We Have a Problem" from Esme & Roy, "The Monster Shimmy" song is record-needle scratched and ended abruptly when Esme and Roy realize despite their best song and dance efforts in getting Fig to put on her raincoat and hat, she's taken them off.
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!: The episode "The Curse of Kaniaku" has a rare diegetic example. Scooby & Shaggy visit a restaurant in Tokyo which has traditional Japanese music playing on a gramophone behind the counter for ambience. The chef stops the music abruptly when Shaggy says something that shocks and offends him.
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "Hola Mariachi", when Luna yells "STOP THE MUSIC!" when her song about mariachi starts to speed up, a record needle scratch sound plays when the music stops.
  • Rosie's Rules: Happens in "Family Sports Day," when Rosie realizes that soccer won the majority vote and not basketball, which she voted for.
  • Dinosaur Train: One can be heard in "Surprise Party" when Mr. Pteranodon says "Good thinking, team! This will be so great! Uh (coughs) hello, son."
  • Molly of Denali: In "Molly and the Snow Hawk," a record needle scratch can be heard when Tooey realizes how old and rickety Molly's sled, the Snow Hawk is.

    Real Life 
  • Used spectacularly in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, when the characters of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends abruptly cut off their song with one of these and gave the floor to none other than Rick Astley, who then proceeded to Rickroll all of America.
    Cheese: I love rickrolling!
    • A less subtle version of this happened in the 2010 parade during presentation of the Despicable Me float. Right when the hosts paused after giving a description of the float, one of these played as the Milton DeLugg score gave way to a disco song, which served as a cue for the Minions to "steal" the scaled-down Statue of Liberty. See it here.
  • There is a too-good-to-be-true story passed around in the radio industry about a DJ who set up several records to go off one-after-another live and went down to the cafeteria for lunch. The speaker in the cafeteria was playing the station and when he got there a commercial for an audio version of Moby-Dick was playing but the record was skipping going "dick.. dick.. dick.. dick.. dick.. dick..". The DJ rushed up the stairs to the station and upon entering the studio slapped at the record player in a panic. The record player went "dick.. dick - *[Record Needle Scratch]* THAR SHE BLOWS!"

Alternative Title(s): Record Scratch, Record Scratch Halt


Mr. Carburettor

He means the swimsuit he got for his birthday.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThatCameOutWrong

Media sources: