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"Dovahkiin, Dovahkiinnote 
Naal ok zin los vahriinnote 
Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal!note 
Ahrk fin norok paal graannote 
Fod nust hon zindro zaan,note 
Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal!"note 
— A barbarian choir sings the player's praises to the tune of the Elder Scrolls theme — The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The opposite of Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics - an instrumental tune never intended to have lyrics is given some, often for humorous or ironic effect.

Gaining popularity on the Internet (e.g. Brentalfloss of ScrewAttack with Nintendo game themes, and Channel Awesome doing it to 1980s cartoon themes), but the practice has been around for a while - e.g. The Two Ronnies did it every now and then, playing orchestra musicians, big-band jazzmen, or brass-band players who sang along to the classics their ensemble was performing.

This is, naturally, a Sub-Trope of To the Tune of.... May overlap (oddly enough) with Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics, if the "real" lyrics are obscure enough that the tune is an instrumental for all intents and purposes.


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  • A 1967 ad for Jeno's Pizza Rolls (known today as Totino's Pizza Rolls after being sold to Pillsbury) spoofs Lark Cigarettes' "Show Us Your Lark Pack" campaign, complete with a song sung to the tune of the William Tell Overture. At a break in the song, a man with cigarettes walks in to complain about the used music. Who else then shows up but the Lone Ranger and Tonto, wanting to talk to him about the same thing? It's worth noting that this ad was directed by Stan Freberg.
  • An ad for AT&T U-verse TV has a mother ask her husband to watch football in the basement so the kids can watch TV in the living room. He refuses because he says his team could lose if he doesn't sit on his "lucky couch," and sings to the tune of the ESPN Monday Night Football theme "Heavy Action" as it plays on the TV:
    Game starting now! DA DA, DA DA.
    Have fun in the basement! DA DA, DA DA.
    I'm sitting on lucky couch!
  • Bunches of advertising jingles fit this trope.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Cantonese Hong Kong dub of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind added lyrics to the ending theme. With a male chorus. It actually sounded really cool. The rearrangments and the lyrics made it a National Anthem kind of song, if you know what the chrous translates into:
    With you we prospect
    and new paths we'll pave
    May it shine, this new light and spirit
    together we create the glorious and resounding!
  • The theme song to The End of Evangelion, Thanatos (If I Can't Be Yours), is a musical theme from Neon Genesis Evangelion with lyrics. (Note that the music doesn't live up to the title Thanatos, but the lyrics might.)
  • The Cowboy Bebop soundtrack box set features "Wandering Cowboy", an Ed Image Song in which she gives lyrics to "Tank!", the show's theme song, which describes the pursuits of the series' space bounty hunters.

    Fan Works 
  • Pokémon × Nimja: Play the Game:
    • The opening theme song is Nimja's instrumental piece "Ages," with lyrics about friendship, determination, and the end of the world:
      In my lifetime, I've seen intriguing things
      Now the world's ending; what strife will this bring?
      I am waiting for answers I never knew
      But I'll only get through this one with you

      And as I wait, they come for me
      This world aligns
      As long as you're here with me

      Cause we can't go on 'til the fight's begun
      We cannot stop 'til this battle's won
      We can't give up, we must journey on
      This one is for the ages!
      Don't tell me now what I need to do
      I need to ask now: what must you do?
      With our true power, we'll make it through
      This one is for the ages!
    • Additionally, the web series version set lyrics to "The Liberty Bell March" for the episode "And Now For Something Completely Different," and repurposed as "The Monty Python Anthem":
      We love you, Monty Python, yes we do!
      We love you, Monty Python, yes it's true!
      Your humor is so amazing; your skits are funny and true,
      We love you, Monty Python, yes we—
      [fart noise]
  • SOSchip: In Real Life as well as In-Universe, "Yonen wa Shinu". If you don’t know Japanese, it's Nine Inch Nails' "The Four of Us Are Dying" with lyrics added in.

    Films — Animation 
  • Spirited Away also has an image album which adds lyrics to several of the tracks from the soundtrack, most of them surprisingly depressing.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 has "Where No One Goes," which is a remake of the flying theme from the first film, more up-tempo and with lyrics.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Charlie Chaplin added lyrics to his theme for A Countess from Hong Kong to make the Petula Clark hit "This Is Your Song."
  • The film My Fellow Americans has the rival ex-presidents admitting to producing their own lyrics for 'Hail to the Chief'.
    • Kevin Kline in Dave also has fun with 'Hail to the Chief' while showering: "Hail to the Chief, he's the one we all say hail to..."
  • This very NSFW song, set to the main theme from Jurassic Park.
  • When Marvin Hamlisch adapted Scott Joplin's music for the movie The Sting, no lyrics were added. However, somewhere in the ensuing boom in Joplin's popularity, the movie's main theme "The Entertainer" got attached to new lyrics by John Brimhall, which were widely reprinted and performed: "Now the curtain is going up / The entertainer is taking a bow…"
  • A version of the old Superman films theme tune was once recorded by an artist named Enrique in France with added lyrics. The song was later resung by an artist named Noam.
  • Ennio Morricone and Hayley Westenra's Paradiso consists largely of this.
  • In the commentary track for UHF, "Weird Al" Yankovic sings along with the Orion Pictures Vanity Plate: "Orion... Orion... is bankrupt... now!"
  • The Lord of the Rings movies have a few examples. In the closing credits to Fellowship, after Enya's "May It Be" there's a version of the Shire theme "A Hobbit's Understanding" set to English lyrics (see here). The refrain to "Into the West", the end credits song to Return, has the tune to the Gray Havens theme. If Elvish lyrics also count, there are quite a few, but one of the best must be the Fellowship theme as heard at the start of the Battle of the Black Gate.
  • One year before it was done in The Star Wars Holiday Special, (see below) French singer René Joly added lyrics to the Star Wars theme, in a Softer and Slower Cover.
  • Peter's Friends starts with the main cast at their university days, performing a cabaret act where they sing about the London subways to the tune of The Can Can. The movie ends with Peter and his friends singing the song together at a private reunion years later, cementing their status as True Companions.
  • Linkin Park's "New Divide" from Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is basically a lyrical version of "Arrival to Earth", the main series theme.
  • Ted 2 has a scene where Ted makes up lyrics for the Law & Order theme.
  • Arthur (1981) — The Album, the soundtrack for the 1981 film, includes two pop songs that do not appear in the film but are With Lyrics versions of instrumental pieces from Burt Bacharach's underscore: "Money" became Ambrosia's "Poor Rich Boy" and "It's Only Love" became a Stephen Bishop song with the same title.
  • In most films in the James Bond series, a song is played over the opening titles performed by a major recording artist of the time.note  While in some films this provides a leitmotif throughout the film, in most cases it's not reprised again (if at all) until the end credits. However as part of its Early-Installment Weirdness, From Russia with Love uses an instrumental version over the opening titles, and the With Lyrics version isn't played until the end credits.
  • The jazz standard "Laura" was originally the instrumental theme to the film of the same name. Johnny Mercer added lyrics to David Raskin's melody after the film made the tune popular.
  • The Nutcracker in 3D had Tim Rice add new lyrics to the classic score.
  • Exploitation documentary Mondo Cane had an incongruously pretty theme tune which, with the addition of romantic lyrics, became the pop standard "More."
  • Blue Nature lyricized Vangelis's "Conquest of Paradise", from 1492: Conquest of Paradise, as "Return To Paradise".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The standard playground theme lyrics during the Classic series were "Ooo-ee-oo, it's Dr. Who! Here comes Dr. Who in the TARDIS. (Deedly-dum, deedly dum...)" You can see this version performed by falsetto-voiced sockpuppets on a DVD extra on "The War Games".
    • On his blog, Lawrence Miles, fandom personality and Tie-In Novel writer of Doctor Who, has a sidebar giving lyrics to some instrumental themes from the show:
      The Words to Well-Known Doctor Who Themes: Although the location-footage music in "City of Death" is instrumental, everyone who hears it instinctively knows that the words are, "Running through Paris, we're running through Paris, we're running through Paris, we're running through France"...
      • There's more - for example, the lyrics to "The 'Mysterious TARDIS Energy' Theme" are "De-e-e-us ex ma-chi-na..."
      • What about the main theme? Doctor Who~ooo, how are yo~ooou? How do you do the things you do~ooo?
    • Craig Ferguson created his own lyrics for the Doctor Who theme for the 11/16/10 cold open, which wasn't used due to Executive Meddling. Here's the "lost" cold-open.
    • THIS.
    • "Trock" band Chameleon Circuit uses the titular episode's incidental music in their song "Big Bang 2"
    • Fan artist Halia Meguid put lyrics to "The Doctor's Theme", mostly dealing with the angsty bits of the Ten/Rose ship.
    • The Peter Capaldi Theme Song.
  • A weird case when Milton Berle guest starred on The Muppet Show. He hears Rowlf playing The Entertainer and claims that the song has little-known lyrics, which he proceeds to sing. The thing is, while a few people wrote lyrics for that song over the years, there are no official ones, and probably none that were written while Scott Joplin was alive. The ones Berle sings were actually written by arranger John Brimhall for a book of piano sheet music only four years before the episode aired.
  • For a non-comedic example, the last season of Roseanne added lyrics to what had been an entirely instrumental tune for all past seasons.
  • The theme tune to The X-Files was a victim. Allegedly the words go: "The X-Files is a show... with music by Mark Snow..."
  • Similarly, this clip from the Stargate SG-1 DVD commentary track includes tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
    Stargate — it's a crazy trip.
    You can go quite far,
    And you don't need a car
    Or even a ship.
  • This trope is a Running Gag in Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • In The Young and the Restless, a version of the theme song with lyrics is sung by Gina.
  • For some reason, the French version of the opening theme for The A-Team has lyrics, whereas the original was instrumental only (save for the opening narration). The lyrics do work, though — even though they're definitely '80s.
  • In a Taxi episode, Reverend Jim is set up on a date with Marcia Wallace of The Bob Newhart Show, and regales her with the lyrics he's composed for the show's theme: "Here comes Bob and Carol/His wife, Emily, really likes him/He has five people in his group..."
    • Nick at Nite used to do this in promos, for Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie too, though in at least one of those cases there actually were unused lyrics for the song..
    • GSN also ran commercials adding lyrics to the themes from Match Game, Family Feud, and The Newlywed Game. The Feud commercial was actually based on lyrics that a contestant sang to Richard Dawson once.
  • The sitcom Buffalo Bill featured Dabney Coleman as the titular Bill, who hosts a morning TV talk show. In one episode, he decided to "spice up" the show by adding his own lyrics to the theme song:
    The people 'round here do some talking;
    Turn on your T.V. set,
    Turn on your T.V. and see!
  • Bill Murray has done this a few times:
    • A Saturday Night Live sketch had Bill Murray as Lounge Lizard Nick Winters adding lyrics to the main theme of Star Wars:"Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars..."
    • Murray added lyrics to Late Night Late Night with David Letterman
    • During Craig Kilborne's run, Murray was asked to add lyrics to their theme song, which Murray obliged off the cuff. "Why don't you watch it? It's The Daily Show!" Let's all watch it! It's The Daily Show!..."
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special had Carrie Fisher sing the Life Day song to the tune of the Star Wars theme...
  • In one of the Academy Awards, Will Ferrell and Jack Black added lyrics to the song played when a speech gets overtly long.
  • Eddie, from the late 90's sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, produced a get-rich-quick scheme that involved invoking this trope. One theme he added lyrics to, was the Sanford and Son theme.
  • "Live show, it's a 30 Rock live show. It's 30 Rock live!"
    • And for the west coast: "Let's talk about sushi. Portland, Vegas, Glendale, this is 30 Rock!"
    • Weird Al added lyrics in the end credits of the episode "Kidnapped by Danger":
      Now you can go vent your rage
      On your Twitter and Facebook page
  • Some fans of Game of Thrones have come to associate these lyrics to the theme song:
    Hey, it's
    Time to watch, Game
    Game of Throoooones...
  • According to Joss Whedon on one DVD commentary track, the theme song to Angel goes "Angel iiis a vampire/Who fiiights criiime with hiiis friends..."
  • A sketch in Harry Hill's TV Burp has Harry declare to the audience he's discovered the words to the Emmerdale theme tune, which involves the characters singing the names of different sauces.
    • A non-comedic example: Eino Grön, a Finnish singer, once put the theme to words under the name of "Kotona Taas" (Finnish for "Home Again").
  • Irish singer DANA once sang a version of the theme to Brookside with lyrics. The name of the song is unknown and it was never released.
  • In 1999, MAD ran an article titled "11 Ways Jeopardy! Contestants Can Really Piss Off Alex Trebek". Number 11 was "Sing along to the Jeopardy! Thinking Music".
    Contestant: This is Final Je'par-dy,
    Having trouble WITH this cat-e-gory!
    To-day's champ — it won't be me!
    Don't know Greek myth-o-lo-gy!
    Hope my friends don't watch the show,
    Or they'll see there's NUH-thing that I know and
    I'll look like a total heel.
    Wish instead I'd gone... on... Wheel! DUM DUM!
  • Blake's 7 had lyrics to its iconic theme tune written for the revamped credits for the fourth and final season, to be sung by Steven Pacey (Tarrant). As you can see, they suffered from a pretty serious case of Lyrical Dissonance given the increasingly bleak and cynical tone of the show and the idea was dropped. If any test recordings were ever made, they appear not to have survived.
  • Manhattan Transfer did this with the theme from The Twilight Zone (1959).
  • Lyrics were written for the theme from Mission: Impossible but were never used, though they occasionally turn up on sheet music.
  • For some reason, American and UK series imported to Japan often have a song added to the opening credits in lieu of the original composition. In many cases, such as with Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, the song itself is new, but in the case of Thunderbirds, a recurring piece of incidental music from the series, the "Century 21 March" was performed with sung Japanese lyrics.
  • Morecambe and Wise added lyrics to the Thames Television ident: "Here they are now, Morecambe and Wise!"
  • On an episode of Home Improvement Tim and Al hold a contest to right lyrics for Tool Time. The acts seen are a 1-man rockabilly band, a barbershop quartet of Al fans, and a local rap group.
  • The original Star Trek theme has official lyrics that were never recorded or intended for actual use. They were written by Gene Roddenberry after the first season so that he could claim for himself half the royalties being paid to Alexander Courage, the composer who wrote the music. Read all the details, including the lyrics on Snopes.
  • A 2006 Have I Got News for You spin-off book included "the secret lyrics to the theme tune". The fact these were written on a proper version of the score proved unexpectedly controversial, as the composer, Big George Webley, retained copyright.
  • Chilean puppet show 31 Minutos's main theme song is an Instrumental Theme Tune, but a version with official lyrics was eventually released: "Yo Nunca Vi Televisión" ("I've Never Watched Television"), performed by the show's main cast.
  • Back when Dallas was at its height of popularity, teenagers in British playgrounds used to sing:
    He's mean, he's rich,
    His wife is a bitch,
    He drives a fancy car,
    He lives in Dallas,
    And his house is a palace,
    And the bastard's name's JR.
  • In 1986, the Eastenders theme was given lyrics and performed by Anita Dobson (who played Angie Watts) as "Anyone Can Fall in Love". It reached number 4 in the UK charts.
  • Geoffrey Burgon, who composed the theme music to Brideshead Revisited, also used it as a setting for the Latin hymn Ave Verum Corpus.

  • 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" was originally an instrumental song, but later it got rapping lyrics.
  • Allan Sherman's classical music parodies, including his best-known work, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (to Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours").
  • The Megas is a band devoted to this; particularly the classic Mega Man 2 games. Their album "Get Equipped" covers all the songs from Mega Man 2, and they are working on some songs from number 3. Oh, and both the lyrics and music are actually very good.
    • The series itself did this in the third Mega Man Star Force game, where the theme song, Shooting Star, was given lyrics that were sung during one of Sonia's concerts. Sadly, it only showed up in text form and wasn't actually sung... Until 2014 where a group of Japanese artists did a fan cover that can be listened to here.
  • The Adventures of Duane & BrandO is in the same vein as The Megas, though with more of a focus on the protagonists than the villains. They are most well-known for their youtube videos for such games as Final Fantasy and Mega Man 2 (over a million hits for FF!).
    First some wind, then some rain
    Then a fuckin' hurricane!
    We're all gonna die! Time to say goodbye!
    Holy crap! What the shit?!
    I am twelve and what is this?!
    We're all gonna die tonight!
  • In Flanders and Swann's "Ill Wind," the singer laments the theft of his French horn to the tune of a Mozart French horn concerto.
  • Gabriel Fauré's Pavane Op. 50 was composed as a purely instrumental piece for piano solo or orchestra, with optional choral lyrics written later by Robert de Montesquiou.
  • This is, more or less, the entirety of the genre of vocalese. Manhattan Transfer's version of "Birdland" (an instrumental composition by the jazz fusion band Weather Report) is a good example.
  • Barbershop example: the Gas House Gang ('93 world champs) did this by putting a plot summary of Mozart's The Magic Flute to the much-more-well-known tune of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
    Ju-urassic Park, Ju-urassic Park,
    where the dinosaurs are free-ee
  • Hoagy Carmichael originally wrote "Stardust" as an instrumental—and a ragtime piano solo, at that—and the lyrics were added later by Mitchell Parish. Nowadays, words and music are regarded as having always been together.
  • Pianist Floyd Cramer wrote "Last Date" as an instrumental. In 1960, Skeeter Davis and Boudleaux Bryant wrote lyrics, and Skeeter recorded the lyrical version as "My Last Date with You". Later on, Conway Twitty wrote his own lyrics as "Lost Her Love on Our Last Date", which was later Covered Up by Emmylou Harris as "Lost His Love on Our Last Date".
  • E.S. Posthumus's first album was fully instrumental. Their second album included lyrics in a Latin derivative.
  • Stevie Wonder wrote "The Tears of a Clown" as an instrumental but couldn't come up with any lyrics. Smokey Robinson thought it sounded like a circus and obliged.
  • It's more rap than singing, but Sweetbox's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" was Bach's Air on the G String turned into R&B.
  • Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist best known for Fiddler on the Roof, was commissioned to write lyrics to Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" in the late '50s, but his lyrics(known as "The Man with the Sign") were all but forgotten. The theme of his lyrics, that the freedom to express unpopular points of view is important to a Democratic society, may have been too controversial for the era of Joe McCarthey. His lyrics tell about a lone protester carrying a sign, and how the singer, while vehemently disagreeing with the protester's views, supports his right to protest, since it means he is free. You can read (most of) the lyrics here.
    "But the man with the sign's a friend of mine
    All alone in his proud endeavor
    And as long as I fight for this man's right
    That's the glory of the stars and stripes forever.
    Yes, the man with the sign's a friend of mine
    All alone in his proud endeavor.
    For the sign says to me, "This man is free!"
    That's the story of the Stars and Stripes Forever."
    • Of course, the Stars and Stripes Forever has a much better-known set of "with lyrics" attached to it. "Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck maybe somebody's muh-ther..."
  • Singer Helmut Lotti has written lyrics to several classical music pieces.
  • Duke Ellington: It's reported that the Signature Song "Take the 'A' Train" was originally written with lyrics, but the earliest recordings of the song were completely instrumental, and the lyrics were apparently lost or discarded. The Delta Rhythm Boys ended up recording a version of the song with their own lyrics. Independently, the 17-year-old Joya Sherrill also came up with lyrics for the song; when she sang them for Duke, he was so impressed that he hired her as a vocalist and adopted those lyrics.
  • Orbital: The Box EP ended with a vocal version of the title track, with Grant Fulton and Alison Goldfrapp singing.
  • "A Lover's Concerto" by the Toys is sung to the tune of "Minuet in G" by Christian Petzold. note 
  • Bob Keeshan, AKA Captain Kangaroo, narrated a children's record of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite". Lyrics telling the story are given to each piece. For example, the famous "March" comes on when the toys (mostly stuffed animals) come to life; it begins with: "Dogs followed by cats and kangaroos/all marching along in step by twos..."
  • The Brian Setzer's Orchestra's "One More Night with You" provided lyrics for a swing arrangement of Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King".
  • Beastie Boys' joke song "The Biz Vs. The Nuge" samples the first half-minute of Ted Nugent's "Homeward Bound", with Biz Markie singing along to the guitar riff.
  • A common treatment to previously instrumental trance anthems, such as Darude's "Out of Control(Back For More)"(featuring Tammy Marie), Tiësto's "(Sub)Urban Train"(featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw), Rank 1's "Breathing(Airwave 2003)" and "It's Up to You(Symsonic)"(both featuring Shanokee), and Armin van Buuren's "Shivers" (featuring Susanna, originally "Birth of an Angel").
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra frequently does this. Notable example, "Christmas Canon", based on Pachelbel's "Canon in D".
  • "Misirlou" is an inverted example, since the very first version of the song has lyrics, but then the more known instrumental surf rock version by Dick Dale was later added in The Black Eyed Peas' song "Pump It" with new lyrics, basically "a cover without lyrics now with lyrics".
  • Straight No Chaser's "Christmas Can-Can", to the tune of ''The Galop'' from "Orpheus in the Underworld" features these lyrics:
    "It's time to do the Christmas Can Can,
    If you can't, can't dance well that's okay.
    (Not gonna do the kickline)
    All you need is a tree, some lights,
    About a thousand presents, wrap them up, and pray for snow.
    • Ditto for "Kick the Can" by Bus Stop and "Can-Can World" by Makkeroni.
  • TV's Kyle wrote lyrics for the music from Super Mario Bros. 2, found here.
  • Ferry Corsten produced a lyrical version of his previous single "Punk" titled "Junk", with rapper Guru. "Galaxia", an early production by him under the alias Moonman (later remade under his own name), also had a vocal version featuring Chantal Matar.
  • Energy 52's "Cafe del Mar", their sole song of note, was lyricized by Fragma as "Man in the Moon".
  • Calexico, at some of their live shows, would take their instrumental "Frontera" and perform it with the lyrics from their song "Trigger".
  • Tori Amos released Night of Hunters in 2011, putting lyrics to some classic pieces, along with new arrangements and some of her own additions.
  • Jazmine Sullivan's "Dream Big" is basically just her singing over Daft Punk's "Veridis Quo".
  • Decoded Feedback's "Soultaker" was originally released as an instrumental on the Deluxe Edition of Aftermath, then rereleased on Diskonnekt with lyrics performed by Claus Larsen AKA Leaetherstrip.
  • Here are some lyrics for music from Double Dragon by Bonecage.
  • Pop-punk group Supernova did this with their cover of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme - the "lyrics" are the title of the movie repeated over and over.
  • Solarstone's "The Last Defeat, Part 2" is a lyrical version of "Part 1" from the previous album, featuring Lucia Holm of Sunscreem.
  • Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor II" adds lyrics to the original, instrumental "Life in Technicolor".
  • The Crystal Method's song, "Vapor Trail" was given some vocals and a guitar riff by Ozzy Osbourne and DMX for, "Ain't Nowhere to Run".
  • WFMU DJ William Berger added lyrics to the instrumental Joy Division B-Side "Incubation", affectionately parodying the band's melodramatic streak by doing an Ian Curtis impression while singing about chickens hatching in an incubator.
  • In 1990, The Pixies released an instrumental called "Velvety Instrumental Version" as a B-Side to the single "Dig for Fire". Twelve years later, Frank Black revived the song with his then-current band The Catholics, and added new lyrics, calling it simply "Velvety".
  • Futurecop!'s "Starworshipper" was instrumental when it was first released on the album The Movie, but later rereleased as a vocal single featuring Diana Gen and Starrset.
  • Gigi D'Agostino's "La Passion" is actually a dance-vocal cover of the instrumental song "Rectangle" by Jacno.
  • Stunt's "Raindrops" and Starstylerz' "Keep on Moving" are lyricized versions of Sash!'s "Encore Une Fois" and "Ecuador", respectively.
  • Jamiroquai's "Slipin' And Slidin'" is an instrumental that was the B Side to Cosmic Girl. On the Travelling Without Moving tour, however, the song was performed live with lyrics. Apparently, Jay Kay always wanted to put lyrics on it but had not come up with them when the studio recording was made. In reverse, the demo of the song "Music of the Mind" had lyrics, but the final version didn't.
  • R.E.M.'s B-Side "Organ Song" was originally a vocal song called Here I Go Again (a demo leaked years ago).
  • Simple Minds' B-Side "Soundtrack for Every Heaven" was supposed to have a vocal track, but the band lost and forgot about the vocal version. Originally, the band said that they never recorded any lyrics for it. However, when searching through old master tapes, two vocal versions of the song emerged, both titled "In Every Heaven". One of these appeared on the DVD-A of New Gold Dream, and the other on the version of New Gold Dream in the X5 box set. The band also recorded a modern, 8-minute version, which was at one point intended for their Celebrate compilation.
    • Also, their song "Somebody Up There Likes You", was originally intended to have vocals, but none were ever recorded as Jim Kerr thought it was perfect as an instrumental. However, years later a vocal version was attempted for a radio session, titled "Easy". This arrangement of the song was quickly forgotten about and never returned to.
      • Simple Minds did a vocal version of Planet Funk's Where Is the Max, titled One Step Closer, on their album Cry. On the inverse, the same album featured The Floating World, which was an instrumental remix that sampled the previous album's Homosapien and featured no input from the band at all.
  • Experience of Music's "After Spring" got this treatment as "We Won't Stop"(featuring Lightwarrior).
  • While it was originally written for them in the early 80s, due to it going unreleased until finally leaking out on YouTube in 2009, the Jetzons' "Hard Times" ended up becoming "Ice Cap Zone With Lyrics".
  • A tribute to the themes of composer John Williams, "John Williams is the Man", applies Star Wars-themed lyrics to several of his scores, none of which were written for Star Wars to begin with.
  • The Spike Jones song "Pal Yat Chee" features hillbillies Homer and Jethro trying to narrate the opera Pagliacci to the tune of various pieces from the opera and other classical music like "Sabre Dance".
  • Paul van Dyk produced a vocal version of his trance instrumental "Verano" titled "Such a Feeling", featuring Elijah King.
  • GaMetal initially produced 02 as an instrumental track, which was later given vocals by Cecily Lopez. The lyrical version was then remade and reposted to the GaMetal YouTube channel.
  • Pavement's "5 - 4 = Unity" appeared as an instrumental on the album Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, but they released a version with lyrics as a B-Side, titling it "5 - 4 Vocal". Since "5 - 4" is heavily based off "Take Five" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, "5 - 4 Vocal" could also be regarded as that song With Lyrics.
  • Nomeansno's "Bitches Brew" is Noise Rock adaptation of the Miles Davis piece with added spoken/sung lyrics.
  • Al Jarreau's 1981 album Breakin' Away has "Round, Round, Round", a cover of Dave Brubeck's punishing 9/8-time composition with lyrics and scat singing on top.
  • "Mambo No. 5" originated in 1949 as a mostly instrumental song by Cuban bandleader Pérez Prado but got Sampled Up fifty years later by Lou Bega, who added lyrics like the famous chorus listing women's names.
  • "Telstar", best known as an instrumental by the Tornados, was reworked by its composer, Joe Meek, into a vocal version titled "Magic Star". Kenny Hollywood note , Margie Singleton, and Bobby Rydell, among others, recorded that updated version.
  • "Twilight Time" began life as an instrumental written and performed by the Three Suns in 1944. A year later, Buck Ram took a poem he wrote while in college and adapted it into lyrics for the song; those lyrics were sung by Teddy Walters in Jimmy Dorsey's version released the same year. Ram later became the producer of the Platters, who would record the definite version of the song in 1958.
  • The jazz standard "What's New?" was originally written as an instrumental by Bob Haggart under the title "I'm Free" in 1938. The song's publishers hired Johnny Burke to add lyrics to it the next year; he retitled the song after the first line of those lyrics: "What's new? How is the world treating you?" Interestingly, Bob Crosby and his Orchestra (of which Haggart was a member) recorded both versions of the song. Catherine O'Brien wrote another set of lyrics in the 1990s, using the original "I'm Free" title.
  • The Opening Choruses of three of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas are reworkings of well-known instrumental works with vocal arrangements overlaid:
    • "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens" (BWV 110) does this with the first movement of Orchestral Suite No. 4 (BWV 1069).
    • "Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal" (BWV 146) gives this treatment to the second movement of the Concerto in D Minor (BWV 1052). This is prefaced by the concerto's first movement, which remains instrumental.
    • "Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten" (BWV 207), a secular work also presented with alternate lyrics as "Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten" (BWV 207a), begins with an arrangement of the third movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 (BWV 1046), with trumpets and drums replacing the horns and a chorus replacing the solo violin part.
  • The 1950s recording "Daffy Duck's Rhapsody" (which was adapted into a theatrical short in 2012) featured Daffy Duck singing to Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2".
  • Between/alongside acting jobs Jeff Goldblum has long had a regular gig playing jazz piano at the Rockwell club in Los Angeles. A gag that frequently pops up in the act is a brief With Lyrics version of the theme from his most popular film, Jurassic Park (1993): "In Jurassic Park/Scary in the dark/I'm so scared that I'll be eaten..."
  • The melody of Antonín Dvořák's "Largo" from the New World Symphony has been adapted into the folk song "Going Home", as well as Don Williams' 1981 hit "Miracles".
  • Both hits of Two-Hit Wonder 80s ska group The Piranhas were versions of 1950s instrumentals with lyrics added: "Tom Hark" and "Zambezi". ("Zambezi" had a titular refrain in the original, but the rest of the lyrics were the Piranhas' own.)
  • STAFFcirc's album AI BOMB VARIATIONS, an album dedicated to covers of the naruto chiptune song "Artificial Intelligence Bomb", ended with a lyricalized rock version composed by naruto himself, BouKiChi, and Aya Futatsuki titled "AI Bomb on vocal".
  • The "Revisited" remix of Azzido da Bass's previously instrumental "Doom's Night" adds ragga toasting lyrics by MC Slarta John.
  • "Muskrat Ramble" was originally written as an instrumental by Kid Ory in 1926. Lyrics were added by Ray Gilbert in 1950; in a controversial judgment by ASCAP in 1956, he was awarded 33% of royalties for all performances, instrumental or vocal, of the song due to the "added value" of the lyrics. This must've been especially annoying to Ory, who didn't even get a cent in royalties until 1947 when Barney Bigard helped him contact the publisher to receive them, only to lose 33% of them because of lyrics he didn't even consent to have added to his song.
  • Frank Sinatra's first single on Capitol Records, "Lean Baby", was originally an instrumental by Billy May and his Orchestra titled "Lean, Baby". The comma was dropped by Roy Alfred, who wrote lyrics to Billy May's melody about a skinny woman (the original title was meant to be taken as a command).
  • "Grazing in the Grass" was a hit trumpet instrumental performed by Hugh Masekela in 1968 (based on a slightly older South African song called "Mr. Bull #4"). A year later, The Friends of Distinction released a more energetic cover with lyrics.
  • "643 (Love's on Fire)" by Tiësto'' f/Suzanne Palmer is a vocal rework of the former's single "Flight 643".
  • "Skokiaan", an instrumental recorded in 1950 by the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia was released in America in 1954 (credited to the much more concise Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band) and became a hit, along with a bunch of other covers. To satisfy singers who wanted to do a vocal version, Folk Music Singer-Songwriter Tom Glazer wrote a set of lyrics that were recorded by the Four Lads and Louis Armstrong, which were notable for being kind of awkward and filled with Values Dissonance.
    Oh, far away in Africa
    Happy, happy Africa
    They sing a-binga-banga-bingo
  • DJ Sakin's "Protect Your Mind (For the Love of a Princess" and "Nomansland (David's Song)", themselves remakes of the theme songs from Braveheart and Kidnapped (1978) respectively, both have vocal mixes.
  • Project Medusa vs. Exor's "Moonshine" originally just had wordless One Woman Wails, then was remixed with lyrical vocals.
  • The original mix of Agnelli & Nelson's "Everyday" is an instrumental, while the Lange remix, 7" radio mix, and Alex Gold 2002 remix feature vocals by Laura Campbell.
  • 4 Strings vocalized their instrumental track "Into The Night" as "Take Me Away (Into The Night)".
  • The KLF's "Pure Trance" singles; "What Time Is Love?" "3AM Eternal", and "Last Train to Trancentral", were originally either instrumentals or limited lyrics songs, but their later "stadium house" arrangements added rap lyrics.
  • DJ Encore's "I See Right Through To You" was originally composed as an Instrumental Theme Tune for the Danish version of Big Brother, then re-recorded with Engelina on vocals.
  • Though the "Colonel Bogey March" was instrumental when it was originally composed during World War I, it found new life during World War II as a distinctly crude Hail to the Thief-style "The Villain Sucks" Song about Adolf Hitler and Those Wacky Nazis. For propriety's sake, at the behest of the original composer's widow, the tune had to be whistled instead of sung during its iconic appearance in The Bridge on the River Kwai, making this song an example of both this trope and the inverse at once!
  • The song "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars could well be this to the main theme from Super Mario 64.
  • Skinny Puppy's "The Centre Bullet" and The Tear Garden's "The Center Bullet" are identical, except the latter includes lyrics and vocals by Edward Ka-Spel. The Tear Garden are Edward Ka-Spel and Skinny Puppy's Cevin Key as a duo; according to Edward, "The Center Bullet" was the first Tear Garden song, and Cevin had asked him to write lyrics to the then-unreleased Skinny Puppy instrumental to test the waters for a full-on collaborative project.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • One episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme had John as Johann Pachelbel, singing about how sick he was of his Canon in D. To the tune of Canon in D.
    Feet are tapping, aunts are humming,
    I can feel the doobies coming.
    Yes, here they are, it's the dooby-dooby-dooby-doobies,
    Bar after bar of the dooby-dooby-dooby-doobies,
    Filling my brain with the dooby-dooby-dooby-doobies,
    Drives me insane with the dooby-dooby-dooby-doobies!
  • Once I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again had hit upon the notion of being broadcast by the fictional Radio Prune, its previously instrumental theme gained lyrics, sung live at the show's tapings by Bill Oddie. "My name is Angus Prune / And this is my tune!"

  • Screen to Stage Adaptations of movies from the Disney Animated Canon often contain new songs written by using some of the original film's main themes as vocal bridges. Examples include "No Matter What", "Home", and "If I Can't Love Her" from Beauty and the Beast; "Shadowland" from The Lion King; and "Sweet Child", "Beyond My Wildest Dreams", and "One Step Closer" from The Little Mermaid.
  • "Schroeder" from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is this to Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
  • The Jukebox Musical Ain't Misbehavin' adds original lyrics to "Handful of Keys," "The Jitterbug Waltz" and "Lounging at the Waldorf," which Fats Waller wrote as instrumentals.
  • "Melodies of May" from Music in the Air is an A Cappella choral arrangement with lyrics of the second movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonata Op. 2 No. 3.
  • In Matilda: The Musical, the last of Matilda's "Acrobat & Escapologist" story segments has a vocal reprise of the background music from the previous segments, titled "I'm Here". Similarly, the motif from Story #3 when the Acrobat delivers their baby girl and dies is lyricized in Miss Honey's "My House" song as the line "When it's cold outside, I feel no fear...", which is fitting, since the girl was Miss Honey herself.
  • The P.D.Q. Bach opera, A Little Nightmare Music plays with this trope. The piece is Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with lyrics, but rather than copying the strings, the actors sing original melodies, with the strings serving as accompaniment.
  • Antonio Vivaldi reused his well-known concerto Spring for the opening of his melodrama Dorilla in Tempo, adding lyrics to be sung by a chorus of nymphs and shepherds.

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Clear, You're Clear, Clear...

The Nostalgia Critic mocks the soundtrack of Alaska

How well does it match the trope?

4.53 (17 votes)

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