From Joe Cocker’s timeless rendition of the Beatles classic, “With a Little Help from My Friends” to the hundreds of classic rock, pop and soul hits that followed over the six seasons of The Wonder Years, music became an indelible part of the beloved series, which ran on ABC from 1988-1993. Recognizing the music’s significance to the program’s setting, mood, storylines and characters, the TV DVD archivists at StarVista Entertainment/Time Life spent vast resources to ensure that the series was delivered in its most pristine and unedited state.
Fans of The Wonder Years will thrill to the extensive list of cleared music, which includes 285 modern day classics and instrumentals such as “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” by The Byrds, “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” The Trogg’s “Wild Thing,” “Good Vibrations” and “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” by The Beach Boys, “My Girl” by The Temptations and hundreds of others! Including the 116 clearances of the theme “With a Little Help from My Friends,” the total number of cleared songs is 401.
Here are some fun facts about music in The Wonder Years DVDs:
- “With A Little Help” served as the theme for all 115 episodes, plus it was used one other time in the series: to to mark the passage from Junior High to High School at the end of the “Graduation” episode.
- The Beach Boys and Nat King Cole tie for most songs used with five original classics each; Tommy James and the Shondells, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and Simon & Garfunkel follow with three each.
- Three songs scored triple plays:
- “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” by The Byrds; heard in “Pilot,” “The Powers That Be” and “Graduation”
- “Respect” by Aretha Franklin; heard in “Fate,” “The Candidate” and “Kevin Delivers”
- “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge; heard in”Pilot,” “Double Double Date” and “Summer”
- “Dance With Me” in Season One featured the most cleared music with nine songs, including: “Cherish” by The Association, “The Letter” by The Box Tops, “There’s A Kind of Hush” by Craggy Blue Project, “The Girl from Ipanema” by Stan Getz (with Astrud Gilberto), “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)” by Otis Redding, “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf
- Paul Simon originally refused creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black the licensing rights to the songs of Simon & Garfunkel – until he saw the first episode, that is. “Bookends,” “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” and “I Am a Rock,” along with Simon’s “American Tune,” can all be heard in The Wonder Years.
“As with China Beach, we made painstaking efforts to clear the music from the original broadcast of The Wonder Years,” says Jeffrey Peisch, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Programming & Marketing for StarVista Entertainment/Time Life. “There are a handful of songs we were unable to clear the rights to, but the DVDs contain over 96% of the original songs from the episodes.”
Never before released on DVD in its entirety, The Wonder Years Complete Series will be presented as a 26 disc collector’s set featuring all 115 episodes housed in a replica metal locker, along with a host of extras including 23 total hours of specially-produced bonus programming – featurettes, an incredible cast reunion 16 years in the making and never-before-seen outtakes.
Also available day-and-date are The Wonder Years Experience which includes all the elements from the Complete Series, along with a selection of limited-edition memorabilia created exclusively for this set: a Kennedy Junior High School tee shirt, tube socks, and a vintage gym bag; a Kennedy Junior High School pennant and commemorative patch, The Wonder Years collectible pins, and a newly-produced Wonder Years CD featuring the theme song plus classics by Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, The Beach Boys, The Temptations and many others.
With The Wonder Years Experience – Signature Edition, you’ll get everything included in the Experience collection, plus your Wonder Years yearbook will be hand-signed by Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, and other cast members! Act fast — only 500 are being signed!
All being released in early October.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.