1. Gary Glitter, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Part 2”
Where you’ve heard it: Every sporting event ever.
2. Aram Khachaturian, “Sabre Dance”
Where you’ve heard it: Tons of TV shows, movies, and figure skating performances. NPR described it as “one of the catchiest, most familiar — perhaps most maddening — tunes to come out of the 20th century.”
3. Edvard Grieg, “In the Hall of the Mountain King”
Where you’ve heard it: Every thing ever.
4. “Entry of the Gladiators”
Where you’ve heard it: Mary Poppins, Gwen Stefani’s “Don’t Get It Twisted,” and circuses.
5. The “Habanera” aria from the opera Carmen
Where you’ve heard it: Anytime someone parodies an opera singer.
6. Average White Band, “Pick Up the Pieces”
Where you’ve heard it: A 2013 Bank of America commercial; the bar fight scene in Superman II.
7. Booker T. and The MGs, “Green Onions”
Where you’ve heard it: American Graffiti, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Flamingo Kid, Get Shorty, Happy Gilmore, Houseguest, The Sandlot, A Single Man, and countless other movies and TV shows.
8. Richard Sprauss, “Also sprach Zarathustra”
Where you’ve heard it: 2001: A Space Odyssey; dramatic scenes in anything.
9. Clint Mansell, “Lux Aeterna”
Where you’ve heard it: The theme from Requiem for a Dream; the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
10. Benny Goodman, “Sing, Sing, Sing”
Where you’ve heard it: Gangs of New York; Casino; Manhattan Murder Mystery; on Broadway; The O.C. casino party episode.
11. Dick Dale, “Misirlou”
Where you’ve heard it: Pulp Fiction, being sampled in the Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It.”
12. Gerry Rafferty, “Baker Street”
Where you’ve heard it: Grand Theft Auto V; the Simpsons episode “Lisa’s Sax.”
13. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Eine kleine nachtmusik”
Where you’ve heard it: The Looney Tunes Nickelodeon ad.
14. Richard Wagner, “Ride of the Valkyries”
Where you’ve heard it: Apocalypse Now, among other films.
15. Johannas Brahms, “Hungarian Dance. No. 5”
Where you’ve heard it: Lots of places, including The Simpsons.
16. The Pretenders, “My City Was Gone”
Where you’ve heard it: The intro to the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
17. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Where you’ve heard it: You know, weddings.
18. Raymond Scott Quintette, “Powerhouse”
Where you’ve heard it: The iconic “assembly line” music in animated cartoons released by Warner Bros.
19. “O Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana
Where you’ve heard it: The 1981 film Excalibur; sporting events; the British X Factor; everywhere.
20. Johann Strauss, “The Blue Danube Waltz”
Where you’ve heard it: 2001: A Space Odyssey; the unofficial Austrian national anthem.
21. The Alan Parsons Project, “Sirius”
Where you’ve heard it: sporting events (especially Chicago Bulls games); your school’s pep rally; the trailer for Anchorman: The Legend Continues.
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