by Nick Douglas, Lifehacker
Hey what’s that song from? Ask MetaFilter commenters named 52 different tunes, mostly classical and big-band, that you’ll recognize instantly but might have trouble naming. And we assembled them into a Spotify playlist, along with songs from here and here.
Tunes like “Spanish Flea” and “Gymnopédie No. 1” pop up in soundtracks, hold music, cartoons, and YouTube videos. They’re known more for the moods they signify than for the original composition. “Entry of the Gladiators” is an ironic “send in the clowns” soundtrack for overblown pomp; the “Morning Mood” movement of “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1” means waking up when birds are chirping and the sun is shining; “Happy-Go-Lively” means it’s the 50s and we’re shopping.
Many of these connections were established in the years of Spike Jones and Looney Tunes, when entertainers could make a joke out of setting up expectations with a clichéd bit of classical music, then subverting them with silly characters. Others were one-hit wonders that landed in commercials or became famous hip-hop samples. Now it’s hard to hear certain tunes without thinking of Bugs Bunny singing along, or some Ford truck rolling through hills, or the summer of ’93. So load up the playlist and get ready to remember every piece of pop culture ever.