From WBEZ in Chicago | This American Life
Music Heard on the Show
One of the most frequent questions we get from listeners goes something like this:

"Could you tell me what song you were playing under that story from a few weeks ago, the one where Ira interviews that guy, the song that goes kinda dum-dum-la-la-dee-dee? I've got to have a copy!"

As much as we'd like to answer these kinds of questions, it's virtually impossible. We work on stories up until the last minute; listing the songs we use as scoring under different pieces here on the website is pretty impossible, especially given our small staff (remember: there's just one of us running this website). Just out of convenience, though, we tend to use tracks from the same slate of CDs over and over – and usually, if you hear a few seconds of one of these you'll recognize the tune right away.

Thus, the list below. We've created mini-RealAudio files of some of our Scoring Greatest Hits, along with information on the artist, the records the tracks appear on, and a link to in case you're looking for more info or want to pick up a copy online – although, as always, we strongly encourage you to patronize your local indie record shoppes if you're lucky enough to have one in your city/town.

We won't – and really can't – include a list of all the stories these have appeared under; it would just been too time-consuming. That said, we're betting if you listen through you'll find what you've been looking for. And if not – we're really sorry but PLEASE don't email asking us for the info. We wish we could, but we simply can't reply to these requests.

If you're looking for the names of songs you hear between stories, check our archives. Whenever possible, we list the name and artist in the show description.

Scoring tracks:

Tom Adair & Hal Hopper RA  There's No You (©1997 Rhino Records), from   the Lolita (soundtrack).
Air RA  Talisman (©1998 Source/Caroline Records), from Moon Safari.
American Analog Set RA  Corduroy Kid (2001 © Emperor Jones), from Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased.
The Angel RA  Greg Recruits Seth (©2000 New Line Records), from The Boiler Room Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Arling and Cameron RA  Groovy (©1999 Emperor Norton), from All In.
Arling and Cameron RA  We Love Dub (©1999 Emperor Norton), from All In.
A-Set RA  Blue Girl (©1999 Tree), from Songs from the Red Room.
Badly Drawn Boy RA  Wet, Wet, Wet (©2002 XL Recordings, Ltd.), from About a Boy Soundtrack.
Beastie Boys RA  Namaste (©1996 Capitol Records), from The In Sound From Way Out!
Bela Fleck RA  Flight of the Comic Hippo (©1999 Warner Bros. Records), from Greatest Hits of the 20th Century.
Bexar Bexar RA  kt (©2003 Western Vinyl Records), from Haralambos.
Bexar Bexar RA  adios (©2003 Western Vinyl Records), from Haralambos.
Black Cat Orchestra RA  The Tie and Collar Song (©2001 Irene Records), from Mysteries Explained.
Blixa Bargeld RA  Workuta (©1995 by EGO Berline and Freibank Hamburg), from Commissioned Music/Auftragsmusik.
Blonde Redhead RA  In Particular (©2000 Touch and Go Records), from Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons.
Booker T. & The MG's   Hip Hug-Her (©1994 Rhino Recording), from The Very Best of...
Booker T. & The MG's   Soul Dressing (©1994 Rhino Recording), from The Very Best of...
Milt Bucker RA  The Beast (©2001 Milan Entertainment), from Mulholland Drive Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Bertrand Burgalat RA  Livraison des Bagages (©2001 Milan Entertainment), from Quadrille SDTK.
David Byrne   Haitian Fight Song (©2003 Thrill Jockey), from Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Music from the film "Young Adam."
Calexico RA  Over Your Shoulder (©1998 Quarterstick Records), from The Black Light.
Clem Snide RA  Evil vs. Good (©2001 Spin Art Records), from The Ghost of Fashion.
Couch   Nah Dran (©2000 Matador), from Fantasy.
Dianogah   Indie Spock Rock Ears (©2000 Mouthful of Bacon Music), from Battle Champions.
Digable Planets   Aural G. Ride Novox Mx (©1992 Pendulum Records) from Where I'm From." (This is available only on LP.)
DJ Shadow   Stem/Long Stem (©1998 Mowax Recordings/A&M Records Ltd.), from Endtroducing.
doublemranch   Tarantula, from 10 Instrumentals for Film Television and Radio. See their webste.
Dr. Dre   Censored (©1999 Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records), from 2001 (Instrumentals).
El Chicano   Viva Tirado-Pt 1 (©1994 Rhino Records), from Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 4: Soul.
Eminem   My Name Is (Instrumental) (©1999 Interscope Records), from The Slim Shady LP.
Brian Eno   Deep Blue Day (©1983 Virgin Records), from Trainspotting (soundtrack).
Freescha   Kite High (© 2001 Attacknine Records), from Kids Fill the Floor.
Fridge   Harmonics (© 2001 Temporary Residence LTD/Brainwashed), from Happiness.
Bill Frisell Quartet   Tales from the Far Side (©1996 Nonesuch Records), from Quartet.
Gideon Freudman RA  Opium Den (1995 Gadfly Records), from Cellobotomy.
Philip Glass   Kyoko's House: ("stage blood is...") and Osamu's Theme: Kyoko's House (©1985 Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records), from Mishima (soundtrack).
Mark Greenberg   HP LL (©2003 Mayfair Recordings), from Mayfair Recordings.
Johnny Hodges RA  Gal From Joe's (©1999 Polygram Records, Inc.), from Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra.
David Holmes RA  I Think You Flooded It (©1998 Jersey Records), from the Out of Sight soundtrack.
Tommy Hools RA  Les Réprouvés (Action Time Mix) (©2002 Recall), from Shut Up.
Infernal Bridegroom Productions   Untitled #5 (©2001 Alpinktobahn Productions), from the IBP Album.
Infernal Bridegroom Productions   Untitled #3 (©2001 Alpinktobahn Productions), from Version One – Goodies for Your Gumballs.
New! Bobby Johnston   Dad's Dream 2, from the soundtrack to A Little Crazy.
John Kimbrough RA  The Green Zone. (©John Kimbrough). John created this song for This American Life; contact him for info.
John Kimbrough RA  Mark's Theme. (©2001 John Kimbrough). John is unsigned; contact him for info.
John Kimbrough RA  NPR#2-1. (©John Kimbrough). John created this song for This American Life; contact him for info.
Daniel Lanois   Space Kay (©2003 Epitaph), from Shine.
Kid Loco   You Who Are Reading Me Now (Love Experience mix) (©1999 Yello Productions), from Jesus Life for Children Under Twelve Inches. Song originally done by Uriel, (©1998 Beau Monde).
Kid Loco   Les Reprouves (Action Time Mix) (©1999 Yello Productions), from Jesus Life for Children Under Twelve Inches. Song originally done by Tommy Hools, (©1999 Kung Fu Fighting Records).
Los Amigos Invisibles   Cha-Chaborro (©1998 Warner Brothers), from The New Sound of Venezuelan Gozadera.
Los Amigos Invisibles   Otra Vez (©1998 Warner Brothers), from The New Sound of Venezuelan Gozadera.
John Lurie   Arriving at Kenny's (©1998 Strange and Beautiful Music) from the soundtrack to Fishing With John, on CD.
Aimee Mann RA  Nothing is Good Enough (©1999 Reprise Records), from Magnolia: Music From the Original Motion Picture, on CD.
Hugh Masekela   Grazing the Grass (©1994 Rhino Records), from Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 4: Soul.
Mogwai RA  Xmas Steps (©1999 Matador Records), from Everything is Nice: The Matador Records 10th Anniversary Anthology CD Two.
Mark Mothersbaugh   Scrapping and Yelling (©2001 Hollywood Records), from The Royal Tenenbaums Original Soundtrack.
John Murphy   No More Films (©2003 Xl / Beggars Us Ada), from 28 Days Later: The Soundtrack Album.
Thomas Newman   On the Plume (©2000 Sony Music Entertainment), from Erin Brockovich Soundtrack.
Nightmares on Wax RA  Nights Interlude (©2000 Ultra Records), from Ultra Chilled: Disc 1.
Optiganally Yours RA  Guitar Song (©2000 Nu Gruv/Absolutely Kosher), from Exclusively Talentmaker.
Papa M RA  I Am Not Lonely With Cricket (©1999 Drag City), from Live From a Shark Cave.
Pastels RA  The Viaduct. Performed by Kid Loco (©1998 Up Records), from Illuminati.
Pell Mell RA  Upstairs, (©1997 Matador Records), from Star City.
Penguin Cafe Orchestra   Perpetuum Mobile (©1987 EG Records Ltd.) from Signs of Life.
Liz Phair     Shatter (©1993 Matador Records) from Exile In Guyville.
Phono-comb   The Lyon Game (©1996 Quarterstick Records), from Fresh Gasoline.
Portastatic   The Chase (©2001 Merge Records), from the soundtrack to Looking for Leonard.
Rick Rizzo and Tara Key   Good Evening Mr. Peckinpah (©1999 Thrill Jockey), from Dark Edson Tiger.
Mark Robinson   Catalog and Classify (©2000 Teenbeat Publishing), from Tiger Banana.
The RZA   Flying Birds (©1999 Victor Entertainment, Japan), from the soundtrack to Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
Caleb Sampson RA  Elephant Walk (©1997 Accurate Records), from Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (soundtrack).
Raymond Scott     At an Arabian House Party (©1992 Columbia Records), from Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights.
Raymond Scott     Moment Musical (©1992 Columbia Records), from Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights.
The Sea and Cake   Chainer (© Sweet Pea Records), from Dig This (A Benefit Compilation For Doorika).
Seam RA  Auto Pilot (©1993 Touch and Go), from The Problem With Me.
Symfunny Orchestra   Dance of the Fairy Candy (©Productions NOVITA Ltée), from Casse-Noisette Classiks on Toys.
Jeffrey Taylor and Ned Rifle   Get Your Truck (©1996 Minty Fresh), from the Flirt Soundtrack.
Tosca   Boss on the Boat, (©2000 Studio K7), from Suzuki.
Tosca   The Key, (©2000 Studio K7), from Suzuki.
TRS-80   Foxx Gisel Theme Version 2 (©2001), composed for This American Life. Get more info here.
Tutto Fellini   L'Amore in Città (©2001 Cam), from Tutto Fellini.
Piero Umiliani   Lady Magnolia (©1995 Polygram Records) Inc.), from Eight Street Easy Tempo.
Ben Webster   Blues for Billie Basie (©1999 ESL Music), from The Soul of Ben Webster: Disc Two.
Christopher Young RA  Texas Hold' Em (©1998 Miramax Film Corp), from the Rounders soundtrack.
Tom Ze RA  Defect 2: Curiosidade (John McEntire [Tortoise] Remix (©1999 Warner Brothers), from the Luaka Bop We Come in Peace Sampler (not commercially available).

Here are some oldies but goodies, songs we used in the beginning days of the show that have been almost retired except when the occassional nostagic producer unearths them for one more use.

Combustible Edison   One Eyed Monkey (©1996 Sub Pop), from Schizophonic!: The Progressive...
Miles Davis   So What (©Columbia Records), from Kind of Blue.
Duster RA  Gold Dust (©Up Records), from Stratosphere.
Ida RA  Nick Drake (©1994 Simple Machines Records), from Tales of Brave Ida.
One Ring Zero MP3!  The Long Day (©1997 Urban Geek Records ), from Tranz Party.
Penguin Cafe Orchestra   Paul's Dance (©1988 EG Records Ltd.) from When In Rome.
Pullman    So Breaks Yesterday (©1998), from Turnstyles and Junkpiles.
Jonathan Richman    Your Girl's Gonna Go Bad (©1990 Rounder Records), from Jonathan Goes Country.
Rubber City   Perdita (©1990 Samuel Goldwyn Co.), from Wild at Heart (soundtrack).
Erik Satie/Jan Kaspersen, piano   Gnossienne 6 (©1995 Olufsen Records), from 3 Sarabandes, Gnossiennes 4-6, etc.
Seam    Tuff Luck (©1995 Seam Songs), from Are You Driving Me Crazy.
Marc Shaiman RA  Park Avenue Stroll (©1999 Paramount Pictures), from the Out of Towners soundtrack.
Tim Story    Lydia, (©1994 Hearts of Space Records), from The Perfect Flaw.
Yo La Tengo     Green Arrow (©1997 Matador Records), from I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One.
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