Glee is known for constantly surprising us all with its eclectic song choices. (“Run Joey Run,” anyone?) But with the Season 5, Episode 6 Billy Joel tribute quickly approaching — how many of Glee’s younger fans really know who he is? — it’s actually getting more difficult than ever to predict which tunes Glee will perform next. So how exactly does the show pick songs?
What Ryan Murphy Likes
Overall, song choices have come from Glee honcho Ryan Murphy, especially in the show’s early days. “The musical buck, by and large, stops with Ryan Murphy, the show's executive producer and co-creator,” Time magazine reported back in 2010. “Music choices are typically made when each episode's script is written, with songs matched to the show's plotlines.”
Are They on the Same Label?
There are other factors to consider. Glee is on Columbia Records, so songs by Columbia artists are easier to acquire. For example, Columbia represents such Glee staples as Katy Perry (who soon will have had six songs on Glee), Barbra Streisand (seven songs on Glee), Beyonce (four), and of course the patron band of Glee, Journey. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, Billy Joel is on Columbia.
What’s Popular on the Charts?
A song that’s currently popular has as good a shot as any at making its way to Glee, since the show likes covering songs that will lead to big singles sales. This season alone features such of-the-moment smash hits as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” and Katy Perry’s “Roar,” and all of those original songs hit number one on the charts this year.
Again, It Pays to be Friends with Ryan Murphy
And going back to the “Ryan Murphy is king” theory, often an artist will end up being performed on the show if Ryan is friends with them. Case in point: It might have seemed a bit surprising that Glee devoted an entire episode to Fleetwood Mac, but Ryan and the band’s frontwoman Stevie Nicks are pals.
That brings us to Billy Joel, who is reportedly getting a tribute episode on Season 5, Episode 6. Billy gave Glee the rights to his entire catalog songs back in 2011, and the show has already covered four of his songs. So it probably shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to get a full-episode tribute.
Granted, you might not already be a Billy Joel fan at the moment, but discovering new songs to love is part of the joy of Glee, right? So once the episode airs and you start to adore his music, be sure to pass along your thanks to Ryan Murphy.