The 10 Best Family Guy Musical Numbers

‘Family Guy’ returns to Fox on September 30 for its 17th season. To celebrate, we're counting down the Top 10 Musical Moments in the animated show's history.

family guy

Image via Fox

family guy

A show like Family Guy, with its parade of cutaway gags and bizarre '80s references, wasn't supposed to last. And at first, it didn't; it debuted in 1999 to modest ratings, and Fox cancelled it after the third season. But the subsequent DVD sales did so well that Fox brought the show back from the dead. Now, Family Guy is in its 17th season, and the rapid-fire jokes work perfectly in the YouTube era of self-referential, bite-sized entertainment.

The consistent link throughout the show's existence is creator Seth MacFarlane, who is still actively involved in the show's production: he also voices numerous main characters, including Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire. And though he's no longer as hands-on as he once was—his numerous other comedy projects over the years, like American Dad, The Cleveland Show, A Million Ways To Die in the West, and The Orville, stretched him thin—his cheeky, crass sense of humor is always on display, and it shines most brightly during the show's musical moments.

MacFarlane likes to sing, and he takes every opportunity to do so. He sang at the Oscars. He sang at the Emmys. He sings on record; the man has four albums comprised of American standards. So it makes sense that Family Guy is filled with songs, too, from covers of popular songs to song parodies. And MacFarlane sings on nearly all of them, usually as Stewie, Brian, or Peter.

To celebrate the 17th season premiere of Family Guy, which airs September 30 on Fox, we're discussing the show's greatest musical numbers. We're only including original songs; song parodies with new lyrics are allowed, but straight-up covers, such as "Surfin' Bird," "Don't Stop Believing," and "Rock Lobster," are not. Here are our final picks, ranked.

10. "’Family Guy’ Theme Song"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: Numerous

It's the first song you hear, and it's very, very catchy. Right away, MacFarlane shows off his love of big Broadway musical numbers. The top hats and tails recall big budget movie musicals like Singing in the Rain and Footlight Parade.

Over the years, the song has had several funny interruptions (see the video above), and the nameless backup dancers have been replaced with characters from the show. Notice how Joe doesn't actually kick his legs; he lifts them with his hands instead.

9. "Thank The Whites"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Baby Got Black" (Season 12, Episode 18)

When Chris starts dating Jerome's daughter, Jerome is wary; he worries that Chris just wants her as a notch on his bedpost, so he can say he was with a black girl. And Peter, with his endless reservoir of obliviousness, decides that singing "Thank The Whites" would be the best way to reassure Jerome. It's a parody of Frank Sinatra's “Pass Me By,” and the funniest moment actually comes at the very end:

Jerome: "That song only made me hate white people even more!"

Peter: "What about eight more verses?"


8. "My Drunken Irish Dad"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Peter's Two Dads" (Season 5, Episode 10)

In this episode, Peter learns that his father, Francis, is not his biological father. So Peter travels to Ireland to reconcile with his real dad, Mickey McFinnigan, the town drunk.

There's a lot to love here, from the Riverdance-inspired dancers to Mickey's sheep friend, aptly named "O'Brian." This song was Emmy-nominated for "Outstanding Music and Lyrics," thought it lost to SNL and Justin Timberlake's "Dick in a Box."

7. "It's a Wonderful Day for Pie"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Road to the Multiverse" (Season 8, Episode 1)

This entire episode is a masterwork of creativity and visual humor. Stewie and Brian spend 22 minutes hopping from alternate universe to alternate universe. We get to see a universe where Christianity never existed, and another universe where humans are the pets of dogs. But the best universe is this one, where everyone is drawn as a Disney character.

They sing "It's a Wonderful Day for Pie" as a signature Disney showstopper; Meg makes a great cameo as Ursula, and Herbert the Pervert appears at the very end as Snow White's Wicked Witch.

6. "All I Really Want for Christmas"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Road to the North Pole" (Season 9, Episode 7)

Family Guy consistently delivers on its Christmas episodes, and the best of all of them is "Road to the North Pole," a Brian and Stewie two-parter, where they journey to see Santa Claus. It's the only episode with two songs on this list.

"All I Want for Christmas," which opens the episode, is weird, crass, and catchy. The best two verses come from Stewie, who wants yellowcake uranium, and Jillian (Brian's endearingly unintelligent ex), who wants colored Easter eggs.

5. "Gotta Give up the Toad"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Let's Go to the Hop" (Season 2, Episode 14)

To keep the kids in high school from getting high, Peter goes undercover in Meg's high school as Lando, the coolest kid in school. When the kids offer to get high with him, he breaks out into this parody of Grease's "You're the One That I Want."

Not only are the lyrics clever and the animation well-done, but it also reminds us of the old days of the show, when Peter was still depicted as a good father. He was a buffoon, granted, but at least he was a buffoon with his heart in the right place.

4. "Christmastime is Killing Us"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Road to the North Pole" (Season 9, Episode 7)

Here's the other great song from "Road to the North Pole," which occurs when Brian and Stewie finally make it to Santa's factory. Santa and his deformed elves sing a darkly humorous ditty about people's greed, and how it's worked them close to death.

The writers took their inspiration from Danny Elfman's Tim Burton scores; the song is filled with minor chords and lavish orchestration, and contains just enough camp to make it palatable and not preachy.

3. "This House is Freakin' Sweet"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" (Season 2, Episode 1)

This was an early song parody in the show's history—a knockoff of "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here" from the musical "Annie."

Annie sings the original after seeing Daddy Warbucks’ mansion for the first time. And when Lois' wealthy aunt leaves her an expensive mansion, Peter and his family are similarly overwhelmed. "Now that you're stinking riiich/ We'll gladly be your biiitch!"

2. "The FCC Song"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "PTV" (Season 4, Episode 14)

A celebration of the show's right to be crass, uncouth, and offensive, the "FCC Song" lampoons the uptight people who censor the show, and it does so by squeezing as many offensive images onto the air as possible, in a rapid-cutting montage.

The song is a parody of "Volunteer Firemen Picnic," from the musical Take Me Along. More than any other song on this list, it embodies the show's "throw it the wall and see if it sticks" ethos. Macfarlane knew he had a hit song; he reinvented it for the opening of the Primetime Emmys.

1. "A Bag of Weed"

View this video on YouTube

Episode: "420" (Season 7, Episode 12)

The best song in the show's history, "A Bag of Weed" is an earnest celebration of all things 420. It's a parody of "Me Ol' Bamboo" from the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it contains an animated cameo from Groucho Marx—appropriate, because the xylophone bong sequence is a steal from the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup.

Even the evil monkey who lives in Chris' closet tokes up to properly mellow out. Has there ever been a more pro-weed song on network television in primetime viewing hours?

Latest in Pop Culture