Skip to main content

The 20 best songs from Stranger Things season 3 (and when exactly you can hear them)

"Weird Al" Yankovic - My Bologna

They don't call him Weird Al for nothing. Known for his parodies of the world's most popular tunes, this wacky take on The Knack classic My Sharona shows Al doing what he does best. Amazingly.

Hear it: About 27 minutes in, as Joyce gets to Mr. Clarke's house.

Madonna - Material Girl

This Madonna classic really needs no introduction or explanation. A song about valuing materialism over romantic relationships fits pretty well with a scene where our protagonist discovers the joy of a sick jumpsuit for the first time. 

Hear it: In the mall montage while El and Max shop for new clothes (while Mike Dustin and Will shop simultaneously), around 32-and-a-half minutes in.

Foreigner - Cold As Ice

It couldn't be an 80s soundtrack without a bit of Foreigner. This is the first song Foreigner mainman Mick Jones wrote and recorded on the piano, and he's described it as "A landmark event in his musical history". It also makes for a great soundtrack to dumping scenes. Just like this one.

Hear it: Around 37 minutes into episode 2, as El dumps Mike like a hot potato.

Smart Remarks - All Your Reasons Why

This is a real blink and you'll miss it entry, as this 1982 entry plays in the background and becomes fully audible for a mere second or two. Sneaky, very sneaky. This New Jersey power trio are another great example of Stranger Things' dedication to digging out the more obscure gems that made up the musical landscape of the 80s.

Hear it: Around 15 minutes into episode 3, when Jonathan expresses worry to Nancy over her rat story.

Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Another bona fide 80s classic, this monster pop hit was actually written about a note Andrew Ridgeley (he's the one who isn't George Michael) left for his mother. Which is... kinda weird, but whatever. 

Hear it: Around 28 minutes into episode 3, when Steve and Dustin discover the true identity of their suspected Russian.

Don McLean - American Pie

This song, which references 'The day the music died' is actually written in response to the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, who all died in a plane crash after a gig. It's also about American politics, which was as relevant when it was written in 1971 as it was when we meet the gang in 1985. And, indeed, as relevant as it is now. 

Hear it: Around 45 minutes into episode 3, when Billy and Heather knock the shit outta her folks.

Loverboy - Strike Zone

Loverboy were a high-point of Canadian 80s arena rock, supplying hits to movies such as Top Gun and co-writing tracks with hard rock luminaries Bon Jovi. Full of swaggering attitude and staple 80s synths and solos, the song was written about fear of a nuclear war. Spot the metaphor, kids.

Hear it: About 24 minutes into episode 5, as Hopper indulges in a spot of charismatic car theft.

John Mellencamp - R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A. (A Salute To 60's Rock) 

This song does exactly what it says on the tin. Before recording his 1986 album Scarecrow, from which this song is taken, John Mellencamp set his band to work learning dozens of 60s songs, and as a result this "bonus party track" contains a whole host of references to popular 60s tunes – see if you can spot them all.

Hear it: At the very start of episode 7, as people enjoy the Mayor's Fun Fair.

Hurricane Express - When You See Me

You have to listen hard for this slice of 70s hard rock by extremely obscure Milwaukee group Hurricane Express. These guys released one LP in 1978 before shuffling off into the depths of obscurity – until their popularity was resurrected by appearing on the Stranger Things soundtrack over 40 years later. 

Hear it: At around 57 minutes into episode 8, playing in the background as Robin and Steve attempt to get new jobs at the video store.

Peter Gabriel - Heroes

This extremely ambient re-working of David Bowie's 1977 classic is the perfect soundtrack to accompany the show's heart-wrenching finale. Though this version wasn't technically released until 2010, considering this is a show about horrific monsters and parallel dimensions, we'll let that small bending of reality slide.

Hear it: During episode 8's emotional finale (the emotional one, not the scary after-credits one).

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.