Let’s face it. All of us pop culture fans love it when good triumphs over evil. When the Death Star is destroyed, when Vader turns on the Emperor and redeems himself, when Dorothy and friends triumph over the Wicked Witch of the West, when Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and friends defeat Lord Farquaad, Fairy Godmother, and Rumplestiltskin, when the Mane Six of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (with the power of friendship on their side), triumph over Tirek, the Changeling Queen, and so forth, when Link defeats Ganon and recovers the Triforce … and so many more I could list. These are all moments we look forward to.
But after the battle is over and good prevails, what do our heroes do? Celebrate, after all! And often, they celebrate in style with some of the most uplifting, upbeat, and joyful music ever composed. And I’d like to share with you a few of my favorites. These are the ones that came to mind when I had the idea for this post.
I’ve decided not to number them, because these are ALL winners. I’ll just give them in no particular order.
“Let the Rainbow Remind You” from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, ‘Twilight’s Kingdom’.
Throughout Season 4 of My LIttle Pony: Friendship is Magic, the six main characters (dubbed the Mane Six by the fans) are each put into situations where their best qualities are put to the test. They face problems where living up to those qualities (Honesty, Generosity, Kindness, Laughter, Loyalty, and Magic) isn’t easy. And after passing each of those tests, they are given gifts from some character (pony or otherwise) they were a good influence on. To make a long story short, these gifts help them when they join together to defeat the magic-draining angry centaur Tirek and save Equestria.
Afterwords, they celebrate in front of the newly created Palace of Friendship amongst the whole supporting cast of Ponyville, singing this song about how when friends come together, they can meet any challenge.
“Let the rainbow remind you,
That together we will always shine
Let the rainbow remind you
That forever this will be our time”
It’s shorter than the other songs/music on this list, but it’s still a wonderful triumphant song just the same.
“Ewok Celebration” from Return of the Jedi: Original Cut
Ah, the original Star Wars trilogy, the one so many of us know from childhood and have grown up with. Before the prequels, before the Expanded Universe (now rebranded as Legends), before the sequel trilogy, before the various spinoffs such as the highly regarded The Mandalorian series, there was the classic trilogy involving the Rebel Alliance and its battles against the oppressive Galactic Empire.
Say what you will about Return of the Jedi, it had a very satisfying climax, where not only do the Rebels destroy the second Death Star, but Anakin Skywalker redeems himself by turning against Emperor Palpatine and throwing him to his doom. The Rebels have handed the Empire its biggest defeat ever with Palpatine, Vader, and many high-ranking Imperial officers out of the picture, and they celebrate with their new Ewok allies on Endor.
The Ewok Celebration song is lively and upbeat, like the finale of an optimistic stage musical – if the musical had lyrics in Ewokese, that is. We see Rebels and Ewoks happy and joyful, while Luke stares contemplatively and sees the Force spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin smiling at him to let him know he’s passed all their tests and has done well, before Leia comes to his side and escorts him to the rest of the party as the music swells and we come to the closing credits. It’s a nice, upbeat finale to what on the whole is an optimistic trilogy.
“Victory Celebration” from Return of the Jedi: Special Edition
When the Special Editions came out in 1997, a lot of changes were made to the films. Some the fans were okay with, and some the fans weren’t (and I’ve already covered that in two other blog posts). While this particular change meant the removal of the original Ewok song (as there just didn’t seem to be room for it without overly padding things out), the new Victory Celebration music is one of the changes that’s better received by the fans overall (though different fans have their preferences. I love both of them, so both of them made this list).
Basically, the decision was made to expand the victory celebration at the end to depict it happening not just on Endor, but all over the Star Wars galaxy. People EVERYWHERE are celebrating the Rebels triumphing over the evil Empire and bringing about a new hopeful future to the galaxy. The new music accompanies not just the original scenes of the celebration on Endor, but the new scenes as well.
And it, too, has vocals, singing cheerily. And at the end, when Luke sees the spirits of those who taught him so much (each in their own ways) on his hero’s journey, there’s a glorious crescendo, as Leia leads Luke to the party, and it segues to the credits.
A wonderful, uplifting piece of music by John Williams that is the perfect soundtrack for the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
“Can’t You Feel A Brand New Day” from The Wiz
This song comes from close to the end of The Wiz, the 1970s re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz with elements of African-American culture and black lead characters. After Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West, meets her watery end, there’s a pause, and then her former servants join Dorothy and friends in triumphant celebration with this song that puts the Munchkins’ celebration to shame.
Both in lyrics and in music, the song is relentlessly upbeat, celebrating newfound freedom from tyranny.
“Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Can’t you feel a brand new day?
Can’t you feel a brand new day?”
Usually the song goes about three and a half-minutes, but the 7:49 version from the 1978 movie soundtrack of the Wiz takes it to another level, picking up the tempo with energetic, fast-paced music and increasingly enthusiastic repetition of the chorus. The unfettered joy is off the scale here, in celebration of a potential new world where people can live together without fear and oppression, but instead in peace and harmony.
Honestly, my words here don’t do it justice. Look this up (and all the others I’ve mentioned) online and play them long and loud. 🙂
Anyway, those are my picks for favorite victory celebration songs/music in TV and film. Are there any I missed? What are YOUR favorite victory celebration songs and music from movies? Let me know in the comments.