The Best Musical Moments from ‘Parks and Recreation’

You’re 5,000 candles in the wind…
The Best Musical Moments from ‘Parks and Recreation’

TV legend Dick Clark once said, “Music is the soundtrack of your life.” Meanwhile, legendary Pawnee rockstar Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) once said, “Spread your wings and fly, and you deserve to be a champion.” 

One statement is truly profound and the other gibberish, but both can be applied to Parks and Recreation. The series often relied on music for its most emotional and inspiring scenes, as well as some of its funniest. That’s why we’re counting down the top five musical moments in the show, starting with “the woooooorst!” 

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Everything Sung by John-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstein

Musicians: John-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstien 

Episode: “Are You Better Off?,” Season 5, Episode 22

Musical Moment: The worst, John-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) and Mona-Lisa Saperstein (Jenny Slate) are seriously the worst people in the world. Though they aren’t a musical act per se, the Saperstein siblings are indeed the horribly narcissistic version of Donny and Marie in Pawnee, Indiana. With their incredible ability to sing their way out of situations combined with their agility to harmonize each other’s hysterically terrible personalities, the Sapersteins sit comfortably in last place. 

The only real contribution or proof that their music has helped anyone outside of themselves is when they deliver the news to Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) that Mona-Lisa is, in fact, not pregnant and, therefore, Tom is not a father. The relief that washes over Tom while he receives this message via song is one for the record books, and the news brings Tommy Swagger back from the baby blues.  

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Linguini

Musician: Freddy Spaghetti

Episode: “Freddy Spaghetti,” Season 2, Episode 24

Musical Moment: Fredrick Spaghetti is an original musical artist who centers his performance, physical style and lyrics around all things noodles. Think of Mr. Rogers with an acoustic guitar and a pasta obsession. After being bribed by Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) to cancel an Eagleton appearance in favor of Pawnee, Mr. Spaghetti’s performance created a great little message from Ben to Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), which had the tone of a teenager’s “I like you.” Freddy Spaghetti went on to rock the children’s concert despite the full government shutdown, which ended up building a cute little bridge between the then-combative Leslie and Ben.  

Smooth as Silver

Musician: Duke Silver

Episode: “Practice Date,” Season 2, Episode 4

Musical Moment: Saying Duke Silver is a ladies man is like saying Li’l Sebastian is popular. Silver swoons with swagger and is not only easy on the eyes but on the ears as well. With his smooth-sounding jams that cover classic melodies, Silver throws on his shades and fedora and unleashes jazz so unreal that it brings down the house. Silver’s defining musical moment was the simple but astonishing reveal that he is, in fact, Ron Swanson. After spending an entire day digging up everyone’s secrets in his department (including Tom Haverford’s green-card marriage), he is finally bested when Tom shows up to his secret show in Eagleton. Ultimately, however, this gives Silver the courage to play during some of Parks and Rec’s biggest moments later on.  

Sex Hair

Musician: Mouse Rat

Episode: “Dave Returns,” Season 4, Episode 15

Musical Moment: Formerly known as Tackle Shaft, aka ScareCrow Boat, aka Punch Face Champion, aka hundreds of other names, we know Andy’s band simply as Mouse Rat. Whenever the boys in Mouse Rat plug in to play, you can expect fireworks, rockin’ tunes and catchy lyrics that are beautifully melodic and have absolutely no subtext whatsoever. With hits that cover local government projects to songs about your hair after sex, Mouse Rat is the garage-iest of the garage bands. But from playing in an all-night telethon to hosting a Valentine’s Day dance for senior citizens, Mouse Rat stayed the course and always came through for Leslie at her most trying times. Among their biggest contributions would be Leslie’s campaign song “Catch Your Dreams,” which had a huge impact on her political run and created a great background song for the entirety of Season Four.    

5,000 Candles in the Wind

Musician: Various Artists (including Ginuwine)

Episode: “Moving Up,” Season 6 Episode 21

Musical Moment: Remember the Super Bowl when Nelly played with Aerosmith? Multiply that by 5,000, and you have the epic Pawnee/Eagleton Unity concert, which featured all of Pawnee’s greatest musical talents. Despite the many hiccups leading up to the multi-artist performance of “5,000 Candles in the Wind,” it’s easily the most iconic musical moment for the series and served as a great reminder of the heart that is the outdated, obese and racoon-infested town that is Pawnee, Indiana. Complete with a Li’l Sebastian hologram horse, this moment also officially outed Ron Swanson as Duke Silver to Leslie and the rest of the gang, adding music legend to Ron’s many other incomparable accomplishments. 

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