Skip to main content

One of the most appealing aspects of Stranger Things isn’t from the show’s characters. Instead, it’s the music the series uses to give audiences an authentic taste of its time period – the 80s. If you lived through the 1980s, then you already know what an impact music had on the decade, and Netflix’s wildly popular series uses that to its advantage. We’ve decided to dive into some of the series’ best musical moments.

'Stranger Things' Season 3 production still of Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) leaning against a counter while eating a bowl of cereal.
David Harbour as Jim Hopper | Netflix

‘Stranger Things’ character Jim Hopper’s reprisal of ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’

Granted, Jim Croce’s peppy little diddy “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” premiered in 1972, but the song still helps add to one of Stranger Things’ best scenes in the series. The show actually uses the tune twice – once in season 2 when Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Hopper (David Harbour) work together to clean the cabin that the two now call home, and once in season 3. It’s the season 3 moment that really shines.

When fans reach Stranger Things Season 3, Eleven spends a lot of her time making out with her boyfriend Mike (Finn Wolfhard) in her bedroom. Hopper’s only request is that she leaves the door open three inches to keep the lovesick teens from getting carried away. When that request gets ignored, Hopper decides to put his foot down and banish Mike from the cabin for a while so the young couple can take a bit of a breather. 

Mike doesn’t come over the next day, and Hopper celebrates his victory. As he chows down on Honey Smacks (even though it should’ve been Sugar Smacks) for breakfast, a grin creeps across his face, and the beginning of “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” starts to play. In the next scene, Hopper sings along loudly to the song while beating his hand against the steering wheel, creating a moment for fans to remember.

Eleven and Max after a day at the Starcourt Mall

Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ is the quintessential mall montage song

The 80s and Madonna go together like Back to the Future and Marty McFly, and one isn’t complete without the other. That’s why Madonna’s song “Material Girl” seems like such a no-brainer to include in any soundtrack with an 80s setting.

In Stranger Things Season 3, Eleven and Max’s (Sadie Sink) newfound friendship delighted fans when the girls decided to ditch their boyfriends for some quality time at the mall. Up until this point in the series, El only wore clothes given to her by Hopper or her boyfriend, Mike. When Max introduces her to Starcourt Mall and all the treasures within, Eleven can hardly believe her eyes. The duo spends the day trying on all the latest fashions, which include bright colors, wild patterns, and some very specific styles. The montage set to “Material Girl” gives the audiences some relief from the usual tension surrounding other scenes in the series.

Suzie singing along to ‘The Neverending Story’

‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Which Couples We Think Are Endgame in the Series

Dustin and Suzie’s rendition of ‘The Neverending Story’ in the ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 finale

One of the final moments in Stranger Things Season 3 immediately became one of the most talked-about scenes in the series. After telling his friends about his girlfriend from camp, Dustin finally introduces everyone to Suzie. However, when audiences see her, they’re treated to the cute couple’s rendition of the theme song from the 1984 film, The Neverending Story. Did Suzie’s insistence on Dustin singing to her cause Hopper’s demise? Possibly. It still didn’t make the scene any less charming.

The creators of Stranger Things, Ross and Matt Duffer, initially chose another song for that scene called “The Ent and the Entwife.” The music originated from the Lord of the Rings series, but it’s safe to say only diehard fans of Tolkien would recognize it. Thankfully, one of the writers on the show suggested they use something different, and they chose “The Neverending Story” instead.

Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 premieres on May 27, 2022. Part 2 lands five weeks later, on July 1, 2022.