July 13th. Today marks four years since Canadian actor Cory Monteith died. Monteith was known for his big heart, handsome smile, and of course, for his lead role in musical comedy Glee. Finn Hudson was the star quarterback turned show choir leader who won over so many hearts over the show’s six year tenure. In the four seasons that he was able to be a part of, Monteith sang many songs as Finn. He often took the lead in group numbers, but also got to sing many songs as duets or solos – showcasing his raspy, classic rock tone. This more than made up for his somewhat… interesting… dance moves. As a memorial to the man from a girl who grew up loving him, these are my top 10 Finn Hudson songs from Glee.
10. Crowded House- ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (4 x 09)
Technically, this one is cheating, as Finn just sings the first verse and it’s sung alongside the New Directions. However, I couldn’t help but include it, as it’s so perfectly Finn. In the fourth season of the show, the character grows so much, having graduated from school and learning where he fits in to the world outside high school. In his case, it’s back in high school as a teacher, but it’s a reminder that things don’t always follow the plan. In this episode, Finn sees everything go wrong yet again, as the glee club are disqualified from the first competition he led them in. And yet, his dreams aren’t over. Perfect song, and one which he sings beautifully.
9. The Doors – ‘Hello, I Love You’ (1 x 14)
Finn’s UPS on the show very quickly became his ability to cover any classic rock song perfectly. His tone fit these songs flawlessly. His cover of The Doors at the start of the second half of the show’s first season is one of my favourites. It’s cool, it’s slick, and just a little bit sexy. Perfect combo for a sick cover.
8. REM – ‘Losing My Religion’ (2 x 03)
Another song of Finn’s favourite genre, his cover of ‘Losing My Religion’ by REM is one of his more heartfelt performances on the show. It takes place during an episode where Finn briefly becomes religious (after making a Grilled Cheese that looked like Jesus). After realising that his Grilled Cheese wasn’t God, he sings this song, and its expression of loss of identity is one that Monteith captures well.
7. The Bee Gees – ‘More Than a Woman’ (3 x 16)
“It doesn’t work without you, just like everything else in my life.” Cute, but cheesy words uttered by Finn to his girlfriend Rachel (Lea Michele) before busting out into this number. This song deserves a spot on the top 10, purely for how different it is to everything else that Finn sings on the show. It’s an opportunity to show off a very different side to his voice and to his talents, and he makes the most of it.
6. Cyndi Lauper – ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ (3 x 07)
Sung to Santana (Naya Rivera) to try and urge her to tell people about her sexuality, Finn’s rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s classic is a truly unique one. It’s gentle, it’s reserved, and it changes the meaning entirely. It’s emotional and moving, and shows off what Finn’s character is all about – helping others to better themselves.
5. Michael Jackson – ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ (3 x 11)
Again, this one is cheating slightly, as it’s a duet, but I couldn’t not include it. Quite honestly, I prefer this version to the original. Monteith’s voice is so different to Michael Jackson’s, and because of that he makes the song his own. It also serves as a turning point in his and Rachel’s relationship, and as he sings, you know that he means all of it.
4. Rick Springfield – ‘Jessie’s Girl’ (1 x 18)
Given that they apparently named the character Jessie purely so that Finn could sing this song, you’d hope for big things. And these expectations are met. I always have so much fun watching this scene. Monteith strikes the perfect balance between charming and determined – you want him to get the girl back.
3. Sammy Davis Jr. – ‘I’ve Gotta Be Me’ (2 x 18)
Probably one of the most underrated Finn performances, and yet one of my personal favourites. In the season 2 episode ‘Born This Way’, the New Directions are assigned a task to find songs that express the notion of self acceptance, as they each learn to love who they are, flaws and all. Throughout the whole show, Monteith’s questionable dance ability is teased, and here he takes it in his stride and embraces it as who he is. It has a lot of heart and soul, and I have a lot of love for it.
2. The Pretenders – ‘I’ll Stand By You’ (1 x 10)
This is the song that I immediately went and listened to on repeat when 16 year old me woke up to the news of Monteith’s death. One of the most moving scenes on the show, Finn sings this as if singing to his unborn child. Of course, the child isn’t his, it’s Puck’s, but it doesn’t make the sentiment any less poignant. It’s the first time since the Pilot that Finn is really given the chance to shine, just him on a stage. The tone of his voice is perfect for this song, and he really gives it his all.
1. REO Speedwagon – ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ (1 x 01)
Although not vocally the best performance – it would be wrong to not have this at the no. 1 spot. This is where it all began. A tall, dorky quarterback screaming out REO Speedwagon at the top of his lungs in the shower. Given that Monteith had never sung publicly before his Glee audition, Will’s sentiments of finding a talent that someone didn’t know they had seem pretty apt. Finn loves to sing, and he’s never had the chance to fully express that, and here, he ‘can’t fight this feeling anymore’, and so begins the premise of the whole show.
Four years on, I still think that it’s a tragedy that the world lost this talent so early. Yet, I am also so grateful for the hours worth of listening to his voice I can do thanks to Glee. Glee got a lot of things wrong, but casting Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson was definitely not one of them.