I’ll be there for you… back in the 1920s

By now, Friends fans know there will be a reunion when the show launches on HBO Max. That’s old news. But, if you’re going through “Rachel withdrawal,” you’re grabbing on to every little bit of Central Perkinalia you can. That’s why, for this Fun Friday, I present this little video from “Postmodern Jukebox” which popped up on my YouTube feed:

Postmodern sure isn’t Post Malone

Postmodern Jukebox is a creation of musician Scott Bradlee. The group reinterprets relatively recent songs as early 20th-century torch songs, with varying degrees of success. I told you about them a few months ago, as you might recall. If you have some time to kill on this Fun Friday you might want to dig in deep.

But this one…

I gotta say I’m not so inclined to gush over this latest video. The effort is certainly there for sure. A for effort, definitely. But my big issue is that really you have people who are just imitating artists of the period, and not even really representative ones. The 1930s version could have been an early Sinatra, the 1940s could have benefited from tight harmonies evocative of the Andrews sisters. And it goes on. The 1950s should have been Elvis, the 1960s the Beatles. And while Ike and Tina sure did release “Proud Mary” in 1971 (I checked) it’s not the song you think of when you think “1970s.” That would be disco.

And, probably the worst offender is the Meat Loaf-esque 1980s cover. “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” didn’t come out until 1993, and there are plenty of other 1980s songs that could have been employed instead. What about “Thriller?” What about “Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)?” Just saying.

While it was a fun three minutes…

I think that the best part was the cameo at the end by The Rembrandts, the original artists who performed the theme. When Friends first came to Netflix, they performed an acoustic version of the theme that’s honestly more satisfying:

Of course, Friends isn’t on Netflix anymore, but that doesn’t make this video any less fun.

And I guess, just to complete the trifecta, I ought to post this version, which was produced for the radio version of the song:

In 1995, Friends was so popular that the song was re-recorded to fit the length of most other songs on the radio. It was released as a single and peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1995.  The video is just silly fun and if you’ve already wasted all the time it took to get to this point in the article, you may as well watch it.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.