On The CW's Thursday drama "Supernatural," demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles) travel the highways and byways of America in a 1967 Chevy Impala.
Now what sort of music would one play while driving such a car? Somehow Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus just don't cut it.
If you're hunting ghosts, ghouls, zombies and even the devil himself in a classic muscle car, you need some classic muscular rock 'n' roll, and that's just what "Supernatural" delivers.
Composers Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska create the show's original score, while music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas is in charge of picking the pop songs.
Calling in on her way to the Coachella music festival, Patsavas says, "When I got hired for 'Supernatural,' I had an extensive conversation with the executive producers about the music on the show. They knew from the beginning that they wanted it to be their very favorite, iconic popular rock songs from the '70s and '80s, but mostly from the '70s.
"It has a very road-trip flavor. Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult, those are the kinds of bands that we use on the show."
For example, here's a sampling of songs from the current season, the show's fifth: "Thunderstruck" (AC/DC), "Long, Long Way From Home" (Foreigner), "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum), "Won't Get Fooled Again" ( the Who) and the theme from "Knight Rider."
Other 8-track classic bands featured include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Rush, Metallica, the Rolling Stones, Iron Butterfly, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ted Nugent, Three Dog Night, Journey and REO Speedwagon.
Some rock anthems have become integral to the show, such as Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" (not hard to guess why) and especially Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son."
It's easy to see how a song that opens with the lyrics "Carry on, my wayward son; there'll be peace when you are done" could apply to a pair of brothers with serious father issues on a seemingly endless quest to save the world from evil forces.
"A definite favorite of the executives," says Patsavas, "and a song that we actually use for all of our season recaps."While the show's two leads -- Ackles was born in 1978 and Padalecki in 1982 -- are probably too young to have grown up on many of these songs, Patsavas doesn't see that as a problem.
"It's probably before the time of much of the audience," she says, "which is perhaps why they've responded so well to it, because maybe it's the first time they're hearing these songs.
"I actually think the actors probably feel really good about it, since it's exactly what their characters would be listening to."
Although the composers don't get to pick the pop tunes, they do get to hear them, and they do have opinions.By e-mail, Lennertz answered a few questions about the "Supernatural" songbook:
Q: What songs and/or bands have elicited the most response from viewers?
A: "Definitely 'Carry On My Wayward Son' by Kansas. All of the AC/DC tracks have been big hits."
Q: Has doing this job made you a fan of any bands or songs you weren't an admirer of before?
A: "Have a huge newfound respect for both Kansas and Blue Oyster Cult."
Q: What songs would you like for the show but still haven't been able to use?
A: " Led Zeppelin would be perfect, but they will not license."
Q: What personal favorites would you like to hear on the show?
A: " 'Stone in Love' by Journey, 'Fade to Black' by Metallica, 'Running With the Devil' by Van Halen."
As to how Patsavas has enjoyed her own immersion in '70s and '80s rock 'n' roll, she says, "I'm from Chicago, so I'm a Cheap Trick fan from way back. It's music everybody's familiar with, whether we're conscious of that or not. This music really strikes a chord with 'Supernatural' fans, because it's music they recognize."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun