The upcoming South Park 25th anniversary concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre have generated a level of adult animation musical excitement not seen since The Simpsons Take the Bowl in 2014. On August 9th and 10th, a lineup of Primus, Ween, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will celebrate the legacy of the generation-defining animated series with an unprecedented live event.
Ween and Primus have their own respective catalogs of original music—both of which include crossovers with South Park—but the show comes with plenty of its own original tunes to add to the mix. Music has always been within the scope of South Park‘s cultural satire, and with a quarter century of history to sift through, including over 300 episodes and a feature-length film, the song possibilities are virtually limitless.
While a “Poopship Destroyer“-level rendition of “The Imagination Song” might be enjoyable for an evening, we thought we’d take our picks at some of the South Park songs we hope to hear. From MOOP to Faith +1, Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld to Wing, here are the songs we’re chasing at the South Park 25th-anniversary concerts.
1. South Park Theme
This first one is both the most obvious and the most likely. Composed by Primus for the show’s 1997 pilot, “Cartman Gets An Anal Probe”, a sped-up version of the song serves as the series’ opening theme music while the original, slower version plays under each episode’s closing credits. For 25 years now, Les Claypool‘s invitation to “come on down to South Park” has welcomed audiences to the quiet little mountain town, and there’d be no better way to open the show(s). Per toasterland, Primus has performed the song live 26 times, but not since 4/24/16.
Appears In: Nearly every episode
Likelihood: “Oh my god, they killed Kenny”-level predictability.
South Park Theme – Original Version
[Video: South Park]
Les Claypool on the South Park Theme
2. “The Rainbow”
Another obvious choice: Ween contributed this song to the season 2 episode “Chef Aid”, which first aired on October 7th, 1998 and went on to appear on the star-studded Chef Aid companion album. Also known by the less P.C. name (something Dean and Gene Ween have never really had much concern for) “Homo Rainbow”, Ween debuted the song live on 8/29/98 in the band’s hometown of New Hope, PA, and has played it 111 times to date.
Lyrically, “The Rainbow” was a perfect fit for South Park‘s early shock humor, which had mothers across the country clutching their pearls from the get-go. In the song, another great potential opener, Ween reminds us that there are many colors in the homo rainbow—and not to be afraid to let your colors shine.
Appears In: “Chef Aid” (s2e14)
Likelihood: As likely as Deaner sparking up a Marb red, numbnuts.
Ween – “The Rainbow”
3. “Chocolate Salty Balls”
One of the most enduring legacies in South Park‘s musical history is Jerome “Chef” McElroy, voiced by legendary singer Isaac Hayes. In the show’s early years, the soulful school cafeteria worker helped Eric Cartman, Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broflovski, and Stan Marsh navigate life’s problems, often through songs that were about as appropriate for an 8-year-old as the show itself.
Hayes, who was a practicing Scientologist from 1993 until his death in 2008, famously had a falling-out with Matt and Trey following the season 9 episode, “Trapped In The Closet”, which pointed the show’s over-the-top social commentary at the Church of Scientology.
The singer did not care for the way his faith was depicted as a grift in the show. Though Parker and Stone found his stance hypocritical since he only took exception to their lampoonery when it was his own faith being skewered. The whole saga came to a fittingly profane climax when Hayes bowed out of his role on South Park ahead of the season 10 premiere, “The Return Of Chef”, which ended with Chef being killed off in gruesome fashion.
Back during the rosier days of Hayes’s relationship with South Park, Chef’s famed Chocolate Salty Balls—along with a Fantasia-like Mr. Hankey—helped save the town from film festival yuppies in the season 2 episode named after the sweet and savory dessert. Considering Isaac Hayes/Chef’s huge role and impact on the early years of South Park, it would be a classy move to pay tribute to the late singer. Considering class has never exactly been South Park‘s strong suit (and remembering the way they killed off the character) you never really know which direction a heartfelt tribute from Matt and Trey could go. Plus, there’s the issue of who could replace Isaac Hayes as a singer.
Appears In: “Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls” (s2e9)
Likelihood: As likely as Chef’s parents giving the Loch Ness Monster about tree fiddy.
Chef (Isaac Hayes) – “Chocolate Salty Balls”
[Video: Cartman Brofloski]
4. “Kyle’s Mom”
One of South Park‘s greatest musical achievements arrived in 1999 with South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The feature film offered a meta examination of the issue of censorship through the lens of the foul-mouthed Canadian show-within-a-show, Terrence & Phillip. In addition to this fourth-wall-breaking rebuke of the criticism that has dogged South Park since its inception, the film featured elaborate musical numbers written by the Broadway-loving Matt and Trey.
“Kyle’s Mom’s A Bitch” is one of the most memorable songs from Bigger, Longer & Uncut (though a less elaborate version also appeared in season 1’s “Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo”) and would make an ideal addition to whatever Matt and Trey have planned for their portion of the concerts. That being said, something about Eric Cartman’s voice fits perfectly into Gene Ween’s vocal range (there is a long-held rumor that the inspiration for Cartman’s voice came from Ween’s 1992 MTV breakthrough “Push th’ Little Daisies“). The variety of world music styles found within the song’s global breakdown would be a logical choice for Ween, a band known to span genres from Nashville country homages to oceanic-inspired prog-rock masterpieces.
Appears In: “Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo” (s1e9), South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Likelihood: As likely as a fart joke in Terrence & Phillip
“Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo”
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut – “Kyle’s Mom”
“Kyle’s Mom” Orchestral Rendition
5. “I’m A Little Bit Country”
What better way to celebrate 100 episodes of South Park than by covering Donny & Marie Osmond? Well, that’s exactly what Matt and Trey did in 2003’s season 7 episode, “I’m A Little Bit Country”. The episode lined up with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the creators put their fingers directly on the hot-button issue with this send-up of the American tradition of having your cake and eating it too by way of the Osmonds’ signature tune. Let the flag of hypocrisy fly from every pole.
The stylistic blend of country and rock n’ roll would lend itself perfectly to the changeover between Ween and Primus. Ween, after all, recorded 12 Golden Country Greats and could easily handle that end while Primus could handle the rock n’ roll.
Appears In: “I’m A Little Bit Country” (s7e4)
Likelihood: As likely as Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh sending himself back in time to find out what the founding fathers’ true intentions were.
“I’m A Little Bit Country” (Donny & Marie Osmond Parody) – South Park
[Video: Taurus Satoshi]
Donny & Marie Osmond – “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘N Roll
6. “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”
This ode to everyone’s favorite male Olympic figure skater (sorry, Elvis Stojko) also comes from Bigger, Longer & Uncut. There are two ways to go on this one: the musical number from the film itself or the DVDA pub-rock-meets-salsa version that rolls over the credits. DVDA is, of course, Matt and Trey’s band behind many of the songs from Team America: World Police, BASEketball, South Park, and more. The name stands for “Double Vaginal Double Anal”, a reference to Matt and Trey’s NC-17 porno comedy, Orgasmo, though what it means to them is just hanging out—”You and me and my three buds.” For our money, we’re betting on the thrash version that features Trey Parker on vocals.
Thematically, “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” is another chestnut of South Park‘s early years that served as a formative lesson in many adolescents’ cultural Rolodexes. Now, I’m not quite sure whether Brian Boitano really built the pyramids or traveled to the year 3010, but I bet if he’s at Red Rocks he’ll kick an ass or two… ’cause that’s what Brian Boitano’d do.
Appears In: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Likelihood: As likely as anyone under 30 knowing who Brian Boitano is.
What Would Brian Boitano Do? – South Park
DVDA – “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”
7. “Jesus Baby”
There had to be an entry on this list from the greatest power trio Christian rock has ever seen, Faith +1. The stadium rocker “Jesus Baby” has not been performed live since the band’s headlining set subbing in for Sanctify at Christ Fest in 2003. Additionally, it was left off the group’s self-titled debut album in favor of other classics like “Body Of Christ”, “Three Times My Savior”, “I Wasn’t Born Again Yesterday”, and “Jesus (Looks Kinda Hot)”, so any live performances are highly sought-after.
“Jesus Baby” would serve well as a downtempo selection during Matt and Trey’s portion of the evening and is sure to get the sacramental candles out and swaying once the sun goes down over Red Rocks. Pointing again to the Eric Cartman-Gene Ween connection, the song would also fit in alongside “Demon Sweat” for a serenade from Gener on Glenn McClelland‘s keyboard.
Appears In: “Christian Rock Hard” (s7e9)
Likelihood: As likely as Chocolate & Cheese going myrrh.
Faith + 1 Live At Christ Fest
8. “Timmy and The Lords of the Underworld”
Another entry in the South Park Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is “Timmy & The Lords of the Underworld”. The quartet fronted by fourth grader Timmy Burch took the country by storm at the turn of the century, much to the ire of Phil Collins (who coincidentally served as the heel in the season 4 episode “Timmy 2000” shortly after edging out the South Park movie for Best Soundtrack Album at the 2000 Grammy Awards for his work on Tarzan). Given the recent 22nd anniversary of the group’s historic reunion at Lalapalalapaza following the dissolution of Reach For The Skyler, the time is right for a tribute to Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld.
An homage to the prog-rock forefathers would be a fitting choice for Primus, with the hair-rising fits drawing parallels to the funk-metal pioneers. You can already hear Les Claypool reciting the song’s earworm hook, “Timmy”, through his distorted microphone.
Appears In: “Timmy 2000” (s4e4)
Timmy & The Lords Of The Underworld
Something cyclical that has coincided with the 25th-anniversary of South Park is the re-emergence of boy bands. From K-pop superstars BTS to hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON to the recent reunion of the Backstreet Boys, boy bands are back in a big way, and they all owe credit to trailblazers Fingerbang. The pioneering group of youngsters clad in skin-tight pants paved the way for today’s stars, and it would be fitting for Matt and Trey to pay tribute to the visionaries behind another 2000’s cultural phenomenon.
Appears In: “Something You Can Do With Your Finger” (s4e8)
Likelihood: As likely as a Ghetto Avenue Boys reunion tour.
Fingerbang Live At The Mall
10. “We Can Live Together”
The final entry on our list of South Park predictions and wishes is one for the fans. The chant “We Can Live Together” proved itself to be life-saving after Cartman thought it up to save himself—and, by extension, all the other children—from a cult of ginger kids that he cajoled into a murderous frenzy in season 9’s “Ginger Kids”. The simplistic chorus has the power to unite what will surely be an interesting mix of demographics at Red Rocks come August 9th and 10th. Hand in hand, we can live together, ginger or not we’re all the same, Ween or Primus fan we shouldn’t kill each other ’cause it’s lame.
Appears In: “Ginger Kids” (s9e11)
Likelihood: About as likely as us eating any of Eric Cartman’s famous chili.
“We Can Live Together” – South Park