This month marks 15 years since The O.C. first premiered, giving us a look inside the world of the Newport Beach elite. As told through the eyes of the core four—Ryan Atwood, Seth Cohen, Marissa Cooper and Summer Roberts—The O.C. never skimped on the soundtrack or music references largely due to resident indie nerd Seth Cohen. The series originally aired from 2003 to 2007 and despite being more than a decade removed, there are still plenty of unforgettable music moments. From live performances at the Bait Shop to perfect soundtrack additions and broadcast premieres, take a look below at some of the most memorable.
Phantom Planet – “California”
When: Every season
Why it’s iconic: There is only one way to kick off a list talking about music on The O.C., and that’s with the track that began each show.
The All-American Rejects – “Swing, Swing”
When: Season 1, episode 1
Why it’s iconic: It was a peak mid-2000s move to have the Rejects be the soundtrack to Seth and Ryan jumping in the back of a jeep to go to a classmate’s party.
Fountains Of Wayne – “All Kinds Of Time”
When: Season 1, episode 5
Why it’s iconic: After being dragged to a party and missing his date with Marissa, Ryan makes it up to her with a poolside makeup date. The hang sesh delves into deep conversation and the eventual end up in the pool with all of your clothes on scenario, making this somber Fountains Of Wayne track the perfect choice.
Yellowcard – “Way Away”
When: Season 1, episode 5
Why it’s iconic: This one was a treat for those who caught the episode live in 2003 as Yellowcard premiered their video for “Way Away” on a commercial break. While you won’t be able to relive the moment while binge watching the series on Hulu, it totally counts as a memorable moment as this was Yellowcard’s first single from Ocean Avenue.
OK Go – “You’re So Damn Hot”
When: Season 1, episode 6
Why it’s iconic: Seth’s grandfather has a new girlfriend, and as if viewers couldn’t already read everyone’s mind, this OK Go track comes in with the assist as the woman in question exits a pool in slow motion.
Something Corporate – “Space”
When: Season 1, episode 7
Why it’s iconic: Like Yellowcard, Something Corporate premiered their video during a commercial break. The debut landed a month ahead of SoCo’s third LP North, which would also end up being their last.
Alkaline Trio – “We’ve Had Enough”
When: Season 1, episode 14
Why it’s iconic: With Seth’s parents out for a New Year’s Eve dinner, his aunt, Hailey, decides to throw a party. As it quickly grows out of control and with the desire to head to a party of their own, Seth and Ryan search the rager for Hailey to shut it down as the super appropriate “We’ve Had Enough” blares over the speakers.
When: Season 1, episode 15
Why it’s iconic: Rooney were a token indie band for mid-2000s teen entertainment having also appeared as Fly Paper in 2001’s The Princess Diaries. Fast-forward three years where the group became the first of many bands to perform on The O.C., tackling originals such as “I’m Shakin’” and “Popstars.”
Beastie Boys – “Ch-Check It Out”
When: Season 1, episode 26
Why it’s iconic: Seth’s grandfather is getting married to Marissa’s mother (only in The O.C.), which means there have to be epic bachelor and bachelorette parties respectively. The guys choose Vegas, and the Beastie Boys blaring in the background is truly the only way to roll up to a hotel in a limo. The track plays again later as Ryan successfully wins a game of cards.