"Glee" would not be what it is today were it not for Cory Monteith.
The actor brought a boyish charm to the lovable jock Finn Hudson, the all-American guy who would help make the revived McKinley High School New Directions champions. Monteith, who died Saturday at the age of 31, was the frontman for many of the show's best songs as his character would grow to anchor the underdog club. In his four seasons on the Fox musical, Monteith would cover artists including Journey, Michael Jackson, Queen and scores more, performing songs to support his gay half-brother, his girlfriend and the club itself.
Here are The Hollywood Reporter's picks for Monteith's best "Glee"songs.
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1. "Don't Stop Believin'" (Journey, season three):
This was the song that started a worldwide phenomenon and made Monteith and the rest of the cast overnight sensations. Monteith was the backbone of the original New Directions and it was his football star Finn Hudson who helped launch the club to what it became -- champions.
2. "Can't Fight This Feeling" (REO Speedwagon, season three)
Romance blossomed early for Finn and Rachel (Lea Michele). The jock battled peer pressure from his classmates for joining the club and having the eyes for the diva-in-training. When Matthew Morrison's Mr. Schue heard Finn singing this song after a game, he personally recruited him to anchor the glee club's revival.
3. "Hello, I Love You" (The Doors, season three)
When Sue (Jane Lynch) tries to come between Finn and Rachel, he reconfirms his feelings for his new love -- not his recent ex, Quinn (Dianna Agron) with this cover. The Doors frontman Jim Morrison died at the age of 28.
4. "Faithfully" (Journey, season three)
New Directions turned to Finn and Rachel's blossoming romance when it counted most in "Glee's" first season finale, "Journey to Regionals."
5. "Losing My Religion" (R.E.M., season three)
During the "Grilled Cheesus" episode Finn questions religion after his step-father-to-be Burt has a heart attack and the club rallies around his now step-brother, Kurt (Chris Colfer). It ranks as one of the show's most controversial hours to date.
6. "Just the Way You Are" (Bruno Mars, season three)
In the "Furt" episode, Finn takes some slack for not defending Kurt when he's bullied by a member of the football team on which the athlete serves as quarterback. He uses this song to apologize to his newest family member as he and Kurt learn Finn's mother is marrying the father of his openly gay New Directions team member.
7. "Man in the Mirror" (Michael Jackson, season three)
Monteith and new directions members Puck (Mark Salling), Blaine (Darren Criss), Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) -- clad in a stunning black and white tuxedos -- form what would become the male core of the club after Finn makes peace with his jealousy toward new star Blaine.
8. "We Are the Champions" (Queen, season three)
After New Directionsperforms -- and wins -- at Nationals, leader Finn leads the club in a cover of this classic Queen song to thank Mr. Schue for his efforts.
9. "Glory Days" (Bruce Springsteen, season three)
In the season three finale, Finn rallies everyone to help his best friend, Puck, pass a key test so he could graduate. Clad in his cap and gown, Finn sat behind his drums to play -- and sing -- as McKinley High's principal read off the names of his glee club friends.
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10. "Don't Speak" (Duncan Sheik, season four)
In one of the Fox musical's most heart-wrenching episodes, Finn and Blaine travel to New York to visit their respective partners. What they find, however, is that the distance between Ohio and New York, along with the woes of a long-distance relationship when they're each heading in different directions, doesn't work. The two core couples break up and share one of the show's most gut-wrenching songs to diehard fans all over the world.
11. "The Scientist" (Coldplay, season four)
Returning to Ohio, Finn is joined with his McKinley High friends including Santana (Naya Rivera), Kurt, Blaine, Brittany (Heather Morris) and Jayma Mays (Emma) as each struggles to accept heartbreak during "The Break Up."
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12. "Don't Dream It's Over" (Crowded House, season four)
With Mr. Schue in Washington, Finn steps in to take over leading New Directions. After the club loses its choir room after new star Marley (Melissa Benoist) lands the club a disqualification at Sectionals. Finn commiserates with the few members of the club still determined to make a comeback including Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Blaine, Sam and Brittany.
13. "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" (Beastie Boys, season four)
After spending the bulk of season four searching for his identity -- the Army, bumming around New York and filling in for Mr. Schue with New Directions -- Finn heads to community college to study to become a teacher. He takes a detour when Puck moves in with him (briefly) in the dorms and takes the college party track. Puck quickly reverses course and vows to help Finn put his head down and study. It signaled the start of a bright future for the character -- and would be the last song he'd have lead on with the Fox series.
First published July 14 2013, 5:48 AM