Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in One Day
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The music of One Day on Netflix: Here are all the songs throughout the 14 episode series

All the heartbreaking songs you recognised from the Netflix hit, and some you didn't

One Day on Netflix definitely got one thing right: the music.

Set to an eclectic mix of golden oldies, dance bangers and slow sensual numbers, One Day really pulled out all the stops on the music front. It’s exactly what we want from a show set across two decades from 1987 to 2007.

There were so many good tunes, in fact, it was a little hard to keep track. So here’s our guide to the music of One Day on Netflix. What played exactly, and when?

A smiling Tilly (actor) at the dining table with Emma (Ambika Mod) in One Day
Tilly totally heard Love and Affection by Joan Armatrading playing through those thin university dorm walls (Credit: Netflix)

The music of One Day on Netflix – Episode 1: 1988

One Day opens with a solid choice, Your Love by Frankie Knuckles (2000). It’s not quite in keeping with the 1988 setting, but we enjoyed it anyway!

The love affair of Emma Morley (Ambika Mod) and Dexter Mayhew (Leo Woodall) begins as they get down and dirty to Love In A Car by The House of Love (1990), although Emma later changes the music to Love and Affection by Joan Armatrading (1976).

After backing out of their one-night-stand, Emma and Dexter’s awkward morning-after breakfast is to the tune of Rip it Up by Orange Juice (1982).

Dexter struggles to climb Arthur’s Seat to the tune of Temptation by New Order (1981). After they do finally make it, and the trip is wholly worthwhile, the pair relax together to These Days by Nico (1967).

The episode ends with a new beginning, and the series transitions into 1989, and episode 2 with This Is The Day by The The (1983).

One Day episode 2: 1989

Emma and Dexter start 1989 in dramatic fashion. Dexter’s in Italy, and Emma is touring the North with her acting troop. Their happiness is cut short, however, to the tune of Here Comes Your Man by Pixies (1989).

Next, Dexter gets some bad news from his mum and an ominous Last Look by Vanbur (2020) plays.

And Emma gets some (almost as) bad news: her director wants her to perform a duet at karaoke! She says no, of course, and he sings The Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys (1985) by himself.

Episode 3: 1990

Soul II Soul’s Back to Life (1989) brings us back to London in 1990. Things are not looking too good for Emma, who now has to perform La Cucaracha four times an hour at her job at a Mexican restaurant.

If we’re not feeling sorry for her enough, Bill is Dead by The Fall (1990) plays to really hammer it home.

She meets up with Dex again, who is doing pretty well for himself. The pair enjoy each other’s company to the tune of After Hours by The Velvet Underground (1969). However, Emma cuts the fun short and leaves, as Iceblink Luck by Cocteau Twins (1990) plays overhead.

Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod gaze into each other's eyes in promo shot for One Day
Emma and Dexter in Greece in the days before Spotify… how did they cope? (Credit: Netflix)

The music of One Day on Netflix – Episode 4: 1991

Emma and Dexter are in Greece, and their fabulous holiday is highlighted with I Am The Black Gold of the Sum by Rotary Connection (1979).

For the naughty skinny dipping scene, Karen Dalton’s Something On Your Mind (1971) plays in the background.

It doesn’t quite go to plan, however, as Emma leaves Dexter in the water to Anyone Who Knows What Love Is by Irma Thomas (1964).

Episode 5: 1992

Episode 5 is where things start getting bad for Dexter. We open in the club, with Anthem by N-Joi (1990) pumping through the speakers.

Later, as Dexter’s father is taking him home to the train station, he plays The Thunderer March in the car.

And, as Emma gets closer to Ian, the episode ends with Northern Sky by Nick Drake (1971).

One Day episode 6: 1993

Dex is becoming more famous, and he parties with his new TV show co-host Suki in his dressing room. The two boogie to Step It Up by Stereo MC (1992).

Despite the chaos in his own life, Dex still manages to send Emma flowers for her show. As she admires them, Thinking About You by Radiohead (1993) plays.

The music of One Day on Netflix – Episode 7: 1994

Things are going from bad to worse for Dexter and Emma. When Dexter introduces her to his favourite fancy bar, complete with Rocks by Primal Scream (1994) playing overhead, Emma isn’t impressed.

Emma ends up back at home with Ian. The pair have cuddle up on the sofa, during which Suede’s The Wild Ones (1994) plays.

Episode 8: 1995

Everything has changed for Emma in episode 9! To demonstrate just how much, she has a steamy affair scene with her boss to the tune of Connection by Elastica (1995).

It’s not quite the life she wants for herself however. After a former pupil admits how much Emma inspired her, Emma seeks out her computer to start writing again.

In a hopeful ending, Dreams by The Cranberries (1993) plays.

Episode 9: 1996

In episode 9, Dexter pays a visit to the family home of his new girlfriend Sylvie (Eleanor Tomlinson). They are, for lack of a better word, posh. Fittingly, most of the music in this episode is classical.

However, there are a couple of pop songs thrown in there. As Dexter dozes a little, while the family get a little too engrossed in Are You There, Moriarty?, To the End by Blur (1994) plays.

And as Dexter professes his love to Sylvie, the two cuddle to On and On by Longpigs (1996).

Emma gives a wedding speech in One Day
Emma gives quite a speech at Tilly’s wedding, but the real highlight of this episode is Tilly walking down the aisle to Set You Free (Credit: Netflix)

The music of One Day on Netflix – Episode 10: 1997

Emma and her friends make a fabulous entrance to Tilly’s wedding to the tune of Brimful of Asha by Cornerstone (1997).

Tilly’s wedding continues in iconic fashion, just like the girl herself. She walks down the aisle to N-Trance’s Set You Free (1995), while later on at the wedding reception guests dance to Candy by Cameo (1986).

As is custom, Dex and Emma have a heart-to-heart while taking a breather from festivities. They return to the part as Sonnet by the Verve (1997) plays.

Episode 11: 1998

1998 opens with Dexter in his new job as a barista at one of Callum’s cafes. Though Dexter professes to hate it, they’re playing a crowd-pleaser in the background: Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry (1997).

Things go from bad to worse, as Dexter returns home to Sylvie in Surrey to the tune of Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying by Belle and Sebastian (1996).

As Dexter is left at home to look after baby Jasmine, he tries a number of songs to get her to sleep. These include Trash by Suede (1996), She Bangs the Drums by The Stone Roses (1989) and Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks (1967).

When Jasmine starts crying again, Dexter resorts to 1988’s Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy. He turns it off while on the phone to Sylvie, who we discover is having an affair. As Sylvie’s revealed to be in bed with Callum, Waterloo Sunset plays again.

Episode 12: 1999

Dexter and Emma are back to their international travelling ways in 1999. As Dexter goes to visit Emma in Paris, Obsolete by French artist MC Salaar (1994) plays.

And finally, after the events of the episode, Emma promises to murder Dexter if he lets her down. The Book Of Love by The Magnetic Fields (1999) plays us out to the credits.

Episode 13: 2000, 2001 and 2002

Emma and Dexter are finally together, and their milestones pass quickly. As Dexter asks Emma to move in with him in 2000, Happy Up with People by Lambchop (2000) plays.

In 2001, as the pair discuss their upcoming wedding, Olympian by Gene (1995) is on the radio. They prepare their wedding speeches to the tune of Once Around the Block by Badly Drawn Boy (2000). Badly Drawn Boy is back before the day is out, as we hear Magic In The Air (2000) while Dexter, Em and Jasmine enjoy being a proper family.

That’s not forgetting Jasmine’s beautiful violin rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, of course.

In 2002, the rain sets in to the tune of Crowded House’s 1991 hit Weather with You. A bad feeling begins to creep in, as Emma’s upset about not conceiving, and Asleep in the Back by Elbow (2001) plays.

The rain isn’t stopping anytime soon, it seems, as we hear 1972 hit Satellite of Love 2004 by Lou Read next. And then, finally, there’s Beth Gibbon’s Snow (2002). You know when this happens.

Dexter takes daughter Jasmine to see Edinburgh in One Day
Dexter takes Jasmine to Edinburgh, where we look firmly to the future with In Cold Light by Vanbur (2020) (Credit: Netflix)

The music of One Day on Netflix – Episode 14: 2003, 2004 and 2007.

Episode 14 opens in 2003 to Dexter drunk at a children’s party, rocking to Cotton Eyed Joe by Rednex (1994). Things go from bad to worse as he returns Jasmine to Sylvie and heads back out. Dexter continues drinking to to the tune of Where Were You? by the Mekons (1999). He’s then thrown out of the bar and hallucinates to Cat Power’s Where Is My Love? (2006). It must be a pretty good hallucination, too, because that song hasn’t actually been released yet!

2004 goes slightly better, as friends arrive to cheer up Dexter. However, when they leave, Nina Simone’s Lilac Wine (1996) plays.

2007 sees Dex looking to the future, while still remembering his first 24 hours with Emma. He looks really far into the future, too, as 2020’s In Cold Light by Vanbur plays the series out.

Read more: One Day on Netflix cast: From Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall to Eleanor Tomlinson and Tim McInnerny

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Check out the music in One Day – available to stream on Netflix now.

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Susan Brett
TV Writer