The Staircase soundtrack includes music by The Mills Brothers, the Bee Gees and Warren Zevon. This info article contains spoilers and song details for Antonio Campos and Maggie Cohn’s 2022 HBO Max miniseries. Visit the Soundtracks of Television section for more Vague Visages music guides.
In The Staircase, Colin Firth stars as a philandering husband named Michael Peterson. Toni Collette co-stars as Kathleen Peterson, the central figure/victim in a bizarre murder investigation. The storyline examines Michael’s personal life and the dark truth about his past in Germany. Composers Danny Bensi (Ozark) and Saunder Jurriaans (Ozark) scored the HBO Max miniseries, which includes nearly 30 needle-drop tracks during the first three episodes. Here’s every song in The Staircase.
The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 1 “911”
- “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Sinéad O’Connor (00:10): The Staircase soundtrack song scores a flashback sequence. Kathleen pops a bottle of champagne. She fills the glasses of Margaret (Sophie Turner) and Caitlin (Olivia DeJonge).
- “You Are the Woman” by Firefall (00:28): Mike plays a compact disc. He helps his wife with dinner. Kathleen guzzles a glass of wine.
- “Baby, Bunny (Sugar, Honey)” by Little Jerry Williams (00:35): The music scores a diner sequence. Mike watches David Rudolf (Michael Stuhlbarg) eat. Bill (Tim Guinee) sits by his brother.
- “You Always Hurt the One You Love” by The Mills Brothers (00:46): Lori (Maria Dizzia) speaks with Kathleen during a bedroom sequence. She sings The Staircase soundtrack song. The vocal plays over a dark transition scene.
- “More Than Yesterday” by Spiral Staircase (00:47): An “Empty Nest” party begins on September 10, 2011. Kathleen guzzles a glass of white wine. She pour another as Michael tells a story to partygoers.
- “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by The Mills Brothers (00:51): The music plays during a memorial scene. Michael arrives with Bill and Todd (Patrick Schwarzenegger). The characters approach Kathleen’s coffin as Clayton (Dane DeHaan) stands.
- “You Always Hurt the One You Love” by The Mills Brothers (01:05:00): The Staircase soundtrack song accompanies the end credits.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 2 “Chiroptera”
- “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives (00:05): The opening sequence takes place on Christmas Day 2001. Music plays from within the Peterson home. Martha (Odessa Young) grabs four glasses in the kitchen.
- “Hooked On Santa Claus: Jingle Bells/Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer/Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry & Bing Crosby & Les Paul & Doris Day (00:09): Michael makes a phone call from the Durham County Jail. The Staircase soundtrack song plays at the Peterson residence. Mark (Kevin Sizemore) stokes a fire with a blow poke.
- “Out of the Blue” by Debbie Gibson (00:16): Kathleen stands in her office. The music continues during a transition sequence. Michael works out and gazes at a man.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 3 “The Great Dissembler”
- “Ride on Time” by Black Box (00:15): The track scores a night club sequence. Tom Maher (Justice Leak) receives a tip involving Dennis Rowe.
- “Concerto N°5 En La Mineur: Allegro Ma Non Molto, Falk. 45” by Brigitte Haudebourg & Orchestre Pro Arte & Kurt Redel (00:17): Kathleen walks up a staircase. She arrives at a bedroom door. The Staircase soundtrack song fades as Michael introduces Kathleen to a masseuse.
- “I Started a Joke” by Bee Gees (00:25): Michael plays a compact disc. Jim (Cullen Moss) speaks with Dennis at the local police station. Michael works out as a man conducts a blood test experiment with a blow poke.
- “Paisiello: Il Barbiere Di Siviglia: The Barber Of Seville (Act I: Cavatina: Saper Bramate: Count Almaviva, Rosina)” by Jozsef Gregor & Krisztina Laki & Denes Gulyas & Hungarian State Orchestra & Adam Fischer (00:33): Michael enters the back room of a video store. A male patron pleasures himself. Michael puts his hand down the man’s pants as The Staircase soundtrack song continues.
- “Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down (00:45): The music plays during a bar sequence. Todd hangs out with a friend. The music changes as the characters snort cocaine in a bathroom stall.
- “Idomeneo Re Di Creta, K. 366: Act II Scene 4: March” by Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra (01:01:00): Margaret and Martha sign a legal document for Michael. The orchestral music sets in during an exterior court sequence. Michael enters an elevator.
- “Lawyers, Guns and Money” by Warren Zevon (01:04:00): The Staircase soundtrack song scores the end credits.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 4 “Common Sense”
- “Mandatory Suicide” by Slayer (00:37): Clayton (Dane DeHaan) works on a vehicle. The song plays as the car engine sputters. Clayton laughs and spots a missing blow poke.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 5 “The Beating Heart”
- “Good Guys and Bad Guys” by Camper Van Beethoven (00:10): Payton (Sailor Larocque) makes pasta. Martha arrives and reveals that she just quit her job. The Staircase soundtrack song plays from within the residence.
- “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional (00:20): Bill speaks with David on the phone. Clayton and Todd move furniture. They sit down and talk.
- “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira (00:25): Kathleen works out at a gym. The music plays through a stereo system. Kathleen reunites with Carol (Cynthia Barrett).
- “Slow Motion” by Juvenile feat. Soulja Slim (00:41): Todd grabs a bottle of alcohol and plays a song. He grooves to the 2003 hip-hop track. Todd talks with friends in a Cabo vacation home.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 6 “Red in Tooth and Claw”
- “Comment Te Dire Adieu” by Françoise Hardy (00:06): Sophie kisses Michael. The Staircase soundtrack song accompanies a Paris montage. Sophie visits Au Petite Suis and receives a phone call from Larry Pollard (Joel McKinnon Miller).
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee (00:30): The holiday tune scores a Thanksgiving sequence. Kathleen reacts to a Zamperini family tradition. Michael talks with Caitlin on a couch.
- “Freek-A-Leek” by Petey Pablo (00:32): Todd navigates a Christmas party. He drinks a Peroni and stumbles around. Todd calls out to an intoxicated Clay.
- “Le Voie Le Soleil” by Subliminal Cuts (00:33): Martha dances at a club. She says, “This is the best night of my entire life.” The Staircase soundtrack song continues as Martha kisses her female friend.
- “Le pénitencier” by Johnny Halladay (01:00:00): The 1964 track plays during the end credits.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 7 “Seek and Ye Shall”
- “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga (00:00): The Staircase soundtrack song scores the opening sequence. A vehicle leaves a driveway and returns. Tyrone Lacour (Donny Boaz) kills Dennis with a flashlight.
- “Fairytale Lullaby” by Bombay Bicycle Club (00:09): Martha hangs out with Margaret. She drinks red wine as the music plays at her sister’s home. Margaret jokes about her living conditions.
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by The Crystals (00:17 ): Kathleen visits a mall four days before her death. A graphic establishes the date as December 5, 2001. Kathleen enters a Christmas store.
- “Here Comes Santa Claus” by Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans (00:19): Kathleen speaks to a store employee about his relationship. She recalls her first marriage to Fred. The Staircase soundtrack song plays as Kathleen talks about Michael’s personality.
- “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” by Beegie Adair (00:32): Michael shares an intimate moment with Kathleen. He says, “Beautiful women deserve good news.” Michael reveals that one of his books was optioned for a movie.
- “Jingle Bells ” by Westway Sound (00:33): Kathleen enjoys a drink at a Nortel Networks holiday party. She watches Michael speak with a man. Kathleen talks to a colleague about their bosses’ business strategies as The Staircase soundtrack song continues.
- “Frosty the Snowman” by The Ronettes (01:04:00): The track plays during the end credits.
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The Staircase Soundtrack: Every Song in Episode 8 “America’s Sweethearts”
- “Tell It to My Heart” by Taylor Dayne (00:14): Michael looks for Kathleen during a flashback sequence. The track plays from within their home. Kathleen applies makeup and has sex with Michael.
- “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey (00:16): The Staircase soundtrack song scores a Christmas party scene. Kathleen pops a pill in a stall. She speaks briefly with Freda (Parker Posey).
- “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by The Staircase Cast (00:19): Kathleen returns to a Christmas party. She smiles and dances with Michael. A band performs at the event.
- “Finally” by The Staircase Cast (00:10): The Christmas party continues. Michael and Kathleen dance. The band performs a cover of CeCe Peniston’s 1991 hit.
- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by The Staircase Cast (00:19): Michael and Kathleen slow dance. The Staircase soundtrack song is performed by a band. The music fades as Michael wakes up from a dream.
- “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee (00:32): Clayton pops a bottle of champagne. Sophie asks Michael if he wants to shower and rest. Todd inquires about a dinner celebration.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.