'Best Friend' From 'Ted': Story Behind the Oscar Best Song Nominee

This article is from the February 9, 2013, issue of Billboard magazine. You can click here to subscribe, and go here to order back issues

Song: "Everybody Needs a Best Friend"
Film: "Ted"
Songwriters/Composers: Seth MacFarlane (lyrics), Walter Murphy (music)
Performer: Norah Jones

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Walter Murphy: "Seth sent me the script and said, first of all, he wanted an old-fashioned score that would have themes for the individual characters. That idea intrigued me because in most summer films the score goes in and out of pop songs and isn't usually constructed that way. He also wanted a main title song that I could quote throughout the film.

"He sent me a set of lyrics, a different set of lyrics than the ones we used in 'Everybody Needs a Best Friend,' and I wrote the theme. As he started filming he thought it would be funnier if the song were sung from the standpoint of Ted so he rewrote [the lyrics]. He thought it would be even funnier if it were a woman singing them.

"I did a Nelson Riddle-type arrangement -- I spent a bit of time on it -- and when we started recording he got the idea of taking it to his friend Norah Jones. He flew to New York with the Pro Tools files of the work we did on the scoring stage at Fox with a big band and string orchestra; 60 pieces. It's not only well sung, Norah's attitude just fit the main title section perfectly."

Song Sales: N/A
Soundtrack Sales: 5,000
U.S. Box Office: $218.8 million