In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Friends on September 22nd, Meghan Trainor will release a cover of the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You,” the show’s beloved theme song. The pop star’s rendition will drop on the 22nd at 8:30 p.m. ET on iHeart Radio’s Z100 — the exact time the show debuted on NBC — and will coincide with an Empire State Building light-up of blue, yellow, and red, a reference to the colors of the show’s logo.
Warner Brothers approached Trainor, a self-described diehard Friends fan, to cover the theme song. “I’ve seen every episode multiple times now,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I can’t believe they even thought of me to sing this cover. It was a dream come true.”
“I’ll Be There For You” was co-written by the Rembrandts, Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Kauffman’s husband Michael Skloff and songwriter Alee Willis. With a guitar riff inspired by the Beatles and an intro that resembles the Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” the theme song is notable for its energetic handclaps that occur between each line. “I hope I make them proud,” Trainor says, “Because they’re the ones that wrote this beautiful song and they’re legends.”
Trainor tried to make her cover sound exactly like the original. In order to do that, she asked her family to sing background with her. “I actually cut the vocals in my backyard in my studio, with my little brother, my older brother, my husband, and my best friend. And we were just all laughing and in disbelief. Like, ‘How is this really happening?’ It was a big party, the best night.”
Oddly enough, Trainor’s husband Daryl Sabara (best known for his role as Juni Cortez in Spy Kids) appeared as a guest star in the show’s 10th and final season. He plays Owen, the child Chandler accidentally tells he’s adopted. “When he showed me that episode and I remembered it was him, I freaked out,” Trainor says. “It plays on airplanes when we travel, and we always pop it on and we still scream every time.” Sabara takes the phone from Trainor to share his memories of the show. “I remember everyone being super nice,” he says. “They’d tape on Friday nights and they brought In-N-Out to the set. I remember watching Brad Pitt eat a burger. Everyone was a huge family.”
Trainor’s favorite Friends episodes are the ones that feature Ross and Rachel’s on-and-off-again relationship. “I sound like everybody,” she prefaces, “But when Ross and Rachel finally get together [in Season 2] and then they break up [in Season 3] and then she writes that whole essay, the 18 pages front and back of her confession to Ross [in Season 4] and Ross was too tired to read it. I’m always a Ross and Rachel fan, and I always wanted them to get back together.”
She isn’t sure why so many millennials are increasingly attracted to Friends, but she expects it’s the show’s comforting, relatable nature. “On all levels — relationship levels, personal levels — it’s so relatable and it makes you feel good watching it,” she explains. “You can laugh and cry. It’s just a perfect show.”
Last week, Trainor dropped “Genetics,” a buoyant track featured in the new Netflix film Tall Girl. “It’s all about loving yourself because you came from beautiful parents,” she says. “But it’s also a dance bop!” The song will be released off Trainor’s third LP Treat Myself, which is expected to be out early next year.