Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Television Theme Songs We Love

The following is a short list of beloved television theme songs that we love. Many of these songs have memorable lyrics that we sing along with as they are playing. Some of these songs have been on the music charts throughout the world. Some are little musical gems of well contracted musicianship. But one they they all have in common is that they are all beloved television theme songs that will never lose their appeal.

Star Trek

Television Series: Star Trek
Years on Air: 1966-1969
Name of Theme Song: "Theme From Star Trek"
Other Names of Theme Song: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Written/Composed by: Alexander Courage
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: The recognizable theme song was written by Alexander Courage, and has been featured in several Star Trek spin-offs and Motion Pictures. Gene Roddenberry subsequently wrote a set of accompanying lyrics, even though the lyrics were never used in the series, nor did Roddenberry even intend them to be, this allowed him to claim co-composer credit and hence 50% of the performance royalties. Courage considered Roddenberry's actions, while entirely legal, to be unethical. Courage has said his inspiration for the main part of the theme was the Richard Whiting song "Beyond The Blue Horizon."

Knight Rider

Television Series: Knight Rider
Years on Air: 1982 - 1986
Name of Theme Song: The "Knight Rider" Theme
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: Glen A. Larson created and produced the TV series and Stu Phillips also composed the them for the late 70s television series "Battlestar Galactica." Outside of television themes Stu produced the 1962 #1 hit "Johnny Angel" for Shelly Fabares. He also scored the film "Beyond The Valley of the Dolls." The "Knight Rider" Theme is an electronic disco influenced theme that is very reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder's work. The "Knight Rider" Theme won a 2005 BMI Film & TV Award for Best Ringtone.

I Love Lucy

Television Series: I Love Lucy
Years on Air: 1951-1957
Name of Theme Song: "I Love Lucy"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Music by Eliot Daniel and Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: The title music was written by Eliot Daniel as an instrumental. Lyrics were written by Harold Adamson, who was nominated five times for an Oscar. The lyrics to "I Love Lucy" were sung by Desi Arnaz in the episode "Lucy's Last Birthday." "I Love Lucy" the single featured Desi Arnaz on lead vocals with Paul Weston and the Norman Luboff Choir was released as the B-side of "There's A Brand New Baby (At Our House)" by Columbia Records (catalog number 39937) in 1953. The song was covered by Michael Franks on the album Dragonfly Summer (1993). In 1977, the Wilton Place Street Band had a Top 40 hit with a disco version of the theme, "Disco Lucy".

Sanford & Son
Television Series: Sanford & Son
Years on Air: 1977-1977
Name of Theme Song: "Sanford and Son Theme"
Other Names of Theme Song: "The Streetbeater"
Written/Composed by: Quincy Jones
Chart Performance: #284 (US)
Trivia: Titled "The Streetbeater", the theme music was composed by Quincy Jones through A&M Records and released on Quincy's album "You Got It Bad Girl" in 1973 and was released as a single. The song never made it onto the Billboard Top 100 but did bubble under at #284, it has however maintained mainstream popularity, ranking 9th in a Rolling Stone Reader Poll of Television Themes Songs, and is featured on Jones' greatest hits album.

The Golden Girls

Television Series: The Golden Girls
Years on Air: 1985-1992
Name of Theme Song: "Thank You For Being A Friend"
Other Names of Theme Song: "The Golden Girls Theme"
Written/Composed by: Andrew Gold
Chart Performance: #25 (US) in 1978 as recorded by Andrew Gold
Trivia: "Thank You for Being a Friend" is a song written by Andrew Gold, who recorded it for his third album, All This and Heaven Too. The song reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. It also spent two weeks at number 11 on the U.S. Cash Box Top 100, ranking it as the 98th biggest hit of 1978. In Canada, the song peaked at number seven.
The song was famously later re-recorded by Cynthia Fee (also known for her work with Kenny Rogers) to serve as the theme song for the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls, and recorded again for the series' CBS spin-off The Golden Palace.

The Addams Family

Television Series: The Addams Family
Years on Air: 1964-1966
Name of Theme Song: "Main Theme: The Addams Family"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Vic Mizzy
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: The television series featured a memorable theme song, written and arranged by longtime Hollywood composer Vic Mizzy. The song's arrangement was dominated by a harpsichord and featured finger snaps as percussive accompaniment. Actor Ted Cassidy, in his "Lurch" voice, punctuated the lyrics with words like neatsweet, and petite. Mizzy's theme was popular enough to enjoy a release as a 45 rpm single, though it failed to make the national charts. The song was revived for the 1990s animated series, as well as in 2007 for a series of Addams Family television commercials for M&M's candies.The closing theme was similar, but was instrumental only and featured such instruments as a triangle, a wooden block, a slide whistle and a duck call. Vic Mizzy also wrote the "Green Acres" theme song.

Mission Impossible

Television Series: Mission Impossible
Years on Air: 1966-1973
Name of Theme Song: "Theme From Mission: Impossible"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Lalo Schifrin
Chart Performance: #41 (US)
Trivia: The theme was written and composed by Lalo Schifrin and has since gone on to appear in several other works of the Mission: Impossible franchise, including the 1988 TV series, the film series and the video game series. The 1960s version has since been acknowledged as one of TV's greatest theme tunes.The theme is written in a 5/4 time signature which Schifrin has jokingly explained as being "for people who have five legs." The original single release peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 19 on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart in 1967. In 1970, during the 5th Season of the Original Series, the theme was remade replacing the bongos with the drums.
In 1996, the theme was remade by U2 members Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. for the soundtrack to the film. It became a hit in the United States, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and receiving a gold certification, selling 500,000 copies there. It also peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart.

Hawaii Five-0

Television Series: Hawaii Five-0
Years on Air: 1968-1980
Name of Theme Song: "Hawaii Five-0"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Morton Stevens
Chart Performance: #4 (US)
Trivia: Another legacy of the show is the popularity of the Hawaii Five-O theme music. The tune was composed by Morton Stevens, who also composed numerous episode scores. The theme was recorded by the Ventures, whose version reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1968, and is particularly popular with college and high school marching bands, especially at the University of Hawaii where it has become the unofficial fight song. Because of the tempo of the music, the theme gained popularity in the UK with followers of Northern soul and was popular on dance floors in the 1970s.

The Jeffersons

Television Series: The Jeffersons
Years on Air: 1975-1985
Name of Theme Song: "Movin' On Up"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Ja'net Dubois and Jeff Barry
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: The Jeffersons was a spinoff of All in the Family in which the Bunkers' black next-door neighbors moved to a "deluxe apartment in the sky." This gospel-tinged song described their progression "on up." The show ran 1975-1985 and starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. Roxie Roker, who played their neighbor Helen Willis, is the mother of Lenny Kravitz. Ja'net Dubois wrote this song with the legendary songwriter Jeff Barry, who also sang backup vocals. Barry and his wife, Ellie Greenwich, composed several popular songs such as "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Hearts?," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Then He Kissed Me," "Baby I Love You", "Be My Baby," "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget," "I Can Hear Music," and "River Deep, Mountain High." Ja'net DuBois played the role of Willona Woods on another black sitcom, Good TimesGood Times was a spinoff of Maude, which like The Jeffersons, was a spinoff of All in the Family.

I Dream Of Jeannie

Television Series: I Dream of Jeannie
Years on Air: 1965-1970
Name of Theme Song: "Jeannie"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Hugo Montenegro (lyrics by Buddy Kaye)
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: The first-season theme music was an instrumental jazz waltz written by Richard Wess. Eventually, Sidney Sheldon became dissatisfied with Wess's theme and musical score. From the second season on, it was replaced by a new theme entitled "Jeannie", composed by Hugo Montenegro with lyrics by Buddy Kaye. Episodes 20 and 25 used a rerecorded ending of "Jeannie" for the closing credits with new, longer drum breaks and a different closing riff. The lyrics were never used in the show. It is this second theme song that has gone on to become known as the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme.

Hugo Montenegro composed the musical score for the 1969 Western Charro! which starred Elvis Presley. He also composed the music from "The Man from UNCLE."
Songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a theme, called "Jeannie", for Sidney Sheldon before the series started, but it was not used.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Television Series: The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Years on Air: 1970-1977
Name of Theme Song: "Love Is All Around"
Other Names of Theme Song: N/A
Written/Composed by: Sonny Curtis
Chart Performance: #29  (US Country Music charts as recorded by Sonny Curtis)
Trivia: The theme song, "Love Is All Around", was written and performed by Sonny Curtis often mistakenly attributed to Paul Williams; Pat Williams wrote the show's music. The first season's lyrics are words of encouragement directed to the character, referring to the end of a previous relationship and making a fresh start, beginning with "How will you make it on your own?" and concluding with "You might just make it after all." The more familiar version of the song used in seasons 2-7 changed the lyrics to affirm her optimistic character, beginning with the iconic line "Who can turn the world on with her smile?" and concluding with a more definitive "You're gonna make it after all." An instrumental version of the tune was used for the show's closing credits featuring a saxophone on lead in Season 1; a new version of the closing was usually recorded each season, sometimes with only minor changes. A different instrumental version of the song was later used for the opening of Moore's 1979 variety series, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour.
Sonny Curtis recorded two full-length versions of the song, both with significantly different arrangements from the TV versions. The first was released as a single on Ovation Records in 1970, while the second was included on Curtis' Elektra Records album of the same name in 1980. The latter recording, which featured a country arrangement, reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
The song has been covered by artists such as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Christie Front Drive, Sammy Davis Jr., and Twin Cities-based Hüsker Dü, the latter who also reproduced several scenes of the opening on location for their music video. The song was also featured in a long-running commercial for Chase bank in the mid-2000s, and was sung in the TV series 7th Heaven in the episode "In Praise of Women" during the birth of the Camden twins. A dance version was featured in the 1995 Isaac Mizrahi documentary Unzipped. The 2000 TV movie Mary and Rhoda started with a version of this song, with modern lyrics and a grunge sound.

The Munsters

Television Series: The Munsters
Years on Air: 1964-1966
Name of Theme Song: "The Munsters's Theme"
Other Names of Theme Song: "Mockingbird Lane"
Written/Composed by: Jack Marshall
Chart Performance: N/A
Trivia: With it's driving surf guitar chords "The Munsters Theme" has become a cult classic and has been covered by many surf bands throughout the decades. The instrumental theme song, titled "The Munsters's Theme," was composed by composer/arranger Jack Marshall. The theme song's lyrics, which the sitcom's co-producer Bob Mosher wrote, were never aired on CBS. The theme was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1965 in the "Best Instrumental Composition" category. Jack Marshall recorded a few surf music albums in the early and mid 1960s.

Do you have a favorite TV theme song? 
Please leave a comment!!!


  1. This is such a terrific blog! I love each and every theme song featured and the trivia was so informative. For instance, I didn't realize that the lyrics ending for the "Love is All Around" theme (Mary Tyler Moore Show) had changed from what was originally written in the first season. Nice job pulling out interesting facts about each featured song. I strolled down Memory Lane this morning listening to each of these. Thank you, Randall Webb! This was such a huge treat!!!

    1. Thank you Irene for the nice comments and thank you for helping me choose some of the theme songs for this list.



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