What happened to the memorable TV Theme Song?

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that the TV theme songs of today don’t really compare to those of the 70s and 80s and even before.  There are shows now that don’t have an opening or it’s just a graphic and a sound.  I remember, and still find myself, singing a theme song to a classic show when it comes on the retro stations.

I guess so many of us just fast forward through the openings now.  We don’t need to waste our time with theme songs.  It’s not worth it for a show to come up with something catchy.

Some of my favourites are below. This is in no way a complete list, but they are ones that popped into my head when I started writing this post. I can still sing all the words to most of these or the tune takes me back to a different time and special memories. You know those memories. Back in the day when you all had to sit around one TV. Yes, I said it. One TV. Can you believe it? Back around that one TV when the family got together to watch a show, or you watched the old reruns by yourself after school.   Either way it was these theme songs that started every show for you. And you couldn’t fast forward through them. They were just part of the whole experience. Sadly in a lot of case, this is now lost. So enjoy a few favourites from the past. And suggest some others that you remember.

The Love Boat is definitely one of my all time favourites.  Saturday nights around the TV with my parents and a bowl of popcorn.  Who were going to be the guest stars today?  They’ll tell us in the opening theme.  Heck, I even have this one on my iPod.

The Golden Girls were another Saturday night classic.  The song just resonated with everyone.  “Thank you for being a friend…”

Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Really how much more do I have to say about this one.  It was the theme song images that brought us the big twirl and the hat toss.  Thanks Mary and we’re glad that you “..made it on your own.”

What about The Odd Couple and the great organ sounds plus 70s style orchestration that makes this one a great finger taping theme.  Now this one might be very dated for most of you.  But still a good one.

WKRP in Cincinnati help us answer the question “wondered what ever became of me…living on the air in Cincinnati”.  This is definitely one that all these years later, I can still sing all the words.

At the same time we had, Welcome Back Kotter which took us to a time in NYC with Sweathogs and hair styles.  But you always felt that you were “Welcome Back”.

Good Times along with being one of my favourites, this theme just made you want to dance as you sang every word.  Times were tough in this show, but they had Good Times.

The Jeffersons theme has provided times.  References to “moving on up” have been made in various shows and movies since we first heard this song.  It is great theme songs like this one, that are timeless.

Three’s Company theme is very 1970s.  But it was the images and the music that made it seem like a place/show you want to watch.  Because “You’ll see that life is a ball again and laughter is callin’ for you.  Down at our rendezvous…”  Who wouldn’t want to spend 30 minutes (22 minutes without commercials) with these characters each week.

Family Ties just had such a calming opening song that it made you feel like this was a special family that we needed to meet and see what they were up to each week.   “Sha-la-la-la”

In and around the same time, give or take a few years, there were some other classic theme songs that came along.  Who could forget the following.  Or maybe you did and I will help to remind you.  Growing Pains, Perfect Strangers, Silver Spoons, Who’s the Boss, The Greatest American Hero

The Facts of Life theme song really said it all “you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life…”  What an opening.  This show was definitely for me back in the 80s.  Thanks Blair, Jo, Natalie, Tootie and of course Mrs. Garrett.  Plus a young George Clooney, with a mullet, for a season.

And who could forget what came before it, Different Strokes.  Plus some other favourites like Gimme a Break, What’s Happening, Eight is Enough, One Day at A Time.  Not necessarily from the same time, but still about families that were not all blood relatives.

I always loved the short run and start for Tom Hanks’, Bosom Buddies.  A little Billy Joel helped this become a great theme song and every time I hear that “My Life” by Billy Joel on the radio, I think of Bosom Buddies.

Cheers.  How much do I really need to say about this one?  When that piano starts to play, we know it’s time to “…get away.  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and their always glad you came….”

Happy Days.  What to say about this one?  You want to get up and dance.  You want a soda down at Arnold’s and to hang with the Fronz and the Cunninghams.  This song just says and make you feel it all.

And of course Laverne and Shirley.  Because you can’t reference Happy Days without Laverne and Shirley.  This theme was a great one also.  These girls just seemed like they were going to make things happen.

Charlie’s Angels had a little something for everyone.  And so did this theme song.  Gotta love the music of the 70s.

The A-Team theme really spoke to what this show was about.  You could just feel it in the music.  And when you heard it radiating out of your single speaker of your 20″ TV, you came running if you were a boy or a tom boy of the 80s.  It was time for Mr. T, Hannibal, Face and crazy Murdock.  It still gives me goosebumps today.  Another one that’s on the iPod.

Dallas.  Yes, Friday nights I would watch this one with my parents.  The 70s and 80s were full of evening soap operas, or dramas.  This theme was an interesting one. As Dallas was on for so many years, the core of the theme song never changed, but it was modernized as the times changed.

Along with Dallas, came the other soaps.  Here are a few themes like Dynasty and Falcon Crest.  Oh so dramatic.

Hawaii 5-0 is supposedly one of the most recognized theme songs in the world.  Makes sense.

And if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.  Check out Hawaii 5-0 2010

Let me just say that this was one of the most fun posts I’ve ever done.  I still know the words, I’m still singing along and they still put a smile on my face.  Doesn’t matter what the episode was about, you just needed to hear that theme song and you would plop yourself in front of the TV and you were ready for one of your favourites.  But I could go on for days with theme songs from the 70s and 80s.  What about CHiPs, Dukes of Hazzard, MASH

Now, what about today?  Are there ones that we remember and sing along with?  For me there are a few.  Of course there is Friends.  But more recently, this is probably my current favourite.

The Big Bang Theory has a very catchy theme song and tune, plus it’s done by the Barenaked Ladies.  And it really talks to what the show is about.

What are some of your favourites from today or the past?

© 2010, Anne-Marie. All rights reserved.