Tuesday Ten: Television Themes

Published on August 14, 2007

I’m going to try out something new here at the site; how well it does will determine if I continue to keep it up. Every so often (and I’ll only do this on an occasional basis) I’m going to post a list of ten items pertaining to some topic. Consider it a “top ten” list if you will. This is just for fun, and is intended to foster some discussion. The inaugural topic: favorite television theme songs. I got the idea for this specific topic from a recent episode of The Jay and Jack Ramblecast (hat tip: Dustin). Here are my personal top ten, complete with links to each theme:

10. The Love Boat
This is definitely my dark horse entry, but I like it for one reason alone: it makes a great lounge singer song. I’m a fan of the lounge singer persona that Bill Murray did in Saturday Night Live, and this theme song would be great as sung by his character. As strange as it sounds, I think this would be a fun song to sing at a karaoke. At one point, I had this entire song memorized. I should also note that I never really watched the television show; I just dug the theme song.
9. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
If there’s one “rap” song that all white people know, it’s this one. The Fresh Prince was one of the better shows of the early 90’s. A memorable theme song made the show that much better.
8. Good Times
A classic theme song from a classic show. Any time I use the phrase “good times,” I think of this theme song and usually bust out into a line or two from the theme. “Temporary layoffs; good times! Easy credit rip-offs; good times!” Dave Chappelle gave some props to this theme song in a sketch he called I Know Black People. Hilarious!
7. Sanford and Son
Of all the television theme show songs ever written, I think this one best fits the show it was written for. If you didn’t know what Sanford and Son was about, and you only heard the theme song, you’d most likely say “that must be the theme to a show about a guy in a junk yard!” And you know what? You’d be right. The Simpson’s made great use of this in the “Trash of the Titans” episode.
6. M.A.S.H.
This particular theme does an excellent job of capturing the sadness and hopelessness of war. For those who don’t already know, the name of this song is “Suicide is Painless,” and the lyrics are rather disturbing. An interesting fact is that the lyrics were written by a then 14-year old Mike Altman, son of the original film’s director Robert Altman.
5. Airwolf
Who knew that a cheesy 80’s television show about a super-helicopter would sport one of the best theme songs ever written? Airwolf was a show I wasn’t allowed to watch growing up (I was far too young for it’s content at the time), but the few times I did catch the intro really made an impression.
4. Knight Rider
If there was ever a reason to buy a giant sub-woofer, this television theme song is it. The bass line is incredible, and the show was nearly as good. I always wanted to be Michael Knight as a kid; having Kitt as your car would be totally awesome!
3. The A-Team
“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem; if no one else can help; and if you can find them; maybe you can hire: The A-Team.” An instant classic.
2. Doctor Who
Growing up, my family occasionally watched Doctor Who (I primarily recall watching Tom Baker as the fourth doctor). The theme music was as exciting as the television show. An interesting documentary on how the theme was developed is available on YouTube. Some of the effects used are pretty incredible (scraping a house key along a piano wire, for example).
1. The Dukes of Hazzard
This theme song, sung by country star Waylon Jennings, is my personal favorite of all time. I grew up as a big Dukes of Hazzard fan (it was probably my favorite show as a child), and I know the song by heart. The General Lee is still my favorite car of all time, and this theme song still ranks number 1 on my list. Oh, and Daisy Duke is was a real hottie.

So do you agree? Disagree? What television themes are you a fan of?

7 Comments

kip

What, no love for Cheers?! 🙂

I’d have to include the Family Guy theme song. “It seems today that all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV, but where are those good old fashioned values on which we used to rely? Lucky there’s a family guy!” It’s great because the show is completely not family-friendly.

I also have to mention the awesomely terrible opening theme and especially the credits theme from the old-school Super Mario Bros. Super Show. I can’t believe I once gave up a trip to the park because I wanted to watch that show…

MASH and Fresh prince are my favorite from your list. A couple that would be on my list are MacGyver and Magnum P.I.. I’m sure there are plenty that I am missing. I also like the Star Trek: TNG introduction song, pretty classic. Saved by the Bell maybe. Haha. I could be here all day.

Cheers is one that I definitely missed; that’s a great theme song, though I might have only given it an honorable mention. It was so hard to rank these ten!

I also remember the Super Mario Bros. show theme song; in retrospect, I can’t believe I watched such a thing; it’s so incredibly cheesy.

Tama

Hawaii 5 0
Ironside
Six million dollar man
Thunderbirds

some that i like

Hawaii-Five-Oh was one I completely forgot about, and probably should have made my list!

I would have to say Lassie, just because it makes mom cry, which I find hilarious.

Hahaha … you’re so cruel!

I just thought about the Miami Vice theme. That’s another one I missed! There are so many good ones, it’s hard to narrow it down.

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