Since I've been bringing back long-dead blogs lately, I figured the time was right to bring this one back as well.
For a long time, I've debated with friends/co-workers/nerds/etc.
about what the single greatest TV theme song of all time is.
Guess what I found out?
I found out it's utterly impossible to pick one.
There is no point in trying.
There are too many great songs.
No one will ever agree on a single right answer.
There are just too many determining factors.
Does a news program count the same as a prime-time network sitcom?
Or a dramatic premium cable show?
What was the impact of the song at the time?
Does it hold up?
Did it become popular on it's own merit?
What about professional sports?
Sporting events always have great original music.
That being said, I'm going to take a crack at it.
I am, however, going to establish a few rules for myself to follow.
Rule No. 1: No Sports, No Cartoons, No Game Shows, No News Programming.
- I could probably do an entire list dedicated to each one specifically, so we're going to eliminate them from contention for now. The only eligible shows will be live action half-hour/hour long dramatic or comedy programming.
Rule No. 2: Only Original Music, No Licensed Songs.
- To make things interesting, I'm only going to choose theme songs written specifically for the show in question. So, as much as I love the Sopranos and Golden Girl and Friends, don't expect to see any of them on the list.
Ok, Fuck it.
Miss you, Tony.
Ok, let's get down to business, shall we?
"It's Impossible to Create,
But I'm Going to Try, Anyhow"
Top Ten TV Themes of All-Time
Honorable Mention No. 1:
"the Satellite of Love Theme"
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Comedy Central/Sci-Fi Channel (1988-1999)
I really wanted to get this on the list somewhere, hell anywhere,
but I just didn't feel right bumping anything else off.
Also, it's doesn't really fall under my self-implied rules.
(see Rule No. 1)
Still, it is one of my personal favorites which means
I'm gonna rank it, anyways.
Honorable Mention, No. 2:
"Theme from the A-Team"
Composer Mike Post, is well known
for his work on other classic TV theme shows as well,
including Law & Order,
NYPD Blue and The Rockford Files.
Dude totally got around.
Honorable Mention, No. 3:
"Theme from the X-Files"
Is it blasphemous to call this one over-rated?
Well, guess what.
I don't care.
It's totally overrated.
Now, Let's get to the Countdown.
10. "Three's Company Theme"
This is basically "TV Sitcom Theme Music 101".
Simple, recognizable, classic.
It's just been beaten to death over the years.
(Thanks a lot, Nick-at-Nite/TV Land)
Honestly, it annoys me at this point.
RIP John Ritter, though. You were the man.
9. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Ah yes, the simpler days before Will Smith was ruined by Scientology.
(Hate you, Tom Cruise. Except for Top Gun. And Days of Thunder)
The nice thing about this one is that even if you've never seen
a single episode of Fresh Prince (blasphamy!)
the theme song brings you up
to speed with the shows central plot.
Solid work, William. Solid work.
8. "Theme to Night Court"
I remember exactly two things about Night Court.
First, The theme song was amazing.
Secondly, Markie Post was a total smokeshow.
Bonus points for use of the saxophone.
You gotta love those woodwinds.
7. "Welcome Back"
Welcome Back, Kotter
Producer Alan Sachs wanted his new show "Kotter" to have a theme song
that sounded like popular 70's musical act, The Lovin' Spoonful.
So they hired John Sebastian.
John Sebastian, who was in The Lovin' Spoonful.
This song actually made it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1976,
making it possibly the most commercially successful theme song on the list.
This once again proves that the 1970's as a whole were
6. "Charles in Charge"
Charles in Charge
Come on, how could this not make the list?
Everyone loves Scott Baio.
Who DOESN'T want Charles in Charge of them?
I certainly do. He's a motivator.
He seems like the kind of guy who exudes leadership.
A man who says "Yeah, I hang out with Willie Aames. What of it?"
Side note, Whatever happened to Nicole Eggert?
She was a total fox.
5. "Where Everybody Knows Your Name"
Yeah, I know.
This should probably be higher on the list.
Maybe even at Number One.
But guess what?
It's my god-damned list and I'll do what i please, thank you very much.
Plus, it seemed a little bit too easy.
I personally didn't care for Cheers as much after Coach and Diane left.
I always felt like Woody and Rebecca
were pretty poor replacements, although people do
seem to love that Woody Harrelson.
Still, It may be the most iconic theme on the entire list.
So, it's got that going for it.
Which is nice.
4. "Suicide is Painless"
Sometimes you don't just listen to a song.
Sometimes you can actually feel it.
Sometimes the music builds up in your stomach
and, in turn, enhances the effect on your psyche.
When I was younger, this theme would do that to me.
I used to watch it over dinner with my mom.
It was ideal for the emotional range the show presented.
It was both sad and haunting, yet memorable enough
to leave you humming the tune after it was all over.
A perfectly complimentary piece of music.
3. "Falling (Twin Peaks Theme)"
Twin Peaks is such an odd show.
It's a drama and a comedy and a head-trip
and a soap opera all rolled into one and plopped down
dead in the center of the Pacific Northwest.
Written by show creator David Lynch and long time partner
Angelo Badalamenti, the song is strange and odd and eerie.
Add to that the haunting, slow buildup to the dramatic climax
and you've got a theme that parallels the action of the show.
It's SO GOD DAMNED DRAMATIC!
Fucking David Lynch, man.
2. "Brand New Life"
Who's the Boss?
I absolutely loved Who's the Boss?
It's one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures.
That being said, and even with the presence
of the always hilarious, always pitch-perfect Tony Danza,
I still can't comprehend how this show
ran for eight full seasons.
I mean, Judith Light? Really?
God love her, but she always looked like a skinny man in drag.
I was always a 'Mona'-guy myself.
This is one of the few TV theme song that I can still remember the lyrics to,
even though it hasn't been syndicated for a long time.
Of course, I do own the DVD of season one.
So that probably has something to do with it...
1. "Dramatic Twilight"
The Twilight Zone
When we talk about makes for a great television theme song,
the single most important aspect is how well the music
prepares the audience for what they are about to witness.
With this in mind,
The Twilight Zone theme is a masterpiece.
As Rod Serling's voice rises over the jarring sound effects and
visceral tones of composer Gregor Narholz's chilling score,
you cannot help but feel that you are indeed
entering another demension.
It's brilliant. It's perfect. It's timeless.
It is everything you want in a TV Theme song.
And that's why it's at number one.
If you have complains/comments about the list
(Especially my inexcusable slight of the 'Happy Day's Theme")
Get at me on the twitter-sphere at
and let me know what you think.
By the way,
It's good to be back.