I’m 31 years old. This means I grew up and came of age in a time when television shows had awesome, catchy and memorable theme songs. The trend these days seems to be to either have something instrumental and quirky or some already established piece of popular music that people can easily recognize. Both of these options are never allowed to be more than 30 seconds long either. The TV theme song is a dying art form, and I think it’s high time it comes back.
In thinking about this ailing genre of music composition, it’s important to remember the theme songs that came before, the true titans of television theme songs, so to speak. Shows like “Gimme a Break,” “Charles in Charge,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “The Addams Family” all have theme songs that are instantly recognizable and most at least mention the name of the show, if not give you a quick exposition on the characters and their relation to each other. Yet none of those made my list. I know, so controversial of me.
So then which TV theme songs did make it my list?
“Believe it Or Not” from “The Greatest American Hero” – Don’t get wrong, this was an absolutely groan worthy show. The concept was that a man finds a suit from another planet that makes him a super hero. Except he can’t control the suit when he’s flying so that leads to all kinds of hilarity…or attempted hilarity. The bottom line is that the show’s theme song is awesomeness defined. The chorus triumphantly declare that indeed there is some “walking on air” to be done, and it makes you want to do all the walking.
“Without Us” from “Family Ties” – Perhaps this theme song can be best summed up by this simple phrase, “Sha-na-na-na.” The duet of voices singing each other’s love for one another is an ear worm if I ever heard one. It also sets the tone perfectly for the Keaton family’s adventures of the week.
“As Long As We’ve Got Each Other” from “Growing Pains” – B.J. Thomas sang the song in three different versions, once solo, once with Jennifer Warnes, and once with Dusty Springfield. All I can say is that I never wasted a minute on my crying whenever this song would kick in. I knew the Seaver family was coming to teach me a life lesson worth learning.
“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” from “Perfect Strangers” – What’s that? You don’t remember this show or its theme song? Don’t be ridiculous! It’s the story of Larry and his immigrant cousin Balki and all the misadventures they shared trying to cope as friends and family members. Nothing did ever stop them, either. Well, except cancellation.
“Sesame Street Theme” from “Sesame Street” – I love everything about this show. What it stands for, the Muppets, the music, everything. The theme song has undergone several revisions and re-recordings, but the feeling has always remained the same. It was a song that invited you to come along to a magical world where all you were supposed to is learn and have fun. For this reason, it’s among the best TV theme songs of all times, because it’s part of perhaps the best TV show of all time.