Saturday, May 26, 2007

Theme Songs

By now, everyone knows how important opening theme music is to a show. The Sherpa gives extra points if a show has a good theme. I was just thinking about some of my all-time favorites.

A good theme is just so linked to a show that when one hears it, it immediately reminds one of the show itself. And for a great theme, the show reminds one of the theme, also.

First, what makes a good theme? Usually, it has catchy lyrics. I prefer those that tell a little story that can bring a new viewer up to speed. Think Gilligan's Island (A tale of a fateful trip) or The Jeffersons (Movin' on Up.) That's not to say that a musical opening isn't any good either (Sandford and Son.) Through the years, some opening themes have actually crossed over and made it to the radio airwaves. Welcome Back Kotter's theme, or at least a version of it, was the only real hit of John Sebastian's solo career. And, of course the theme from Cheers got loads of airplay. Another huge hit on top ten radio was the theme from Hawaii 5-0. Book 'em Danno.
Today's shows seem to be a little lacking in theme music. Sure, The Unit has that awesome cadence thing, and Two and a Half Men has a nice opening, but beyond that, is the King of Queens opening really any good? And the Simpsons? Sure it is identifiable, but rather blah.
I thought I'd make a top ten of my all-time favorites, but I have so many I like, I'll have plenty of "Honorable Mentions."
I'll do it David Letterman countdown style.
10. Speed Racer--It just sets the tone for a fast action cartoon.
9. Theme from the Sopranos--Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun. How could you not like a song that starts with gunplay? Song got a lot of airplay, too.
8. King of Cars--I just like it. They dooz it large.
7. Cheers--Decent showing on top ten radio.
6. Beverly Hillbillies-- Tells a story, and has some classic banjo music
5. Sandford and Son--Jazzy and distinctive instrumentals.
4. Addams Family --What Boomer doesn't know at least one alternate verse of this ditty? Also, first time we ever were exposed to sarcasm. Lurch --petite?
3. Spongebob Squarepants-- Unites the generations. Boomers know it because their grandkids are addicted, Gen Xer's because their kids either watch it now or grew up on it. Also, tells a little story. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
2. Hawaii 5-0. --Great music. Just feels like an island theme.
1. Gilligan's Island --It has it all. Catchy lyrics. Backstory in a minute or less. And has legs. Ask any boomer to sing it, and he or she will know it better than their SS#.
In no particular order, the following receive "Honorable Mention."
Lone Ranger--Too easily confused with the William Tell Overture
Love Boat--Too sweet for diabetics
Hill Street Blues--I couldn't remember how it went well enough.
A-Team--I pity the fool who left this off the list.
Andy Griffith--It was called either the Fishin' hole or the Ol' Fishin' Hole. I don't like themes that use ' in them.
My Three Sons--Little too blah
All in the family--Too annoying
Lucy--I just don't love Lucy.
Good Times--Too ghetto-ey
Cookin' in Brooklyn--Too unknown
So, that's the list. The ten best and another 10 that didn't quite make the list.
Who said I have too much free time?


savvy said...

Great topic, but you've dated yourself, leaving off so many great theme songs. Here are an additional 10, with a few I had to leave off.
No particular order.

Venture Bros. - funky, fast moving, totally sets the tone for a hipster cartoon for adults that touches on so many pop culture memories of years past.

The Shield - leaves no doubt there is going to be an intense hour of violence, cops, robbers, and a hell of a lot of ambiguity.

The Wire - crime drama on HBO, the theme is reworked slightly each season, from bluesy to hard egded, but never dull.

Scooby Doo and Friends - who doesn't know "Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you.... "

Flintstones - see above

South Park - "Goin down to South Park, gonna have myself a time, friendly people everywhere, shouting howdy neighbor... " classic

Family Guy - ... Laugh and Cry line by stewie rules.

The Office - piano music, with tinges of sadness as the show works best as black humor, with a mix of laughs and quiet desperation.

Scrubs ' Puts you in the mood to be happy for a while, with that great line "I can't do this all on my own, I'm no superman"

Sportscenter lead in - Every dude I know does a quick turn of the head towards a tv when they hear da na na, na na na...

That 70's Show

Great picks on Sopranos and Sanford and Son, and extra bonus for not picking Friends!!!

Rubba said...

***Mi mi mi***

"Ya take the good, Ya take the bad,
Ya take 'em both and then you have,
The Facts of Life, The Facts of Life"

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