Saturday, October 1, 2011

Show Me That Smile Again

Speaking of Top 5, I hear that Rolling Stone put out a list of the best TV Theme Songs.

10. "The Golden Girls"
9. "Sanford and Son"
8. "Miami Vice"
7. "That 70's Show"
6. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
5. "The Sopranos"
4. "Friends"
3. "M*A*S*H"
2. "Hawaii Five-O"
1. "Cheers"

And while I do have all sorts of love for the majority of their list, I have to say Sandford and Son? Come on...does it immediately bring up images of looking through a dusty pick up truck window at the streets of despair? Yes. Best TV Theme Song? Please.

Now, anyone who ever watched the show The List, knows there is no definitive answer to the top "whatever" question. And I don't particularly like my lists to be so general, because how could I rate an instrumental theme song against a catchy jingle sung by Alan Thicke? Also, by separating them I can pick more.

(Note: Obviously, my list is going to be from shows that I actually watched.)

One Rule. The song can't be an actual song on the radio, that's cheating. As much as I love the Friends opening credits, it is immediately disqualified, because it was on a Rembrants CD before it was the theme song. Actually, it pretty much disqualifies every show after 1990, because TV producers started getting lazy. On a side note, the award for the best ability to pick a good song definitely goes to HBO. Sopranos was mentioned above, but I think Jane's Addition's "Superhero" for Entourage and Chris Issak's "Bad Thing" for True Blood are more kick ass.

My top 10 Instrumentals

10. Magnum PI (I'll credit Scott for letting this slide into the number 10 spot when he mentioned it. I love me a mustached private investigator with a penchant for Hawaiin shirts.)
9. Deadwood (This might not be the most well known of HBO theme songs, but I rarely fast forwarded through it, I loved it so much.)
8. Taxi (AKA "Angela's Theme" - who knew that tasty bit of Trivia?)
7. Mad Men (Have been watching this on Netflix and I cannot get over how much I love this tune.)
6. Wings (Bet you can't actually hear it in your head right now, but Google it. Fabulous. And a highly under-rated show.)
5. Beverly Hills 90210 (Strictly for the Jason Priestly fist-punching action. Da-da-da-da Da-da-da-da Chh-Chh.)
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Makes me want to go out and kick some vampire ass.)
3. The Office (Always brings a smile to my face and reminds me of my friends at Ernst & Young on the Goodyear engagement.)
2. The A-Team (Come on, how can you not hum along? And they are soldiers of fortune!)
1. M*A*S*H (This fun ditty is actually called "Suicide is Painless" and does have words if you buy the piano sheet music.)

Honest to god, I tried to think of any theme song that has occurred in the last two decades that doesn't break my rule and with one exception (which I actually thought was an 80's show anyway) I could not do it. I even Googled a list of TV shows to jog my memory and the only thing it brought to mind was Mad About You (good, but not Top 10 material). Which only goes to show that the 70's and 80's were indeed the best decades of all times.

10. Alice (I'm not exactly sure what it is about this song that makes it onto my list, but it bumped out Family Ties just barely.)
9. Saved by the Bell (my concession to the 90s that I thought was 80s)
8. Facts of Life (I had a tough time choosing between this and its predecessor Different Strokes, but in the end I had to stick with my girls.)
7. Dukes of Hazard (I looked and it appears Waylon did this song for the show, so the good ole boys don't break my rule)
6. Silver Spoons (Nothing to do with the song, but I'm pretty sure Ricky's biological mom (not Kate) was eventually Steve Sanders mom on 90210, for those keeping up with my recent binge of my favorite zip code trivia.)
5. Welcome Back, Kotter (This was so 70's there should be a law against it.)
4. Laverne & Shirley (If you do not know this song, you should be shot.)
3. Mary Tyler Moore Show (Who can turn the world on with a smile? Come on. That's pure gold.)
2. Charles in Charge (This is the 80's theme song answer to Welcome Back, Kotter. I want Charles in charge of me, damnit!)
1. WKRP in Cincinnati (Not convinced? It's a SONG about a RADIO STATION! And at the end it gives the radio station's call sign. Get's like its own commercial. So many levels. I can't even begin to unravel it's simple complexity.)

Baby, if you ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me.
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati -
Cincinnati WKRP.
Got kind of tired of packing and unpacking.
Town to town, up and down the dial.
Baby, you and me were never meant to be.
Just maybe think of me once and awhile.
I'm at W K R P in Cincinnati.

Editor's Note: I was going to embed all the videos, but that crashed my blog. Then I was going to link to the videos, but that crashed my blog. So you'll have to YouTube them yourselves, but it's worth it. And maybe I will post some of them to facebook, because rainy days are the best for YouTube.

Bonus Points if you know the show whose theme song is the title of this blog post.


  1. I think it was for my 12th birthday that my mom made for me, at my request, a record-shaped cake with "Theme from Greatest American Hero" on the label in blue icing. Why I am admitting this in a public forum, I don't know.

  2. The Greatest American Hero was so close to making my list. Definitely a kick ass tune! As far as that being the label on your cake...well, we knew you were a sad, sad girl.

  3. Steve G. Wortz the G is for Gotta love a horn section.October 13, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I disagree with your rejection of the Sanford and Son theme song. It had a horn section! An honest to God horn section.

  4. There is no account for taste, Steve.