Your favorite TV themes: Day 6

Previous installments: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5


I asked you to suggest your favorite TV themes. You responded with dozens and dozens of shows! Here’s the sixth batch, in the order they were mentioned. Come back tomorrow for more!

Cheers (“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”) by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo. This was was the third attempt by Portnoy and Angelo to write a theme song for Cheers. Their first attempt was to write new lyrics to a song they’d already written for a failed musical. The producers said no, so Portnoy and Angelo wrote a second tune, which was also rejected. They wrote a song for the pilot, and then finally came up with the now famous theme after the show was picked up by the network. Thanks to Paul Sanwald and Mike West for this suggestion. Patrick McCurry also mentioned Cheers, although he highlighted its bumper music, the music that plays into and out of commercials or scene changes.

The Monkees by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Boyce and Hart wrote and produced most of the music for the first season of The Monkees, including the theme and the hit single “Last Train To Clarksville.” Their wonderfully named band, Candy Store Prophets, recorded most of the backing tracks, and Boyce and Hart sang the original version of the theme, although their voices were replaced once the show was cast. The duo was fired from the show after producers said they were using network studio time to work on their own projects. They continued to have a successful career as performers and writers. Their best-known post-Monkees song was “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” Thanks to Mike West and Annine Everson for this one.

The Electric Company by Joe Raposo (I think). I loved this show, and the music was a big part of the reason why. Joe Raposo, who appeared earlier in this series for his work on Three’s Company, was the music director of this show for the first three years, and my best guess is that he wrote the theme song. He also wrote the theme to Sesame Street, so I think it’s safe to say that Joe had a major impact on American children in the 70s. There were several versions of this theme over the original run of the show. A side note: Tom Lehrer also wrote 10 songs for the series. Mike West suggested this song.

The Cosby Show (“Kiss Me”) by Stu Gardner and Bill Cosby. Was anything bigger in the latter half of the 80s than this show? From the sweaters to the facial expressions to the music, everything about The Cosby Show permeated American culture. This song is part of one of the more famous opening credits sequences in TV history. Interestingly, there were seven versions of this song used in the eight seasons of the series. Bobby McFerrin performed the version in season four. Like every song today, this one was suggested by Mike West. Here’s a version with German titles:

The Simpsons by Danny Elfman. Full confession: I’ve seen maybe two full episodes of The Simpsons. I know, I know. But I’ve certainly heard this song and seen the classic opening sequence. I never knew till researching this series that Danny Elfman wrote the theme. Danny had a bigger influence on my life because he wrote the theme to the Michael Keaton Batman. He was also in the band Oingo Boingo, and scored all but two of Tim Burton’s films. Elfman has called the theme to The Simpsons the most popular song he ever wrote. And yes, this is another Mike West recommendation.

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