I’m not sure if theme songs are as important to TV shows today as they used to be. In the early days of TV, they were used to lyrically set up the premise for the entire series. A good example of this was the theme to The Flintstones (“Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones. They’re a modern Stone Age family…”) Then there was a trend toward instrumental themes, the majority of which seemed to be created by Mike Post.
Those that I think are worthy, but not quite in the top ten are: All in the Family, The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Simpsons, Hill Street Blues, The Jeffersons, Miami Vice, Rawhide, Peter Gunn, The Waltons, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.
Anyway, you may disagree with these selections – of course you will – but here are my top ten television theme songs:
10. The Brady Bunch “Here’s a story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls…”
9. The Garry Shandling Show The show broke the fourth wall, and the theme song was the first (only?) to announce itself as a theme song.
8. Gilligan’s Island “…five passengers set sail that day for a three-hour tour…”
7. Mission Impossible Created by Argentine musician Lalo Schifrin, it signaled danger from the first note.
6. Hawaii Five-O Jack Lord said the words: “Book ’em, Dano.”
5. Mister Ed “A horse is a horse, of course, of course…”
4. The Patty Duke Show Probably the least well known on this list, but great lyrics prove it belongs.
3. Cheers “You want to go where everybody knows your name.”
2. The Andy Griffith Show Whistling that takes us back to the good old days.
1. Twin Peaks From the opening notes of Angelo Badalamenti’s score, you know this isn’t going to be just another TV show.
I thought you’d definitely have The Simpsons in the top 10. And I like the Seinfeld theme song, but maybe just because I’ve heard it so many times.
Where would Hill Street Blues fall on your rankings and Dallas. Those two always stuck with me.
Joey, thanks for your comment. As you saw, Hill Street Blues made my honorable mention list…I’m not sure it shouldn’t have been in the top 10. I liked Dallas too, but I don’t consider it to be quite on the same level with these others…