Tag Archives: Gilligan’s Island

Music: John Williams

During his six decades as a conductor, John Williams has earned 45 Academy Award nominations and received 21 Grammys. Uploaded by fidgit.com.

Can a composer’s entire reputation be validated on the basis of just two notes? Beethoven needed four notes to embed his iconic Fifth Symphony into our consciousness. Well, John Williams did the master two better — the first two notes of the motif for the shark in Jaws are perhaps the most memorable in movie history.

Known best for his film scores, Williams broke in via the small screen. He composed music scores (though not the theme songs) for a number of series, including Lost in Space and Gilligan’s Island. Hollywood took notice, and soon he was writing music for film. He received his first Academy Award nomination in 1967 for Valley of the Dolls, and won the first time two years later for Fiddler on the Roof.

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His music caught the attention of an upcoming young director named Steven Spielberg (Great American Things, July 22, 2009). Spielberg hired Williams to score his first movie, Sugarland Express, but it was his second movie — Jaws — that earned the maestro his second Oscar, and brought him from the background into the spotlight film composers seldom see.

Since then, Williams has scored such hits as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (creating its distinctive five-note theme), the original Star Wars trilogy, The Poseidon Adventure, Superman, three Indiana Jones movies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Born on the Fourth of July, Home Alone, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha, Schindler’s List, and the first three Harry Potter films. In all, Williams has received an astonishing 45 Oscar nominations, and won five statues.

When not scoring movies, Williams found time to conduct the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993. He has earned 21 Grammys, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004…

TV Shows: Greatest Theme Songs

The Beverly Hillbillies theme didn't quite make my Top 10, but it's a great example of a theme that sets up a show's premise. Uploaded by wikimedia.org.

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.