Thursday, August 9, 2012

someone else's list of top tv theme songs (part i)

I was at work and, for no reason I asked a coworker (let's call him "Peter") what he thought was the best TV show theme song ever. He thought for a second and came up with Hawaii Five-O. A good choice. I picked -- though I caveated it that within a day, or even an hour, I might pick something else -- The Munsters.

Curious to see what others might say, Peter looked it up on Google, and found this list, purportedly of the top 50 theme songs of all time. I don't agree with all of the picks. But what I'm going to do is go through them and provide my own comments. To make it more manageable (OK, you got me, I'm just trying to draw it out), I will comment on 10 themes per post. Then, after I finish off in five posts, I'll comment on a few themes that I think should have been on the list but weren't.

So, here we are, with their picks 50 through 41:

50: Beverly Hills 90210
They tried to rock on this theme, which I suppose was appropriate. But they ended up with some overproduced boring 90s rock. The fact that it's an instrumental works against it as well -- at leat in my ears (my comment regarding The Munsters nothwithstanding). I wouldn't have included this.

49: Rawhide
A great choice. Great old country music. And the Blues Brothers' version in their movie was a great cover version.

48: The Odd Couple
You know what is even more likely to annoy me than instrumental themes? Spoken narration themes. This starts with narration, then gives way to instrumental. It's designed to have me hate it. But I have to admit it's catchy. Maybe.

47: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Lousy show. Great theme. I love that line "Yo, Homes, smell you later." This is a great example of the exposition theme song -- the kind that explains the backstory, so that someone coming off a desert island who has never heard of the show can turn it on and know the premise. Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch are other examples of shows with exposition themes. Fresh Prince came with one that was so long and detailed that they had to cut it down after the first few episodes.

46: The A-Team
Like The Odd Couple, this starts with spoken narration and ends with instrumental theme music. Unlike The Odd Couple, the theme music isn't catchy. I suppose it's fitting for the tone of the show. But I just don't like it.

45: Dallas
The first thing I should note is that I never watched Dallas. That tends to cut against it, since sometimes repeated exposure to a theme song can make one like it more than it deserves. That kind of works along with some theories I have about musical taste that I should talk about in a future post. At any rate, unfamiliar with the Dallas theme, I had to look it up on Youtibe specifically for this post. It's actually not bad. Kind of catchy for an instrumental theme.

44: Barney Miller
I love that bass run. Wonderful. The rest of the song is a bit of letdown. Not bad, though. I can see including this.

43: Twin Peaks
Another show that I never watched, and whose theme I had to look up on Youtube. Is the video below the actual theme? It sucks. I mean, bioring as all getout. What were they thinking?

42: Bonanza
A great bouncy theme that suffers only for being an instrumental. And I should note that there were lyrics that were, for some reason left off when they ran this with the show.

41: All in the Family
This is a much better theme song that the actual performance of it for the show. Of course, the O'Connor-Stapleton rendition fit the show much better than a more polished renderring would have. And it became better in later seasons when the diction was better and you could make out that line "Gee our old LaSalle ran great!" There are a bunch of other verses to this song that didn't make it to the show.

And here, as a bonus, is a clip of Carol O'Connor singing the closing theme:

1 comment:

  1. I read somewhere that the producers of All in the Family wanted professional singers to sing the theme but couldn't afford it. I agree that it suits the show much better this way.