The Berkshires’ Hit Music
Alright, Berkshire County, I know I'm not the only one who grew up watching the idiot box. And I know I'm not the only TV watcher who had a favorite TV show theme song to sing(or hum) along with.
There were lots of classics to choose from and whether they had words that we could sing along with or were simply cool instrumentals, we loved them. Heck, some were so popular they became Top 40 hits!
My question to you folks is this: Which TV theme do you consider the greatest of all time? I know. Tough question. The reason I ask is that Rolling Stone just put together a list of the "100 Greatest TV Theme Songs of All Time" and some of the results may surprise you(I know they surprised me).
It would take forever and a day to cover the entire list of 100, so we'll just focus on the Top 10 for the sake of keeping it short. I will say that 5 or 6 of my personal favorites made it to the Top 20 which made me happy(and anyone else around a certain age group will probably be happy too).
Here are a couple of my all-time favorites:
"All In The Family" at #20. I don't know if it was because neither Archie nor Edith Bunker could carry a tune by themselves let alone together, but this was always a fave.
"The Rockford Files" at #16. What are the odds that two of my favorite TV themes were instrumentals and that they would be back-to-back on this list? That's right. At #15:
"Mission: Impossible". Both are among my favorite instrumentals of all time and both were hits. Mike Post's(and co-composer Pete Carpenter's) "The Rockford Files" spent two weeks in the Top 10 in August 1975. And Lalo Schifrin's "Mission: Impossible" just missed the Top 40 hitting #41 but it did win a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Theme in 1968. Alright, one more before we hit the Top 10:
I was a fan of "Cheers" the minute it hit the airwaves in 1982 as part of NBC's Thursday Night Lineup which also included "Hill Street Blues". One of my favorite themes to sing along with at the top of my lungs.
So here it is. According to "Rolling Stone" the Top 10 Greatest TV Show Themes of All-Time. Working from the bottom up, here's #10:
"Too Many Cooks". I'm not very familiar with the show but I do know that it aired on Adult Swim around(I think?) 2014. On to #9:
"The O.C." O.C. refers to Orange County(California) and the show was very popular airing for four years(2003-2007). The theme was composed and performed by the band Phantom Planet who for a while featured actor Jason Schwartzman(Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel, etc.) on drums.
"Friends" comes in at #8. The song "I'll Be There For You" by the Rembrandts reached #17 on the charts in 1995, while in Canada it topped the charts for 5 weeks and became the most successful single of that year.
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" is considered to have the 7th Greatest TV Show Theme of All Time. The theme is actually titled, "Yo Home to Bel-Air" and is written and performed by Will Smith and Jeffrey Townes under their stage names DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Here's the next classic at #6:
"The Twilight Zone" theme has achieved legendary status to the point where even people nowadays who have never seen an actual episode of the TV show are familiar with the music, especially when something spooky or strange is going on. Bernard Herrmann(most famous for composing numerous film scores for Alfred Hitchcock) composed the original theme, however, it is Marius Constant's theme(used from the second season onward) that people are most familiar with.
We're at the halfway point with "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" at #5. The song is called "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and was actually composed and sung by the show's creator and host Fred Rogers. The show was popular for years for the most part because Rogers didn't pander to little kids but instead treated them like intelligent people.
"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" at #4. This show actually had different theme songs for every season it aired, all sung by the show's creator and star, Rachel Bloom, except for the fourth and final season, when it was sung by the entire cast. Though it was never hugely popular, the critics loved it and it did win several awards. Coming in at #3:
"Sanford & Son". Without a doubt one of the catchiest instrumentals of all time, this theme actually has a name. "The Streetbeater" was initially released on an earlier album by multi-Grammy Award-winning composer, Quincy Jones. When picked for the TV show, the piece was renamed "Sanford & Son Theme(The Streetbeater)".
Guess what, folks? Number 2 is actually a tie between these two well-loved shows:
"The Brady Bunch". Season 1's theme song was performed by the Peppermint Trolley Company, while from season 2 until the show wrapped, the Brady kids themselves performed the theme. Also tied for #2:
"Gilligan's Island". You may remember that there were two theme songs for this show. The original theme only ran for the first season. It was performed by the Wellingtons but proved controversial because certain characters were not mentioned(Don't you remember? The original theme went…" the movie star and the rest").
Starting in season two, the theme was updated by a group known as the Eligibles to include…" the Professor and Mary Anne…". Quite a coincidence that both shows tied for #2 were created by the same man, Sherwood Schwartz.
Finally, the top spot. According to "Rolling Stone", this is the #1 Greatest TV Show Theme of All Time:
"The Jeffersons". The song "Movin' On Up" was co-written by Ja'Net DuBois and Jeff Barry and was performed by DuBois backed by a gospel choir. It always seemed like TV shows that Norman Lear had a hand in had great theme songs. "Maude", "Good Times", and "One Day at a Time" all had great theme songs.
For the full list(I'm sure you want to see where your favorite TV theme ended up if it wasn't one that was already mentioned), visit "Rolling Stone's" website here.