Tuesday, December 28, 2010

1970's TV Theme Songs

Is it just me, or does anyone else remember the days when TV themes were sometimes hits on the radio? I am so dating myself, aren't I?

Molly and I sometimes meet up to write in this coffee shop that's about equidistant from our respective houses where they often play a 70’s themed satellite radio station. For me, it’s a great trip down memory lane. (Even if I often annoy Molly with outbursts like, "OMG. I haven't heard this since I was in grade six! OMG. I used to slow dance to this at boy-girl parties in grade seven!"

And one of the memories that recently sparked was old TV themes, because the station played the theme from Welcome Back Kotter. "Welcome ba-ack. Your dreams were your ticket out..."

In these days, when the opening of a TV show is often just a few chords of music and the title appearing (Lost, anyone?) it’s funny to think of a time when the opening theme and title sequence took up to a minute or more. And we sang along. And listened to them on the radio. And bought the recordings...

Off the top of my head, I can think of these TV shows from the 70’s that each had its theme song released as a top 40 single:
  • Welcome Back Kotter 
  • Chico and the Man 
  • Shaft 
  • Hawaii Five-O 
  • Greatest American Hero 
  • M*A*S*H 
 I just had to go and find the openings of some of theses shows on youtube. :)

Can anyone think of others? Are there more recent examples of this music hit based on a TV show theme? (I can think of a few that used songs that were already hits... or covers of them... but not quite the same thing.)

Are memorable TV show theme songs something you miss, or do you think they were just a waste of time before the actual TV show started?


MJFredrick said...

Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley! But I'm just as happy with no theme song these days (though I do have Hawaii 5-0 as my ringtone.)

Eileen said...

I am a big fan of great openings for TV shows. The only recent one I can think of that had a hit song was Friends and that wasn't all that recent!

I adore the opening sequence for Dexter (that first slap of the mosquito?) and the theme song for the show Terriers was awesome. I'm trying to get Andy's band to add it to their repertoire.

Sinead M said...

I love the opening to Tru Blood. It's evocative and the theme song is perfect and dark.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Oh yeah... True Blood. Love that song. It just totally gets me in the mood for what's to come.

Eileen said...

Oh, yes, on Tru Blood. I also loved the opening for Firefly. That song kinda makes me tear up. Not that that takes much.

Maureen McGowan said...

I forgot about Friends, Eileen. That was on the radio.

And I love the opening song from True Blood so much I bought it on itunes. Awesome song.

I just remembered another (which I've also bought on itunes). The theme for Saving Grace. Love it.

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