Even if you can't stand music, you probably know and love the theme to your favorite TV show. Maybe it's something historical or maybe it's something new. Maybe it goes all jazzy or maybe it gets a bit atonal and the end. In today's post, Scott's picked five strong contenders for the best televison themes, in no particular order. Will they match your list? Let's find out together!
Mike Post & Pete Carpenter - Theme From "The Rockford Files"
Back in the 70s, electronic music wasn't as popular as today. Adding a MiniMoog to a traditional harmonica, orchestra and guitar gave this detective show a sound that was absolutely sci-fi. Even kids who didn't want to watch James Garner solving grown-up crimes still watched the opening credits just to hear that neat computer sound. Could this TV show theme be the missing link between classic rock and new wave synth pop? If so, The Theme From "The Rockford Files" might just be the most important theme… of all time.
Well, that idea might be a little hard to prove, but never fear, he's offered four more contenders inside. Don't forget to add your personal choice or choices in the comments after! C'mon, you know you're already humming one in your head right now. See you after the jump…
Morton Stevens - Theme From Hawaii Five-O
From those big boomin' drums right into rockin' surf brass (or twangy guitar if you prefer The Ventures) this TV theme is still getting regular attention from college pep bands, almost forty years after it first premiered. It's maybe the most catchy thing ever created by man, and not even learning what the lyrics are can ruin this powerhouse slam to the ears. Sorry, 1966 Batman. On wax you'll always be second to Jack Lord.
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks Theme
Haunting even after twenty years, Badalamenti captured both the eerie beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the calm facade of the TV town of Twin Peaks. Of course, there are much stranger things lying underneath that beauty, and once you've seen the whole series, this theme isn't quite the same. Sort of like Laura Palmer herself.
The Banana Splits Theme
It's really a logical progression when you think about it. The Beatles proved there was a market, and The Monkees proved actors could be hard to control. Finally the powers that be just threw some people in animal suits and ran out to cash the checks. Kids knew nobody involved with this mess cared, so The Banana Splits was the TV show kids only watched while waiting for something better. But that theme, it grabbed you like a spoonful of Count Chocula. Who cared if it promised more than the writers could deliver? It's also worth noting that Bob Marley may have borrowed it for one of his own songs… or maybe it's just a lucky coincidence. Who can say for sure?
Also of note is that it's hard to tell who actually wrote this thing. Even the usually meticulous Wikipedia names Mark Barkan and Ritchie Adams in one place while crediting Nelson Brock Winkless, Jr. in another. And this video you're watching up there isn't the original U.S. intro, which I couldn't even find online. Has there ever been another TV theme song with a trail this complex and confusing?
Mark Snow - The X-Files
At any other time in history, The X-Files might have been written off as crazy and died after just one season. But showing up right when it did, just after Oliver Stone's JFK and nestled between the first Boomer president and the scary end of the 20th Century… well, let's just call it all the golden age of hating "the man." Mark Snow's icy cold theme was the perfect call to arms for all those willing to believe they could piece together the truth that a sinister force was trying to hide. Without Chris Carter, would we even have a LOST? And without this theme, would The X-Files have felt as scary?
Okay, let's call those five a good start. Now we're passing it back to you. Maybe you love the elegance of "Happy Days" or enjoy the theme from "Maude". We're not going to judge you. After all, there's been a bunch of great TV themes over the years. Share your choices in the comments below and let us know what Scott missed. Then feel free to join us in our Turntable FM room so Music Monday can last all day!