Top 10 TV Theme Songs

A great TV theme song can sometimes outlast the actual show in terms of legendary status.  In some cases, the theme song is the best part of the show.  When you’re watching an episode, maybe you’re disappointed the theme is over and everything else from there is just a let down.  Well I’m here to bring you my personal top 10 TV themes.  I’ve got a mix of no brainers and odd ones.  I try not to let the actual opening credit sequence influence me and just focus on the music itself.  Now, let me be very clear: I am no music expert.  I can barely tell a guitar from a bass.  I have no idea what’s going on in terms of actual notes.  These are just the themes that for whatever reason hit me hard.  Here we go…

Honorable Mentions: Ducktales, Cheers, Ren and Stimpy, and CHIPS.

10) The Simpsons Theme

-To be honest, I really had to shoe horn this one in.  I think it’s a really good song, but it’s more so the show itself that got it on the list.  But it ultimately makes the cut for the first five seconds of, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimpppppppppsons.”

9) The Saved by the Bell Theme

-When I hear that bell ring, I get all jittery.  The lyrics in general are amazing, but it’s really the chorus that drives it home.  “It’s allllright, because I’m Saved by the Bell.”  It’s also got that rocking guitar going.  I think of this song as an amalgam of post eighties/early nineties.  I think the Saved by the Bell theme is a symbol, bridging the music between the two decades.  But the song really goes crazy at the end where they repeat “It’s alright, because I’m saved by the…” three times before finally ending strong with “Bell.”  Amazing.

8 – The early 90’s X-Men Theme

-What can I say?  It’s just really bad ass, epic, and intense.  This one is a lot better though when watching it with the opening theme sequence, especially towards the end when you see Professor X and Magneto lead their respective teams and run at one another.

7) The 60’s Batman Theme

-The lyrics consist of one word if you don’t count the “da-da-da-da-da” at the end, but it’s all you need.  Even if you aren’t watching the opening sequence, you can imagine the “Bams” and “Pows” as you hear the music. 

6) The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme

-First of all, more than any other TV theme in existence, it gives you the back story and character traits succinctly and flawlessly.  Everyone knows that “Leonardo leads,” “Donatello does machines,” “Raphael is cool but crude,” and “Michelangelo is a party dude,” because the theme song was so damn good.  They remixed it for the last three seasons, and it’s actually a solid rendition, but a little darker.

5) The NCAA March Madness Basketball Theme

-I have a love/hate relationship with this theme song.  Sometimes I hear it and get pumped up because I know it means 55 different basketball games are about to be played at the same time.  But other times it makes me want to rip up my terrible brackets.  Nevertheless, it truly is an amazing piece of music.  I can actually hear brackets being filled out as I hear it.

4) The Monday Night Football Theme

-It may be the most iconic theme on the list.  When I hear those horns blast, I can’t tell you the adrenaline rush I get.  And it just keeps building and building the intensity level as the theme goes on.  But at the end, they circle back to how it begins.  For some, the song may represent failed dreams and heartbreak, but one thing’s for sure; when you hear it, it’s time for football.

3) The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme

-This may be the best thing Will Smith has ever and will ever do.  I fricking love this song.  It’s sleek, funny, cool, and even suspenseful at times.  When he’s singing “When a couple of guys, who were up to no good,” there’s almost this chilling beat to it.  Now there’s both a long and short version.  I think the shorter is superior.  This one is enhanced a lot by watching the credit sequence, especially when he does that crazy head spin.

2) The People’s Court Theme

-I’m convinced this show was popular solely because of the theme.  Look, Judge Wapner was awesome, but the theme…holy shit.  This defines the word ‘intensity.’  I can’t put into words how awesome this song is.  It’s called ‘the big one’ which you can download on iTunes.  It’s over four minutes long, but honestly, it’s not long enough.  The thing turns into a horror song at one point.  But really, I consider this song all genres of music rolled into one super song.  I can dance to it, run to it, listen to it while I work, and just get generally inspired by it.  In fact, this theme inspired me to do the list.  So if this isn’t number one, what on earth could be…

1) The Seinfeld Theme

-I think it’s the only choice.  More than any other theme, you can instantly recall episodes, dialogue, character moments, just anything having to do with the show within the first two seconds of the song.  Seinfeld just floods your brain when you hear that bass kick in.  And let’s just think about the music in general.  Would Seinfeld have been the phenomenon that it is if this iconic music didn’t exist?  Probably…but it’s a legit question.  I think it’s only fitting that we end on the best theme that represents the best TV show ever.

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2 comments

  1. oldnil

    a few thoughts
    10) simpsons theme deserves more credit – it’s played by symphonies at high brow events. the first three notes of the theme (really the first two) are what makes it so recognizable. it’s the most dissonant of intervals and is used heavily in jazz ; a lot of times performers who use those first two notes for dissonance wind up working the rest of the simpsons theme into their solos.

    9)not enough attention was paid to the epic guitar solo, but good catch on the repeated lyrics at the end

    8)i dont remember this one, but i’m pretty sure the Step by Step theme song was more epic

    7) the guy who did the batman theme died while i was in san diego. he did a lot of arranging for famous jazz composers, yet this is what he’s probably remembered most for (that or the Odd Coupls theme)

    6)not enough credit is given to the fact that this “song” repeats the following phrase 3x with undeniable success: Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.

    5)dont even know this song

    4)kind of epic, but gets annoying by the end of the season

    3)hard to argue

    2)dont know it

    1) obvi. it wasn’t even recorded with a bass, but a keyboard “slap bass” virtual instrument. remember in the really old seasons when they would have vocals in the music, too? “HeeeeEEEEEEEEY”

  2. Pingback: Reading Digest: Bottom of the List Edition « Dead Homer Society

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