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Favorite TV Theme Show Songs

I'm taking a quick break from the November 7th election blogging for a little light hearted fun. These are my thirteen favorite TV show theme songs from the 70s and 80s when I was a kid. Any thoughts? I expect some Wizbang readers will have favorites that I didn't list.

13. The Muppet Show

12. Welcome Back Kotter

11. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

10. Magnum PI

   9. The Partridge Family

   8. One Day at a Time

  7. Dallas

  6. Miami Vice

  5. The Monkees

  4. The Dukes of Hazzard

  3. Rockford Files

  2. Mission Impossible

  1. Hawaii Five-O

Update: Several people have chastised me for not including Gilligan's Island and maybe I should have. What I especially like about the Gilligan's Island theme is that you can sing Amazing Grace to it as well. Try it. It's pretty funny.


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Comments (58)

Not the theme from Barney M... (Below threshold)

Not the theme from Barney Miller (great little jazz tune) or the theme from Hill Street Blues? Those two (plus the 60s "The Prisoner") are my favorites of all time.

I agree witht the top 7 but... (Below threshold)

I agree witht the top 7 but in a different order.

I would have to put "Gilligan's Island" number 3 behind hawaii 5O (2) and Dallas (1).

Peter GunnGreatest A... (Below threshold)

Peter Gunn
Greatest American Hero
Jimmy Neutron

Victor,I almost pu... (Below threshold)


I almost put Barney Miller on the list. It's probably 14 or 15.


Maybe need a top ten cartoo... (Below threshold)

Maybe need a top ten cartoon theme show songs to...

CHEERS.... (Below threshold)


What...no 'Flintstones'?</p... (Below threshold)

What...no 'Flintstones'?

What no Cheers?... (Below threshold)

What no Cheers?

What about the theme from S... (Below threshold)

What about the theme from SANFORD AND SON!!!! It's the funkiest of them all!!!!

Don't forget that damn smurf theme that gets stuck in your head and never goes away! (la-la la-lalala, la, la-lalala)

Wasn't Gilligan actual from... (Below threshold)

Wasn't Gilligan actual from the 60's? I only remember watching Gilligan reruns when I was a kid in the 70's. But heck- if we're including the 60's, how about the theme from Batman?

Also, the theme from Taxi is a nice little jazzy keyboard ditty. And what about "Movin' On Up" from The Jefferson's, Archie and Edith singing "Those Were the Days" from All in the Family, and "Good Times" and the theme from Sanford and Son.

And don't forget the Disco-ey Charlie's Angel's theme, or "The Love Boat."

There's a version of Gillig... (Below threshold)

There's a version of Gilligan's Island sung to the tune of Stairway to Heaven somewhere out there.

If you are going to dip bac... (Below threshold)

If you are going to dip back into the 60's, don't forget:

Route 66
Peter Gunn
Mr. Lucky

Yeah, I would have had to p... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I would have had to put Barney Miller on there somewhere...

and now that someone mentions Greatest American Hero that might have made the cut...

But I hate Sanford and Son... Every time I hear that song it is in my head all day... like "It's a small world." --- It's so embarrassing to be in a customer site going bap bap bah da... ;-)

yikes Marty let's me know m... (Below threshold)

yikes Marty let's me know my top 10 has about 5 more entries. lol

Simon and SimonFli... (Below threshold)

Simon and Simon


Man from Uncle

Have Gun Will Travel<... (Below threshold)

Have Gun Will Travel


Add the Beverly Hillbillies... (Below threshold)

Add the Beverly Hillbillies, not great music but a challenge to get all the words right. I won't tell you how long it took me to figure out the last line of 'Those Were The Days'.

CombatRat Patrol... (Below threshold)

Rat Patrol

TaxiWKRP<... (Below threshold)



Somebody make me stop! ;-)

The Jetsons.... (Below threshold)

The Jetsons.

Brady BunchGreen Acr... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Brady Bunch
Green Acres
Little House on the Prairie

Cartoon: Underdog - "Speed of lightning roar of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder"

I second that on the Sanfo... (Below threshold)

I second that on the Sanford and Son theme.

Us libs are always for the poor working class people right?

Taxi, The Incredible Hulk, ... (Below threshold)
Mister Tan:

Taxi, The Incredible Hulk, and ... Star Blazers!

I miss the Muppet Show. I ... (Below threshold)

I miss the Muppet Show. I wish someone would run reruns.....

Some suggestions I have are... (Below threshold)

Some suggestions I have are:

Jonny Quest

The best version of Gilligan's Island Theme


George of the Jungle

I don't know what I find mo... (Below threshold)

I don't know what I find more disturbing: that you can sing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of the "Gilligan Theme," or that someone actually tried.

Peter Gunn was very cool. My first wife and her best friend would always sing the theme from Carol Burnett when saying goodbye . . . that was annoying.

Another good question would be "TV theme songs that made the charts." Hawaii 5-0 was a big hit, and the Beverly Hillbillies ran up the country charts for a while. I'm sure there were others. Did Route 66 make it? I can't remember.

Oops, forgot to add:<... (Below threshold)

Oops, forgot to add:

Perry Mason

Both cool themes.

Plus, on the "chart" angle, I think "Happy Days" got some radio play at the time, which goes to show the state of pop music back then.

Bonanza, Gunsmoke...... (Below threshold)

Bonanza, Gunsmoke...

for cartoons, Bugs bunny sh... (Below threshold)

for cartoons, Bugs bunny show with bugs and daffy with hat and cane dancing and singing on stage.

now with christmas coming up...favorite christmas show? song?

oh oh, Lee and I agree.... ... (Below threshold)

oh oh, Lee and I agree.... Redd Foxx WAS funny - but not because he was black....

....and even his 'racial' and 'religious' jokes were funny - NOT offensive.

<a href="http://www.tuxjunc... (Below threshold)

Peter Gunn and
Perry Mason my two favorites.

No new ones to add, but yes... (Below threshold)

No new ones to add, but yes Kim, the Rockford files theme - always and forever my favorite.

we're at 30-some odd commen... (Below threshold)

we're at 30-some odd comments and no one mentions "The Andy Griffith Show?"

I'm disappointed.

The Friends theme made the ... (Below threshold)

The Friends theme made the charts.

My vote: The Simpsons!... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

My vote: The Simpsons!

The longest running (and funniest) show in TV history. :-)


Most annoying TV show theme... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Most annoying TV show theme (tie): The utterly sappy "The Facts of Life" and dippy liberalism of "Diff'rent Strokes"

Sanford and Son can't be le... (Below threshold)

Sanford and Son can't be left out.

What about Jeopardy?

These are based more on par... (Below threshold)

These are based more on parking in front of the tv when I heard them than the quality of the theme song:

"The Avengers" (but it didn't quite make it to the 70's)

"Get Smart" (ended in 1970)

I'd put "Andy Griffith" in as a good quality theme. Oh and maybe Hogan's Heroes.

Nice to see you picked the "Rockford Files" and "Magnum PI".

Cheers and All in the Famil... (Below threshold)

Cheers and All in the Family deserve their spots on your list.

I know it's from Japan but ... (Below threshold)

I know it's from Japan but the theme from "Cowboy Bebop" is great--flat out retro power jazz.

SWATBarney Miller </... (Below threshold)

Barney Miller

OMG the A-Team isn't here! ... (Below threshold)

OMG the A-Team isn't here! cry....

OMG neither is 'Knight Rider'.

Anyone seen Hoff's video 'Come jump in my car'? Truly terrifying.

Book 'em, Danno! Great #1 ... (Below threshold)

Book 'em, Danno! Great #1 choice. Only missing item that jumps out at me is Cheers (still the funniest sit-com on TV, IMHO).


Most of my favorites have a... (Below threshold)

Most of my favorites have already been mentioned, with the exception of:


TaxiAll in the Famil... (Below threshold)

All in the Family - End Theme
The Wild, Wild West
Hill Street Blues
St. Elsewhere
The Incredible Hulk - End Theme

and . . . dare I say it?

Laverne & Shirley

Hawaii Five-O is defintely ... (Below threshold)

Hawaii Five-O is defintely the best one ever.

Some of mine:

Happy days - the short TV version. Can't you still see the Fonz jumping into that chair?

The Big Valley - the one from the last season with the orchestra build up to the opening

Star Trek - no one has mentioned that? Surprising.

Emergency - I love the build up on it. I loved Dr. Brackett. No one could say "start an IV with lactaid ringers" like he could.

Gilligan's Island - Side story: when my daughter was little she could be anywhere in the house and when she heard that song she came running. We had the pleasure of meeting Bob Denver several years ago and I showed him a picture I had taken of her watching the show. He got a big kick out of that. He was a super nice guy and a lot like the character he played.

Wonder Woman - Ok, so maybe it wasn't the theme song that attracted me to that show.

Monday Night football (long before the Hank Williams version which I never warmed to).

Shazam! - used to watch that every Saturday morning. Didn't realize til years later that they only made about 20 episodes and kept rotating them.

The Jeffersons

Good times

The looney tunes theme - (And oh what heights we'll hit, on with the show, this is it).

The Brady Bunch

The Incredible Hulk - LOVE this show. Did Jack Colvin (Mr. McGhee ever do anything else)

Knightrider - isn't the guy who does the voiceover on the theme the same guy on the Geicho Commercials (Mr. Announcer guy)?

Newhart (the one about the Inn) - I always thought it was a neat little theme.

Regarding the Andy griffith Show: while I think this is the best show EVER, the theme song never really stood out as that great to me.


BTW, does anyone know why they haven't realeased any moer seasons of Happy Days on dvd? The first season is ok but the show really didn't take off until season 2 and 3.

Kim, thanks for this post. ... (Below threshold)

Kim, thanks for this post. It's nice to be able to get away from all the election stuff and have some fun.

One more:From the ... (Below threshold)

One more:

From the Muppet show:

Manamana (doo doo da do do).


Great idea for crazy times:... (Below threshold)

Great idea for crazy times: mental recess. My all-time favorite TV theme music: Mr. Lucky. My top ten list is here.

Zorro. Absolutely Zorro. </... (Below threshold)

Zorro. Absolutely Zorro.

I find I simply cannot get ... (Below threshold)

I find I simply cannot get thru a single verse of Gilligan's Island sung to the tune of Amazing Grace without either giggling uncontrollably, or breaking back into the original lyrics.

And my mind just explodes trying to do the reverse and sing the lyrics for Gilligan's Island to the tune of Amazing Grace.

And my mind just explodes t... (Below threshold)

And my mind just explodes trying to do the reverse and sing the lyrics for Gilligan's Island to the tune of Amazing Grace.


You've all forgotten the 2 ... (Below threshold)
Bill George:

You've all forgotten the 2 of my favorites...

Mannix -
And the Mod Squad.

ABC Movie of the Week The... (Below threshold)

ABC Movie of the Week Theme (Burt Bacharach's "Nikki")

NBC Mystery Movie Theme (Henry Mancini)


Speaking of Gilligan's Isla... (Below threshold)

Speaking of Gilligan's Island, it also had SO many cool songs in different episodes that I never forgot. I remember a Hamlet episode where they sang "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" and another one where Gilligan sang "G-I-Double L- I - G-A-N spells Gilligan...... that's me!"

And of course, the Brady Bunch had songs in episodes that we all still sing - even that guy who did "The Creation of Dance" had to include the "We gotta keepon, keepon, keepon, keepon dancin' all thru the night!"

How about the theme music f... (Below threshold)

How about the theme music from the original Battlestar Galactica? That was a great bit of marshal music.

my 2 cents. the best, absol... (Below threshold)

my 2 cents. the best, absolutely baddest ass theme song....

Rythym Heritage: Theme from S.W.A.T.

Plus, gotta give props to t... (Below threshold)

Plus, gotta give props to the theme show master writer: Mike Post!
The Rockford Files
The Black Sheep Squadron
The White Shadow
Magnum P.I.
Hill Street Blues
The Greatest American Hero
The A-Team
Hardcastle and McCormick
L.A. Law
Quantum Leap...to name a few






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