There are certain factors that make a hit TV series. If you think back to history’s wildly successful sitcoms, game shows today’s popular series, the one common denominator found throughout is a catchy theme song. Let’s take a look at television’s best series and their iconic theme songs:
Before X Factor, the talent competition that had everyone glued to their television screens was American Idol. Starting back in the summer of 2002, the show had a successful 15 seasons, more than any reality competition could ask for. While only die-hard fans will remember the songs listed on Homorazzi that were covered one too many times, everyone probably remembers that intense and exciting instrumental introduction that followed Ryan Seacrest’s dramatic introduction of the show.
Before The Dark Knight and the other live-action Batman films, there was the 1966 cartoon with possibly the catchiest intro in TV history. It’s almost hypnotic, with the repetitive “Batman” Lyrics and the use of only three chords until the coda, which sound like a cross between surf music and a film score for a spy movie. Composed by Neal Hefti, he also created the theme for The Odd Couple, another memorable TV theme song.
The action drama series surrounding the lives of LA County lifeguards went through a few changes in theme songs, with the first one being “Save Me” by Peter Cetera. After the cancellation of the first season, the show was reworked and brought back to life with “I’m Always Here,” sung by Jimi Jamison of Survivor. The show grew to have one of the biggest international audiences.
Big Brother UK
Fictional series aren’t the only shows on TV that have great themes. Although Big Brother is equally loved and hated, the game show introduced one of the best themes of all time, a song produced by trance heavyweights Paul Oakenfold and Andy Gray and became one of the top British Singles in the year 2000.
All throughout the 1980’s, millions of people were singing about a place where everybody knows your name. The Cheers theme tune was written (alongside Judy Hart Angelo) and performed by Gary Portnoy, and after the show premiered, he recorded an extended version of the song that reached the Top 100 US Billboard chart as well as charts in the UK. Although the lyrics of the full-length song are not as lighthearted as the melody makes it out to be.
This is easily one of the most recognizable tunes for those that grew up in the 1990s. The Rembrandts originally recorded “I’ll Be There For You” as just a one-minute segment for Friends, but the show grew overwhelmingly popular that they were sent back to the studio to record a three-minute song, which was eventually accompanied by a music video featuring the show’s characters.
Strike it Lucky
According to Foxy, an entertainment portal that currently hosts games themed after beloved UK television shows, Strike it Lucky had to change back to Strike it Rich (like the American version) in 1996 when it had to switch networks. Thames Production company refused to give the rights to their rivals LWT, so in addition to the title change, the theme song also had to be altered. Although the theme of both shows had that game-show catchiness to get the audience pumped, the theme for Strike it Lucky is definitely a ’90s classic.
While no words other than “The Simpsons” are uttered in the theme, the melody is unforgettable. Written by the legendary Danny Elfman, whose background consists of composing the film scores and the voices for Tim Burton movies and many others, this theme song is the one composition that he will be always remembered for. The Simpsons is one of the longest running animated sitcoms of all time, piloting back in 1989.