Sampling a Few Television Theme Songs

27 Apr

The other day, my stepdaughter and I were listening to the radio when a new song came on the air. In the beginning, I thought I heard a few notes that sounded familiar. Then, the entire thing kicked in, and it was definitely familiar. “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy samples the theme from The Munsters, one of the great television themes of all time.Munsters

The song provided a chance for me to explain to my stepdaughter all of the wonderful things about The Munsters. However, it also made me wonder what other television themes could be turned into cool songs. That is when I decided to make a list. Before this begins, we need to address a few things.

First, I have no idea how they combined The Munsters with Uma Thurman. That is a pop cultural mashup is there ever was one.

Second, the theme songs must be instrumental to make for better sampling by current or future artists.

Third, the songs must come from shows that I actually like. If I did not hear a theme song on a regular basis, then I see no reason for it to be used.

These days, I do not watch much episodic television. In fact, Game of Thrones is the only current show that I watch. Luckily, it has an awesome theme song that makes you think the next hour is going to be a huge event.

In the old days, there was a Texas version of Game of Thrones. Dallas was a prime time soap opera that followed the shenanigans of the Ewing clan. However, I thought the theme gone was the best part. When the camera flew over Texas Stadium, the home of the Cowboys, I had seen the highlight of the show.

Of course, soap operas have been the staple of daytime television for decades. If someone wanted to put together a slower song, then the piano dominated theme for The Young and the Restless would do nicely. During the summers, I always made sure to listen to that song before I started doing something else.

Another great piano theme belonged to The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. However, this was not the opening theme. Rather, it was the closing theme. I can still see Bixby hitchhiking on a lonely road and trying the escape the anger within. Apparently, he did not like himself when he was angry.

Anyway, that is enough for the slow songs. It is time to get back to something fast paced and rocking. Nothing epitomizes that better than the theme from Magnum, P.I. When I get a red Ferrari, I am going to ride around with that song playing all the time. Hopefully, some creative band will sample it in a song, and I will be able to change things up.

Detective shows like Magnum, P.I. are always good fodder for cool theme songs. Barnaby Jones did some geriatric rocking as Buddy Ebsen ran as fast as he could after a criminal. When that tune is turned into a real song, I expect a clip of Barnaby running after someone or hanging out with Frank Cannon.

The Rockford Files also had great theme music, and the video is ready to roll. All you need is a trailer with an answering machine and an early model Pontiac Firebird. Honestly, the original theme sound a little tinny, but some real instruments would make it awesome.

Before I leave this list, I must include something from the Science Fiction genre. It will not be Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation. Instead, we need to see a song built around the theme of Lost in Space. However, this is where we face a conundrum. Lost in Space had two theme songs. One was for the more serious version of the show’s early days, and the second came in with the campy era. I will go with the first one.

Obviously, there are a ton of other theme songs that would be great for sampling. If you guys have any ideas, then let me know.


14 Responses to “Sampling a Few Television Theme Songs”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong April 27, 2015 at 01:06 #

    I wasn’t a huge TV watcher as a kid or a young adult — too busy with work and kids and everything. But every show I DID watch, I remember the song better than I remember anything that ever happened on the show itself. Those theme songs got solidly stuck in my brain.

    • Rick April 27, 2015 at 02:18 #

      A good theme song is always the highlight of a show.

  2. thehistorytourist April 27, 2015 at 11:32 #

    I always liked the theme to Dynasty (like Dallas, the theme was the best part). It featured a trumpet (or cornet?) solo. And Mannix.

    Westerns usually had great themes.

    • Rick April 27, 2015 at 13:00 #

      Mannix had a great song, and Dynasty also had a great one. I almost listed Bonanza but decided I had gone on long enough.

  3. Andrew Petcher April 27, 2015 at 14:02 #

    I remember the shows but not the songs. Mostly I remember western TV show songs. Bronco, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Virginian and Alias Smith and Jones all spring to mind.

    • Rick April 27, 2015 at 14:17 #

      I have never seen an episode of Alias Smith and Jones. I need to check into that.

      • Andrew Petcher April 27, 2015 at 14:24 #

        Really? It was always big in the UK and now it is repeated endlessly. Most people think that the Pete Duel episodes are the best but I quite like Roger Davis as well although I understand why the ratings dropped after the Pete Duel suicide. That was such a shame. Why do people do that?

      • Rick April 27, 2015 at 17:09 #

        I have never understood. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

      • Andrew Petcher April 27, 2015 at 17:30 #

        That is very philosophical! I like it.

      • Rick April 27, 2015 at 23:13 #

        I heard that from a friend of mine.

  4. jcalberta April 27, 2015 at 22:47 #

    Love Game of Thrones too. Epic theme.
    Amazing how those songs instantly recall the show. .
    How about the Flintstones theme song for instance (I’ll spare you).
    But here’s a gem:
    ” … a three hour tour … “

    • Rick April 27, 2015 at 23:15 #

      The Flintstones song is great. Gilligan’s song would be better if Mary Ann was singing it.


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