TV Review Pages

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Top 7 TV Theme Songs of All Time

There was a time when the best TV theme songs were not only originals songs written for the show, but then did quite well on the radio and in record sales. The 70's and 80's boasted some of the best TV theme songs ever recorded, and these are my favorites.


It was clear from the first time I heard "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy that it was going to be one of my favorites. It still is today. Though the lyrics tell a tale of woe, it makes us happy to come home.


The Rockord Files

The "Theme from The Rockford Files" remains one of my favorite instrumental songs to this day. Reaching number 10 on the Billboard charts, it gears you up for whatever excitement is headed your way. It's one of those songs that just doesn't need words. The song also won a Grammy award in 1973 for Mike Post and Pete Carpenter.


The song "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts still stands alone as a decent pop song. It's finger snapping good and has decent lyrics that speak to all of us. The song was originally too short for radio, but after some airplay on a looped version got huge attention from fans it was re-recorded and added to the LP album of The Rembrandts.

Welcome Back Kotter

One of the few TV theme songs that went to number one on Billboard was the" Theme to Welcome Back Kotter." They played "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian almost nonstop on the radio in late 70's. So much so I was really sick of it, but have to admit it was a good song.


Performed by Rhythm Heritage, the "Theme from S.W.A.T." is another fantastic instrumental that did quite well on the Billboard charts, reaching number one in 1976. My mom got me hooked on this song. It really is addictive. Featuring that funky guitar sound of the 70's, once you hear it you recognize it.

Hill Street Blues

Songwriter Mike Post struck again with the "Theme from Hill Street Blues" in 1981. The song made it to number 10 on the Billboard charts. The tune starts out so forlorn, much like the series did, then ramps up to the controlled excitement of any police event.

Greatest American Hero

I'm not sure why I like "Believe It or Not" by Joey Scarbury so much. Maybe something inside me knew Mike Post had again come up with a winner. Post did the instrumental version for the TV show. The vocal version made it all the way to number one on Billboard.

There were other TV theme songs that we all know the lyrics to, but they didn't get radio play time and were really more for fun. You know the ones I'm talking about. The songs on my list of best TV theme songs can still hold their own against most radio standards today.

Spartanburg Herald: Post Keeps Turning Out Hit TV Themes (Archives)

 Photo credit: By Psemper (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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