Greatest TV Theme Songs Part One
By: Dame Davis
Now I have to admit right off the bat, I was definitely raised by the television. I did go outside and play with my friends, but once the sun went down, it was definitely time to come on in the house. My Mother worked at nights so I was often home alone in the evenings to fend for myself. I was such a TV junkie it was ridiculous! I watched everything from saturday morning cartoons to The Price is Right to The Odd Couple. It’s kind of weird and makes me remember how old I’m really getting when I catch an old episode of the Cosby Show or A Different World and realize that I probably watched it in real time when it first aired.
As much as I loved TV back in the day, music was and has always been my #1 love. So the great thing about a majority of the shows back then was straight up iconic theme songs. I found myself watching shows simply because I loved the theme music. I just feel like they put so much effort into making these songs catchy as hell. The crazy thing is, as I’m sitting here writing this, I already have several songs in my head and can’t wait to listen them as I add the video here.
I want to start off with some older shows. At the time I was watching them, I didn’t realize some of them were actually in syndication. But one thing is for certain….Once I heard these themes, I was all in. The first one is probably my favorite from this group.
1. Welcome Back Kotter
For whatever reason, I didn’t see Welcome Back Kotter until probably the mid 90’s. From what I remember, the show would come on weird times of the night. I recall being half asleep around 1-2am one night, and hearing this absolutely amazing song. I never knew when the show would actually come on, so I would just stay up late and hope to catch it. I actually started really liking the show, but I definitely came for the theme song:
Bewitched was one of those shows that I would catch in the morning during the summer time. I was immediately drawn to it because the intro video was animated. This is another one of my favorite themes and every time I see any pictures or videos from the show, the theme automatically goes on a loop in my head.
Taxi was a show that I wasn’t necessarily a big fan of, but I would tune anyway because of the theme song.
4. The Munsters
Just like Bewitched, The Munsters would come on in the morning during the summer. I feel like this is a very slept-on show doesn’t get talked about enough:
5. Laverne and Shirley
Laverne and Shirley was another show I wasn’t really that into, but I always love the theme song:
6. Three’s Company
Now Three’s Company was my show. I came for the theme song, but stayed for the show. I enjoyed the adventures of Jack Tripper, Janet, and their rotating third. I think I favored Chrissy over Cindy and Terri. But Three’s Company had a great cast and was funny as hell.
Now for me personally, this next set of themes are my absolute favorites. All of these shows are amazing in their own right, but the theme songs just put them over the top for me:
7. What’s Happening
What can I even say about What’s Happening? Just a great show with a very strong predominantly black cast. The show did a great job of showing three positive young black men coming of age. The theme song is iconic as well and goes perfectly with the intro video:
8. Diff’rent Strokes
I was always a little jealous of Arnold and Willis. It’s not that I wanted to get adopted by a rich white man or hang out with bicycle shop owners, I just always loved their apartment and bunk bed setup. One reason the theme was iconic was that it was written and sung by Alan Thicke. But the main reason is that it is just a great song!
9. The Jefferson’s
Another great show with a super strong cast. George and Weezy moved on up to the East Side and brought a great show with them. The show’s theme song was sung by Ja'Net DuBois from Good Times.
10. The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show had many great opening themes that would change every couple of seasons. This version right here is my favorite, with the Jazz one being a close second.
11. A Different World
A Different World was such a great and impactful show. Many young black people who watched the show often cite it as the reason why they decided to attend a historically Black college or university. Another great theme song that was sung by the Icon Aretha Franklin
12. Good Times
Good Times might actually be one of the most famous theme songs of all time. This is one of those songs that described the theme of the show to a tee.
13. Sanford and Son
Fred G. Sanford and his son Lamont otherwise known as Sanford and Son was another great show with an Iconic theme song composed and produced by Quincy Jones:
14. Small Wonder
Another slept on show from back in the day was Small Wonder about Vicky the robot. I really enjoyed the show and the theme song was great:
And to round out my list, I have to go with another little Black kid adopted by White people that I was jealous of. I wasn’t jealous that he was adopted, I wanted to live in that dope ass house with all the secret compartments and hidden passages.
So what is your favorite TV theme? Comment below