Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some of My Favorite TV Theme Songs

humming house
They can hum outside the house as well.
This week I posted my first advance album review over at FDRMX for Humming House's upcoming album. Exciting stuff for me and I did feel a little pressure when writing it. It helps that I genuinely like the band and the album is great. I wouldn't fake a review, so I'm not sure I would do it if after getting asked by the publicist, it turned out I didn't like it. How do you put out a negative review at that point unless the material is downright offensive?  Anyway, go read that review and go check out some Humming House, especially if they are playing near you.

70s Zenith TV
This was the alter I grew up in front of.
Anyway, TV themes, because fuck segues. I don't know what I would say makes a good or bad one. I guess it somehow has to reflect what the show is, but that may not be all that necessary. I think at the end of the day, it reflects the show if you are into the show. If not, it's just a song and there may not be any association in your mind. But these are some of my favorites.

I'm writing this on the fly without any planning and this was just the first one that came to mind, but I bet it's only the first one to feature a badass bass line. A good friend once told me that the reason so many of us in our generation loved soul music was because we grew up in the 70s when all the music in the best movies and TV was basically soul and jazz. This is a prime example of that. I'm sure this has been sampled at some point, if not, I've lost a bit of respect for the RZAs of the world. And it does capture the spirit of the show somewhat. That beaten down feel but somehow finding humor in it. I was too young to watch this show but back then, nobody cared what we watched.

I used to love this show when I was 5. I have no memory of the show, at all, though. But the theme song? It plays in my head anytime I have to do something badass and dangerous like waking up Shayera in the morning or giving Zoey that last spoonful of yogurt before she starts screaming her had off for more (seriously, this kid has developed an insane appetite.) Funny how I'm staying in the 70s so far.

Who am I kidding, this is the theme that plays in my head whenever I have to get the girls to do anything. I once programmed this theme into my Commodore 128 computer. Years later, I'd rediscover this and the rest of the awesome Mission Impossible soundtrack work of Lalo Shiffrin, thanks to Portishead sampling part of it in "Sour Times."

I never actually watched this show, but come on, it had to be on the list, right? Surfs up. And I think that's it for the 70s.

The 80s' futuristic version of soul, really. That bass line is just awesome. And there's some Kraftwerk sounding stuff in there too. Honestly, there are tons of others from the 80s that are memorable, but I wouldn't say go beyond just being cheesy. I know some of you might be thinking Miami Vice, but I think this is a better theme and if you don't like it, too bad. So on from the 80s.

Chills. Still get them from this one. The drama of that opening is so perfect for the show. The way he yells that last line is so Goliath. Such an awesome theme and show.

I need to watch this show again. But more than that, it's here for a reason which will become apparent further down the list. Exotic sounds. Keep that in mind.

Fuck it, why make you wait. One leads to the other pretty well, though this is obviously much more dramatic and exotic. This has hints of being ancient and forlorn. It's just a perfect fit and not what you'd expect from a space opera.

This might be my favorite theme of all time at this point. Yeah, there are theme songs out there that tell you exactly what's going on in the lyrics, but this somehow captures every bit of intrigue, plotting, betrayal, fear, death, heartbreak and dread in this piece. I hear echoes of Xena and BSG in here, too. Anyway, one more.

This takes us right back up to the top of the list and it's really what inspired the post in the first place. Bass, bongos, horns. Jazz. Just awesome. Everything about this is perfect and it's the only anime I've ever really loved.

Obviously, there are tons of of other good themes, but look how long this post wound up being anyway, and I'm sure the one person reading won't get this far anyway. Let's just call these instrumental favorites So there you have it.


  1. You named Barney Miller, so you got the first, best and top of any sane list. I was watching Miami Vice re-runs, and I think that Jan Hammer theme still rocks the house and suits the show.

    One theme I think gets way overlooked is the "Batman/ Superman Adventures" theme. Unfortunately this composer died before she could save Justice League from two pretty mediocre themes. http://youtu.be/w3l8HLHwXK8

  2. And I gotta pitch this remix, because it will straight up make you sad that whatever is going to happen in the Batman/ Superman movie will not be this cool. http://youtu.be/zQe_WugEwCg

    1. I'd settle for this cool: