Shows with Memorable Theme Songs

I was watching a DVD of an older TV series and made the comment about how while I liked the show, I didn't like the fact that the folks who put the DVD out didn't use the shows theme song. After all, some shows are as well known for their theme songs as they are for their actors and the characters on the show. And in some cases some folks may know the theme song more than the show itself.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
I Love Lucy (1951 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A daffy woman constantly strives to become a star along with her bandleader husband and gets herself in the strangest situations. (30 mins.)
“ I did not realize until I started watching the show in the morning a few years ago that the theme song, also titled I Love Lucy, actually had lyrics to it. As a kid when I'd occasionally get to see reruns of the show I always thought the theme song was purely instrumental. But you have a birthday episode where Ricky actually sings the song as a birthday present to Lucy. ” - knight1192a
 
2.
The Beverly Hillbillies (1962 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A nouveau riche hillbilly family moves to Beverly Hills and shakes up the privileged society with their hayseed ways. (25 mins.)
“ Sometimes the theme song for the show tells the story of the show itself, or at least the background story. The Ballad of Jed Clampett certainly tells us of how the Clampetts ended up in Beverly Hills. And who who has seen the show wouldn't immediately think o it when they hear "Come and listen to a story of a man named Jed." ” - knight1192a
 
3.
Gilligan's Island (1964 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Seven men and women are stranded on an uncharted island following a torrential storm. (30 mins.)
“ Speaking of theme songs that tell the story or back story of a show, I'd be remiss if didn't bring up "a three hour tour." The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle is another theme song people who know the show will automatically be reminded of it when they hear the first line. Of course some changes had to be made to the song over the course of the show, and it's those changes that are the remembered version. ” - knight1192a
 
4.
Green Acres (1965 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City attorney and his wife attempt to live as genteel farmers in the bizarre community of Hooterville. (30 mins.)
“ According to the theme song Green Acres, Green Acres may have been the place to be, but I don't really remember much of the show. And it was one of those shows I saw a few episodes of in reruns as a kid. But the song sticks with you. ” - knight1192a
 
5.
The Brady Bunch (1969 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The misadventures of a large family united when one widowed and one divorced people married. (30 mins.)
“ The Theme from The Brady Bunch gave us the background and synopsis of the show. Ironically we could have changed some of the lyrics for later sitcoms that followed the same basic premise as The Brady Bunch but wanted to update things. ” - knight1192a
 
6.
Highlander (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Duncan MacLeod is Immortal, and must live in modern society, concealing his true nature while fighting other Immortals. (60 mins.)
“ The TV series was one of those shows that took it's theme song from the movie of the same name. And just like the 1986 movie, the series starts of with an opening narration that gives way to Queen's Princes of the Universe ” - knight1192a
 
7.
M*A*S*H (1972 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The staff of an army hospital in the Korean war find that laughter is the best way to deal with their situation. (25 mins.)
“ Before Highlander was playing Princes of the Universe on the small screen as had been done on the big screen, M*A*S*H was playing Suicide is Painless on the small screen, but as an instrumental version of MASH's theme song Would be years after the show went off the air that I both learned the title and that it had lyrics. ” - knight1192a
 
8.
Happy Days (1974 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The Cunningham family live through the 1950s with help and guidance from the lovable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie. (30 mins.)
“ Happy Days is actually very interesting for having not one memorable theme song but two. It originally started out with Bill Haley and the Comets' (or Bill Haley and his Comets) song Rock Around the Clock and was then changed to Happy Days. Parts of the second theme song were actually used as the closing theme when Rock Around the Clock was the theme song. And Bill Haley and the Comets actually recorded a special version of Rock Around the Clock for the show. ” - knight1192a
 
9.
Bosom Buddies (1980 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford. (30 mins.)
“ I remember when this was on the air it was Billy Joel's My Life. I've found out on DVD and syndication they've gone with some other song. ” - knight1192a
 
10.
The Golden Girls (1985 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Four previously married women live together in Miami, sharing their various experiences together and enjoying themselves despite hard times. (30 mins.)
“ At the time the show was on the air Thank You for Being a Friend seemed to be played quite a bit on radio. I only recently learned it wasn't originally made for the show. ” - knight1192a
 
11.
The Greatest American Hero (1981 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control. (60 mins.)
“ Joe Scarbury's Believe It Or Not probably did better in the charts than the show did on TV, and I still enjoy watching the show. These days the theme song may be better known than the show, but I'm not holding my breath on that. ” - knight1192a
 
12.
Magnum, P.I. (1980 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The adventures of a Hawaii based private investigator. (48 mins.)
“ Action shows may be flashy, they may be gritty, they may be both, but they are still action shows. And one of the first announcements that you should get ready for a little action is that theme song, usually a bit fast paced with a tempo or a blare that says action. Magnum, P.I.'s theme was no different from other action shows of the '80s. And in some ways it does invoke not only ideas o fight scenes but driving in fast cars. ” - knight1192a
 
13.
The A-Team (1983 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Four Vietnam vets, framed for a crime they didn't commit, help the innocent while on the run from the military. (60 mins.)
“ Another theme song from an '80s action series, and just as typical of the decade. The theme song evokes the idea of a war movie, appropriate given the idea of the show being a trio of military fugitives on the run and hiring themselves out as mercenaries. ” - knight1192a
 
14.
Airwolf (1984 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
As part of a deal with an intelligence agency to look for his missing brother, a renegade pilot goes on missions with an advanced battle helicopter. (60 mins.)
“ The best version of Airwolf's main theme came in the first season when it was actually preformed by an orchestra. It is so interesting to listen to the theme preformed during an episode and have it be just preformed on a particular set of instruments, usually the string section. But in the 2nd and 3rd seasons the theme became the typical '80s synthesizer used for so many of the action shows that featured just an instrumental theme. ” - knight1192a
 
15.
Murder, She Wrote (1984 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Professional writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher uses her intellect, charm, and persistence to get to the bottom of every crime she encounters. (93 mins.)
“ To me the theme seems to take on a light-hearted, playful nature at the beginning and end of the song while in the middle it takes a slightly darker tone appropriate to the show's murder mystery genre. But even in that darker tone there's still some hint of playfulness to it. ” - knight1192a
 
16.
The Andy Griffith Show (1960 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Widower Sheriff Andy and his son Opie live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry NC. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney. (30 mins.)
“ The Fishin' Hole theme is perhaps one of the best tunes to whistle. Probably because the tune itself is largely just that, a whistled tune with instrumental accompaniment. Though I'll be honest here, I had to look it up on YouTube cause all I can remember is the whistling. Which I think is what makes the theme so memorable. And honestly, who would immediately think of the show if they heard just the instrumental? But that whistling.... ” - knight1192a
 
17.
The Addams Family (1964 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The misadventures of a blissfully macabre but extremely loving family. (30 mins.)
“ Where the whistling of The Andy Griffith Show's theme makes the theme memorable, I think the snapping fingers of The Addams Family theme do they same thing here. Of course the lyrics are just as memorable. ” - knight1192a
 
18.
The Jeffersons (1975 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A nouveau riche, African-American family who move into a luxury apartment building develop close, if occasionally fractious, relationships with other tenants. (30 mins.)
“ I never did see The Jeffersons spin-off of All in the Family so as a kid Movin' On Up didn't make as much sense as they were already living in that "deluxe apartment in the sky." But a think abut it now the theme song does give a slight background story for the Jeffersons. Even if did not known that the title family originated on All in the Family, the theme song did suggest that they had come from different neighborhood and lifestyle to how they lived here. ” - knight1192a
 
19.
The Facts of Life (1979 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A group of girls, attending a boarding school, tackle issues throughout teenage life and later adulthood. (30 mins.)
“ It's been years since I've actually heard the song, but I don't remember it being gender specific even though the show was. Of course any theme song that mentions the title of the show in the lyrics, and it was pretty much a chorus for the song, makes it at much easier for the show to be thought of when one hears the lyrics. ” - knight1192a
 
20.
Jeopardy! (1984 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A returning champion and two challengers test their buzzer skills and their knowledge in a wide range of academic and popular categories. (30 mins.)
“ One of the most appropriate theme songs is perhaps Think!. Although the two previous iterations of Jeopardy! had used different theme songs, Think! brings up images of Alex Trebek and current show. Of curse the show's theme song also serves as the theme for Final Jeopardy, which really makes the name of the song even more appropriate. ” - knight1192a
 
21.
The Dukes of Hazzard (1979 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The adventures of the fast-drivin', rubber-burnin' Duke boys of Hazzard County. (60 mins.)
Director: William Crain
“ Good Ol' Boys isn't one of those theme songs that tells a back story. But it does to a certain extent describe both Bo and Luke's basic characteristics. And ultimately the entire Duke clan a Cooter too. Waylon Jennings sings their like a modern day Robin Hood, it seems more like Robin and his Merry Men really. ” - knight1192a
 
22.
Cheers (1982 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The regulars of the Boston bar Cheers share their experiences and lives with each other while drinking or working at the bar where everybody knows your name. (22 mins.)
“ "Wouldn't you like to get away" asks the final line of the first stanza to Cheers theme song. In 1983 Where Everybody Knows your Name won the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics. But it's perhaps the chorus that makes this song memorable as it sets up a basic human need for companionship and understanding. And it seems to denote that the bar in the series is that place for the series regulars and even folks new to Cheers. ” - knight1192a
 
23.
Laverne & Shirley (1976 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The misadventures of two single women in the 1950s and '60s. (30 mins.)
Director: Cindy Williams
“ It was a song that gave us Hasenpfeffer Incorporated and in '76 it was a top 30 hit on the radio. Making Our Dreams Come True may not have told us who Laverne and Shirley were, but it's hard not to picture them when the song is heard. ” - knight1192a
 
24.
Bonanza (1959 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community. (49 mins.)
“ There are actually two sets of official lyrics for the Bonanza theme song, but it was a purely instrumental version that was used for the show. And is perhaps the most memorable version of the theme. ” - knight1192a
 
25.
The Lone Ranger (1949 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The adventures of the masked hero and his Native American partner. (30 mins.)
“ "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi-yo Silver" -- it's William Tell!" Wait, isn't that the Lone Ranger? Ironically we could say William Tell as 19th century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture served as the theme music for The Lone Ranger. Rossini's 1829 William Tell opera would be the last opera he wrote before he retired that same year. Today the overture is so connected with the TV series that it's claimed an intellectual is a person who can listen to the William Tell Overtrue and not think of the Lone Ranger. ” - knight1192a
 
26.
Rawhide (1959 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Gil Favor is trail boss of a continuous cattle drive; he is assisted by Rowdy Yates. The crew runs into characters and adventures along the way. (50 mins.)
“ It just keeps on rollin', rollin', rollin' and there's the sound of a bullwhip. Rawhide's theme song, which is known by the same name, is about a cattle drive. Rather fitting for a show about a cattle drive. Folks may not know most of the lyrics to Rawhide but their likely to remember "Rollin', rollin', rollin'", "Keep them doggies rollin'", and "Rawhide!" And of course the crack of the bullwhip. It's also been covered numerous times and appeared in at least two movies not related in any way to the TV series. ” - knight1192a
 
27.
The Flintstones (1960 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The misadventures of two modern-day Stone Age families, the Flintstones and the Rubbles. (30 mins.)
“ In the first two seasons The Flintstones used a purely instrumental theme called Rise and Shine. Today you can occasionally still hear this theme along with the original opening to the show. But early in season 3 the show switched over to the more memorable Meet the Flintstones. As anyone who has seen the show should know Meet the Flintstones tells us where the series is largely set and that their a "modern Stone Age family." ” - knight1192a
 
28.
The Jetsons (1962 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The misadventures of a futuristic family. (25 mins.)
“ The shows theme song tells us to meet the George and the family. In fact what few lyrics there are are little more than an introduction to the titular family. You could pretty much speak the lines and get the same effect. But it also makes the theme song's lyrics fairly easy to learn and remember. ” - knight1192a
 
29.
The Wonder Years (1988 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Kevin Arnold recalls growing up during the late 60s and early 70s; the turbulent social times make the transition from child to adult unusually interesting. (22 mins.)
“ Like Bosom Buddies, The Wonder Years used a theme song that had already been heard on the radio for years. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had originally written With a Little Help from my Friends for Ringo Star to sing on the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But it would be Joe Cocker's cover that the show would use. ” - knight1192a