CSI – This show has been around a while, and has had its fair share of spinoffs. I also think it’s fair to say that the creators are big fans of The Who. I also dig their music, so here they are on my list.
The Flintstones – Confession time: I don’t actually watch a lot of TV. Not now, anyway. But my childhood was loaded with reruns of old shows, and my brain has always latched on to patterns, including musical ones. I’ve got more old show themes on this list than new ones, is what I’m saying. And The Flintstones is a memorable one, even if just for the wide range of sounds in it. Listen and you’ll hear what I mean.
Dukes of Hazzard – Okay, I know this might be a controversial choice these days. The show contained some historically insensitive imagery, and would almost certainly not be allowed on the air today. But what the show did with combining music and narration was a rare thing, and worth noting in a list like this.
Welcome Back, Kotter – I’m not sure the theme for this show was particularly meaningful, even for its time. But it’s actually a good song in its own right, and John Sebastian (who was already a music icon in his own right) gives an awesomely mellow performance. It’s the kind of theme that sets the perfect mood for the show.
Law & Order – This one almost feels like a cheat, because it’s on this list as much for the “dun dun” thing between scenes as for the Mike Post theme played during the credits. Iconic doesn’t begin to describe this one.
Perry Mason – This show is a fundamental one in the history of police shows in general. And its theme is one of those instantly recognizable ones. You’ve heard it, trust me. And that it was gleefully covered by the Blues Brothers doesn’t hurt at all.
Happy Days – I felt that I couldn’t leave this one off of my list. It’s another one that’s so iconic that I recently heard a cover version in a commercial online (I think it was on YouTube, and I don’t remember the product, but even a slowed-down version is easy to spot).
The Monkees – This one also feels like a cheat, given that this show was created as a vehicle for the music. But doggone it, I liked the show and I like the music. Even if it was “master planned” and marketing driven. And seriously, I challenge you to find a hit song in that time period that didn’t use studio musicians 😉
Batman The Animated Series – This is a show that I could write a whole article about (we’ve talked about it on my podcast, so shameless plug, I guess). And yes, they borrowed the theme from the hit film that had just come out. But that honestly just helped to set the tone for the show, and it was an amazing show.
Batman (1966) – I’m sure there are more, or at least equally, iconic TV themes out there. But who doesn’t know the “na na na na na na na na” bit of this song? I mean, seriously. It’s ingrained in the brains of an entire generation, and still has a life of its own today.
Again, thanks to the Ghosts for letting me play in their sandbox.