A photo showing Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty smiling and leaning over a grinning Betty White and Rue McClanahan.

Iconic Television Themes

By Lexi Ashbury
Music Journalist

Theme songs for television programs have the power to make or break the show; they’re essentially a first impression for viewers. From The Andy Griffith Show” to iconic themes have been around since the start of TV sitcoms and are only getting better with time. Here are a few of my favorites that I simply can’t help but to dance to when I hear the opening chords. 

1.”Golden Girls”: “Thank You for Being a Friend”

Written by Andrew Gold, this is probably my favorite theme song (actually… just song) of all time. I guarantee you will hear this being blasted from my bedroom at all hours of the night. When the show premiered in 1985, this tune quickly became a staple in living rooms all across America. Cynthia Fee covered Gold’s song and gave a performance that perfectly depicted the relationship between the four protagonists of the show. Over 20 years later, the song still prompts viewers to sing along, grab cheesecake and call their best friends. 

2.”Gilmore Girls”: “Where You Lead”

Yes, obviously I am a Carole King fan, thanks for asking. This track was originally featured on King’s 1971 album, Tapestry. At first, King was not crazy about the song because she interpreted it as a “stand by your man” kind of song. She ended up rerecording the song with her daughter, Louise Goffin, who reworked the meaning for her mother to show that it’s a song about a mother and a daughter. This is what made it so perfect for “Gilmore Girls”.

3. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”: “Love is All Around”

I truly believe this song could solve all the world’s problems if we just let it. This Sonny Curtis track can almost be annoyingly optimistic at times, but hey, who doesn’t love that part of the ’70s? Being paired with one of the most revolutionary television shows, this song gave hope and courage to those who listened. It had everyone on their feet rooting for Mary Richards as she navigated her life through tough hurdles. Sure it’s cheesy, but that’s genuinely part of its charm. It makes listeners feel like they can get through just about anything, and that’s what makes it one of the greats. 

4.”Curb Your Enthusiasm”: “Frolic”

This has got to be one of the most recognizable theme songs of all-time; if you think you don’t know this one, trust me you do. The song was originally composed in the 1970’s by Luciano Michelini. Comedian and executive producer, Larry David, chose this for the theme after he first heard it in a bank commercial. The recognizable melody is perfectly played over awkward situations and predicaments David faces on the show. This song is seen all over social media because its wordlessness makes it perfect to loop behind any embarrassing moments trending on the Internet.

5. “Cheers”: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

You didn’t really think I’d make a theme song list and not include “Cheers”, right? Possibly the greatest sitcom ever made incidentally has one of the greatest opening songs. It evokes such strong nostalgia within its audience. It truly sets the tone for the entire show while making viewers feel sappy and yearning for a simpler time. I’m pretty sure this is what every single person thinks of when they think of an iconic television theme. 

These are the top five theme songs in my book and, honestly, they should be the top five in yours too. A few honorable mentions include “In the Street” from “That 70s Show”, “The Twilight Zone” opening theme, “A Beautiful Mine” from “Made Men”, “We Used To Be Friends” from Kristen Bell’s “Veronica Mars”, and obviously, the “Law & Order: SVU” open credits that I hold so near and dear to my heart.

Featured image courtesy of ABC News.

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