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Padre Steve’s Favorite Popular Television Theme Songs

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Well it is time for something less serious tonight and since there is plenty of seriousness to go around on the internet I felt like going back to music. For a while now I have been thinking back, thanks to the Sirius Satellite Radio Seventies on Seven channel about popular songs from television shows that became hits on the Billboard charts.

I don’t know about you, but some of these songs bring back great memories, even of I wasn’t a regular viewer of the shows. Part of this is because a number were always on the radio, particularly on American Top 40 when I was doing the dough rolling and food preparation duties when I worked at the Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Stockton California.

Of course very few of them were recorded then, but the fact that I was hooked on the AM Pop radio of the 1970s and 1980s meant that I picked up some songs simply because they were on the air as well as on television.

We don’t see many themes from television programs being big hits anymore. I am not sure for the reason but I think that a lot has to do with the proliferation of “reality TV” shows that rely more on people’s intense voyeuristic needs for entertainment than did the sitcoms and dramas of earlier days. As such most of these show do little or nothing for theme songs.

Most of my favorites come from the 1970s and 1980s, of course those were years where I followed more television shows than I do now. Some come from earlier and one,  I’ll be There for You was from the 1990s.

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I have always loved Joey Scarbury’s Theme to Greatest American Hero “Believe it or Not” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4JCehDOy54 or live on Solid Gold countdown http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUEFHZFLAyM . Since I am also a Seinfeld devotee I remember George Costanza (Jason Alexander) making up his own version of the song as his answering machine song.

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Finding it too funny I did the same for our answering machine at one time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg-TqEFYcfM. Maybe I need to do it for my I-Phone now.

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John Sebastian recorded Welcome Back the theme to Welcome Back Kotter, a song and television show that was very popular when I was in high school. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6o0Cah5kQU

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The Theme from Happy Days was very popular during the 1950s’ nostalgia that gripped the country when I was in junior high school. Recorded by Pratt and McClain it remained part of American life through the early 1980s as Ron Howard and Henry Winkler made the fiction 50s come alive during the turbulent 1970s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tqc4FKNzWU

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Cindy Grecco recorded Making our Dreams Come True for the show LaVerne and Shirley which was a spin off from the popular Happy Days. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JijyXS6Sb30. I had pretty much forgotten about the song until I heard it on the Sirius 70s channel.

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Other songs that were Billboard hits from sitcoms included Waylon Jennings song Good Old Boys for the series The Dukes of Hazard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIVMSnPVXfI and Steve Carlisle theme to WKRP in Cincinnati http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jRXt2Bt1Sc .

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One hit from a comedy that was not an upbeat song was by Johnny Mandel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gO7uemm6Yo who sang the haunting theme from the movie M*A*S*H, Suicide is Painless.  It was a Billboard hit when the movie came out, but when it remained as the theme for the television show  it was done as an instrumental introduction. One can understand why, but the song was popular after the release of the movie and became the official song of the Army Medical Department in the 1980s.

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One tie in that I have to the series is when as a young enlisted man http://search.peopleschoice.com/v/26948942/and-the-9th-annual-favorite-television-comedy-series-is-m-a-s-h.htm . I am somewhere on in the group of soldiers to the left of the cast at the end of the video. I think I can find me, but my screen isn’t big enough to honestly say if the person I think is me is me.

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The theme from SWAT by Rhythm Heritage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHnx-z0I7SM was one of several instrumental hits for police or detective shows. Other instrumental favorites included several by Mike Post who arranged the instrumental theme to Magnum PI starring Tom Selleck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIi9iTsbhtg, the theme to Hill Street Blues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSOeRqNtQtM both of which made the top 40 as did his theme for the Rockford Files staring James Garner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtpoO_DlDM

Another police drama song, the them to Miami Vice was recorded by Jam Hammer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQDU-2qMre0

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The Rembrandts recorded their hit I’ll be There for You for the hit sitcom Friends. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUSXZAtCaRQ

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David Naughton recorded Makin’ It http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91D58RuHyVU was recorded for a show called Makin’ It which was far shorter lived than the popularity of the theme song.

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Some earlier themes included Dragnet by Ray Anthony from the 1950s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChE5GHKsgHU Henry Mancini did the theme for Peter Gunn in the 1950s and 1960s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dechpnavTyA which was reintroduced to people like me through the Blues Brothers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CHjYHwNzx0.

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Hawaii Five-0 which was very popular in the 1970s them made it high on the Billboard Hot 100 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASvQ-bNURn4 and has been re-done for the new rendition of that show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwhvByj8YG8

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One of my favorites, and possibly my favorite of all times is the them from Cheers Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-mi0r0LpXo

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These songs are like old friends. When I hear them it is like I am in place where “everybody knows my name.” So anyway, thanks for allowing me the diversion tonight.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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