Saturday, April 27, 2013

TV Themes

For your consideration ...

We'll narrow things down next week, once we begin our final elimination rounds ... several themes already have over 100 votes ... so anybody currently sitting with under 50 probably isn't going to make the final countdown! 

But before we close the polls, we'll give you a final alphabetical listing of qualifying titles and ask you to vote one more time for your favorites.

We'll also have more information regarding Scott Shannon counting down your favorites on The True Oldies Channel ... so, as they say in Televisionland ... Stay Tuned!!! 

Hey Kent,
All the lists of favorite TV themes coming in are sure bringing back the memories! I have my favorites, too. Sticking with the "theme" of Forgotten Hits, I would like to see the lists narrowed down to TV themes that became hits on the radio, and found their way on record shelves.
- John LaPuzza

Well, John, we're giving you the best of BOTH worlds ... because with over 7000 votes now cast I'd say this poll is a hit with our readers ... and they are LOVIN' sending in lists of their favorites.

But I agree that there should be at least SOME type of chart representation ... and that's why I contacted Randy Price of "Super Charts" fame.   

Based STRICTLY on pop chart performance, here are some of the Biggest TV Themes in Pop Music History.  (We tried to hold the list to a television era of 1955 - 1985 ... but even that became a bit difficult once we started to review some of the titles NOT on the list).  As explained yesterday, when compared to the poll that we're conducting, it's really not a fair list since MOST television themes were never commercially released as pop singles ... but it DOES give you a good representation as to how these songs performed on the pop charts during this era.  (Think about it ... how many TV themes do you hear on the radio today???)

Special Thanks to Chart Guru Randy Price for compiling the bulk of this  list.  (Please note:  We have made a couple of minor modifications, based on the criteria established in putting together our own TV Themes Favorites Countdown ... as well as some of the votes and comments that we have received.)  

By expanding our criteria (as we did yesterday), this would allow for songs like "My Life" by Billy Joel, "Thank You For Being A Friend" by Andrew Gold and "Who Are You" by The Who to make the list ... but is that really fair from a TV Theme rankings standpoint?  These were already proven chart its BEFORE they were ever considered for use on television.  Then again (as illustrated yesterday) "Who Are You" is the PERFECT theme for "CSI" ... much as "Love And Marriage" was the perfect theme for "Married ... With Children" ... so we finally caved and let these tracks in.)

However, by limiting the range from 1955 - 1985, we would have locked out some serious contenders like "I'll Be There For You" from "Friends" (a HUGE radio hit), "Closer To Free" from "Party Of Five" and old standbys like "Dragnet", simply because their release dates fall outside our chart range ... and these songs had a major impact on the charts. As such, (and with Randy's permission) you'll see that we've bended the rules a little bit here and there in an effort to present a more "fan friendly" list.  

And it doesn't end there ... in fact, it actually gets even MORE complicated than that!!!  

We received votes for tracks like "Think Of Laura" by Christopher Cross, from the soap opera "General Hospital" ... not really a television theme, but a significant part of a story arc.  (If we allowed that one, we'd have to allow "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters for its use in "Family Ties" or "Rubber Duckie" because of its repeated use in "Sesame Street".  Then we'd be adding "Rock Around The Clock" back to the list because it was used to kick off the first couple of seasons of "Happy Days".  (What next?  "Blueberry Hill" because Ritchie Cunningham used to sing it all the time?  And then what ... all the songs featured on the jukebox at Arnold's?!?!?)  

Significant as these tracks may be, they were NOT the theme song of these various programs ... in fact, each of these programs already had their own theme songs.  (We received an email telling us about a BBC Series called "Stranger On The Shore" that used the Mr. Acker Bilk #1 Hit as its theme song.  Hey, we're having a hard enough time here pulling this list together from all of the AMERICAN television shows on the list!!!  lol)  Randy originally had "Tracy's Theme" from "Philadelphia Story" in the countdown ... but further research shows that this was used for just a single episode of the series.  The same could be said of the #1 Hit "Let Me Go, Lover" by Joan Weber for its repeated use in "Studio One".  

So with MUCH agonizing consideration, here's what we've come up with as our Pop Chart List:  (kk)

1. THE BALLAD OF DAVY CROCKETT - Bill Hayes (Cadence) (1955)  Other versions charted by Fess Parker and Tennessee Ernie Ford
2. THEME FROM "GREATEST AMERICAN HERO" (Believe It Or Not) - Joey Scarbury (Elektra) (1981)
3. TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) - MFSB ["Soul Train"] (Philadelphia Int'l) (1974)

Actually "Soul Train" had its own theme ... but THIS is the track most closely associated with the show ... so we let it go.
4. MIAMI VICE THEME - Jan Hammer (MCA) (1985)
5. WELCOME BACK - John Sebastian (Reprise) (1976)  ["Welcome Back Kotter"]
6. DRAGNET - Ray Anthony & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1953)

7. MY LIFE - Billy Joel  (Columbia)  1979 ["Bosom Buddies"]
8. THEME FROM S.W.A.T. - Rhythm Heritage (ABC) (1976)
9. NADIA'S THEME [The Young And The Restless] - Barry DeVorzon & Perry Botkin Jr. (A&M) (1976)

This song had life in a movie, as a TV theme and as part of The Olympics!!!
10. SECRET AGENT MAN - Johnny Rivers (Imperial) (1966)

11. PETER GUNN - Ray Anthony & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1959)  Other versions charted by Duane Eddy and Art Of Noise

12. LOVE AND MARRIAGE - Frank Sinatra  (Capitol) 1955 ["Married With Children"]
13. HAPPY DAYS - Pratt & McClain (Reprise) (1976)
14. HAWAII FIVE-O - The Ventures (Liberty) (1969)
15. THE ROCKFORD FILES - Mike Post (MGM) (1975)

16. I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU - The Rembrandts  (1995) Atco  
17. THE THEME FROM HILL STREET BLUES - Mike Post featuring Larry Carlton (Elektra) (1981)   

18. FAME - Irene Cara (RSO) (1980)   
19. THEME FROM DR. KILDARE (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight) - Richard Chamberlain (MGM) (1962)    
20. WHO ARE YOU - The Who ["CSI"] (MCA) (1978)

21. QUENTIN'S THEME - The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde ["Dark Shadows"] (Ranwood) (1969)
22. A SWINGIN' SAFARI - Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra ["The Match Game"] (Dot) (1962) 

23. THEME FROM THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (Good Ol' Boys) - Waylon [Jennings] (RCA) (1980)
24. ACTION - Freddy Cannon ["Where The Action Is"] (Warner Bros.) (1965)
25. BATMAN THEME - The Marketts (Warner Bros.) (1966) 
- The BoDeans  (Slash)  1996 ["Party Of Five"]
27. THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND - Andrew Gold ["The Golden Girls"] (Asylum) (1978)
28. DIFFERENT WORLDS - Maureen McGovern ["Angie"] (Warner/Curb) (1979) 

29. LONG LONESOME HIGHWAY - Michael Parks ["Then Came Bronson"] (MGM) (1970)
30. DISCO LUCY (I Love Lucy Theme) - The Wilton Place Street Band (Island) (1977)   

31. MR. LUCKY - Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (RCA Victor) (1960)
32. BARETTA'S THEME ("Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow") - Rhythm Heritage (ABC) (1976)
33. (Theme From) MAGNUM P.I. - Mike Post (Elektra) (1982)
34. MAKING OUR DREAMS COME TRUE - Cyndi Grecco ["Laverne & Shirley"] (Private Stock) (1976)
35. ZORRO - The Chordettes (Cadence) (1958)
36. SPANISH FLEA - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass ["The Dating Game"] (A&M) (1966) 

37. BONANZA - Al Caiola & His Orchestra (United Artists) (1961)
38. MOONLIGHTING (Theme) - Al Jarreau (MCA) (1987)

39. YAKETY SAX - Boots Randolph ["Benny Hill"] (Monument) (1963)
Wow! When people were voting for "The Benny Hill Show", I thought it was because of "Mah-Na, Mah-Na" ... but "Yakety Sax" was more accurately the theme for this one!
40. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - Lalo Schifrin (Dot) (1968)

41. THEME FROM BEN CASEY - Valjean (Carlton) (1962)
42. ROUTE 66 THEME - Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1962)

43. THEME FROM THE MEN - Isaac Hayes (Enterprise) (1972)
44. THE BALLAD OF JED CLAMPETT - Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys ["The Beverly Hillbillies"] (Columbia) (1963)
45. (Theme From) MY THREE SONS - Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra (Dot) (1961)
46. THE PINK PANTHER THEME - Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (RCA Victor) (1964) 

47. THE BALLAD OF PALADIN - Duane Eddy ["Have Gun Will Travel"] (RCA Victor) (1962) 
48. GENTLE ON MY MIND - Glen Campbell ["The Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour"] (Capitol) (1967/68)
49. 77 SUNSET STRIP - The Big Sound Of Don Ralke (Warner Bros.) (1959)
50. BLUE STAR (The "Medic" Theme) - Felicia Sanders (Columbia) (1955)

Keep those votes comin', folks!!!  The Elimination Rounds start on Monday!!!  (kk)