TV Music themes, is it me?

edited April 2020 in General Movies & TV Posts: 4,541
Lockdown bordom setting in so mods feel free to delete. Is it me or was there a "golden age" of USA TV themes. I'm really struggling to find anything modern and strong compared to 70s and 80s. Of course, the rose coloured specs could be on and I'm happy to be corrected (kids keep telling me I'm a boomer)

lets start with this..........



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Comments

  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,067
    As a fellow “Boomer” (on the tail end 😊) I love the idea of this thread.

    I remember reading that there is an economic reason that most current TV shows have minimalist theme tunes. Certainly nothing like the golden age, when some of the tunes actually charted on the Billboard Top 100.

    On more occasions than I care to own up to, I’ve gone down the YouTube “rabbit hole” and watched the opening credits for old TV shows for hours on end. Just hearing the “na..na..na..” to old Batman TV show makes me smile.

    I was going to post this in the “RIP” thread since the last surviving cast member (Tom Lester) of the 1960s “Green Acres” TV show died yesterday – but it can go here instead. BTW: That’s’ the show’s stars, Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor singing. A surprising well written show – and the surreal humor still hold up,



    PS. Maybe it was here: https://www.gq.com/story/bring-back-tv-theme-songs
  • Posts: 4,541
    Just been reading about Mike Post (he did Rockford), got a Grammy for this....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Post

  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 3,889
    Yes sadly ?TV themes aren't what they used to be. Due to the additional advertising that is now on shows the Theme song has either been jettisoned or is merely a few notes. Sad because I loved so many.

    Rockford was always a good opening because the message being left always changed and some were hilarious.

    Green Acres was another good one! I prefer this version! LOL!

  • Posts: 4,541
    Thats a good point re the advertising. Linked to that, the theme intro provided an opportunity for some iconic intro editing that would set the tone for the whole series. Take a look at Hawaii Five O (its easy to take for granted but there is some really wonderful camera work and editing there - cinematic in quality) and then see IMHO clear influence over Miami Vice. Iconic music: inconic imagery.





  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 3,889
    Compare the re-boot opening to Hawaii 5-O. We have a synth sounding theme that runs 35 seconds. The original was 1 minute and had much more style and panache.

  • Posts: 5,863
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,067
    Great points everyone! This is fun!

    And given my love for all things Diana Rigg….
    (from series 5)
  • edited April 2020 Posts: 16,461
    Here are just three of my favourites:




    For those who watch this show, they know that this prequel series to Inspector Morse uses the same theme music.



    Full Inspector Morse theme:

    Edit: Forgot this classic!

  • Posts: 4,005
    mattjoes wrote: »

    Was just going to post that one. Doesn’t get funkier.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,143
    patb wrote: »
    Thats a good point re the advertising. Linked to that, the theme intro provided an opportunity for some iconic intro editing that would set the tone for the whole series. Take a look at Hawaii Five O (its easy to take for granted but there is some really wonderful camera work and editing there - cinematic in quality) and then see IMHO clear influence over Miami Vice. Iconic music: inconic imagery.





    Miami Vice! The music to that show is phenomenal. I regularly put the MV soundtrack on. Love it!
  • Posts: 4,541
    The composer for "Streets of San Francisco" - what a CV!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Williams_(composer)
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 3,889
    Some of my favourite sitcom openings:

    I really like this song and it's a neat idea to show the characters growing up!



    Gotta love Johnny Mathis! Editing is kinda cheesy!



    Finally, this one shows how you could use a theme song to introduce your characters. I love that they sing the song live and embrace the laughter and energy from the crowd!

  • Posts: 5,344
    Here are some of my favourites :







    From Great Britain :





    Can't do better than John Barry, right ?

    And from France :







    More to come.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,569
    Not sure it gets much better than this, for me! So cool.

  • Posts: 599
  • Posts: 4,541
    This is great and also clever as it starts with a formal "Guards" style march, reflecting the Steed era and then the funky stuff kicks in...



    and this is pure class....

  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns The Bright Side of the Road.
    edited April 2020 Posts: 19,403
    I listen to the series score frequently...

    ---
    I was only just listening to Miami Vice the other day, great music.
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns The Bright Side of the Road.
    Posts: 19,403
    Two great themes from my youth...



    ---


  • Posts: 1,841
    This is a great topic. Yeah, it's a lost art and we're worse for it. Given half-hours are what, about 17 minutes and 60-minutes roughly 40 if that, the theme is the casualty. Some of those really got you into the mood for what's coming up. This thread could go on a while.

    I've been watching the Mission: Impossibles as listed above and dig that they would show scenes from the upcoming episode as an added tease to the great theme. I won't add any links, but I'll nominate The Man from UNCLE with 4 different arrangements of the theme and credits for each season. Another of my favorite sitcoms, The Odd Couple, did that also I believe throughout its 5 seasons.

    The Simpsons set a new standard with variations each week.

    It's also weird when you look at a show like Friends that went on for like 9 years and still used the first season credits and theme throughout its run. My guess was the cast refused to film new ones.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,067
    Thanks guys! I haven’t stop smiling since @putb started this thread.
    Given that “All in the Family” has already been posted, I add two other Norman Lear Classics from my youth.



  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns The Bright Side of the Road.
    Posts: 19,403
    Which was the best Starsky and Hutch theme...

    Season 1

    Season 2

    Season 3

    Season 4


    A few great ones in there, Season 1 just wins for me.
  • Posts: 4,005

  • edited April 2020 Posts: 4,541
    Season 1 is Lalo Schifrin, one of THE greats. I think one thing we can say is that there was an era where great big screen composers also did great small screen writing and this is a perfect example.

    Re Battle of the Planets - if you just listened to the music, you would never guess it was a kids cartoon TV series. It genuinely sounds like a big screen sound track - thanks, I had forgotten that one.

    Can I add another?



    Happy Birthday Lee Majors - 80 tomorrow - "better, stronger, faster"

  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns The Bright Side of the Road.
    edited April 2020 Posts: 19,403
    patb wrote: »
    Season 1 is Lalo Schifrin, one of THE greats. I think one thing we can say is that there was an era where great big screen composers also did great small screen writing and this is a perfect example.

    Re Battle of the Planets - if you just listened to the music, you would never guess it was a kids cartoon TV series. It genuinely sounds like a big screen sound track - thanks, I had forgotten that one.

    Can I add another?


    Lalo is a legend I was listening to some of his work on Mission Impossible, Bullit and Enter the Dragon earlier on one of my Amazon Music playlists, Lalo is one of my favorite composers, amazing themes.

    Airwolf was a classic also, music in today's TV often falls flat with me usually generic and instantly forgettable.

    ---

    Another classic, this opening is just brilliant anyway...

  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,067
    Back in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, I did a mixtape of various “spy themes” to listen to on my long bus/train rides from work. These stood proudly among them.





    Question for the ages: Was character “The Prisoner” the same person as in “Secret Agent Man” (Danger Man)? When I watch the series, I always pretend that it is. But I guess only the late Patrick McGoohan knows for sure. Or did he?
    …and we think Timothy Dalton is intense!
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns The Bright Side of the Road.
    edited April 2020 Posts: 19,403
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Back in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, I did a mixtape of various “spy themes” to listen to on my long bus/train rides from work. These stood proudly among them.





    Question for the ages: Was character “The Prisoner” the same person as in “Secret Agent Man” (Danger Man)? When I watch the series, I always pretend that it is. But I guess only the late Patrick McGoohan knows for sure. Or did he?
    …and we think Timothy Dalton is intense!

    I had Secret Agent Man theme on cassette a Spy Movie/TV compilation years ago with various themes like Peter Gunn, Mission Impossible etc. Not heard that theme is ages, the TV show was before my time though I did watch The Prisoner numerous times on reruns.

    ---

    This theme captured the imagination back in the day...
  • Posts: 1,841
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Question for the ages: Was character “The Prisoner” the same person as in “Secret Agent Man” (Danger Man)? When I watch the series, I always pretend that it is. But I guess only the late Patrick McGoohan knows for sure. Or did he?
    …and we think Timothy Dalton is intense!

    That's one of the all-time fandom debate questions. I think he stated, at least at one point that No. 6 wasn't Drake, but there are plenty of fans who believe it is and have pointed out clues. McGoohan was almost as guarded and evasive as Bob Dylan at times.

    I like to think it is Drake. After all, Drake wasn't exactly satisfied with the job in a lot of those episodes where he was used or screwed over.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,067
    [quote="BT3366;c-1102451

    That's one of the all-time fandom debate questions. I think he stated, at least at one point that No. 6 wasn't Drake, but there are plenty of fans who believe it is and have pointed out clues. McGoohan was almost as guarded and evasive as Bob Dylan at times.

    I like to think it is Drake. After all, Drake wasn't exactly satisfied with the job in a lot of those episodes where he was used or screwed over. [/quote]

    Excellent point @BT336. Even as an 8-year-old, “The Prisoner” seemed unique in that its’ tone was different from anything else I saw on TV. I’m I the only one that thinks that the Hemingway House scene in LTK is a node to this?

    Any time I have to deal with bureaucratic institutions (IRS, DMV, etc.), I’m always tempted to scream “…I’m not a number, I’m a free man.” Alas, there is “The Village” of indifference and the “Rover” balloon if I should step out of line!

    Now for a little love for the theme songs of several Gerry and Sylvia TV shows:





  • Posts: 4,541
    Certain patterns are appearing. We see composers from the "Barry" era who have huge experience withn a culture of jazz/orchestra/composition/arrangement which is hard to find these days.That big, brass sound is evocative of a wonderful era together with melodies that live with you forever. Then, it moves into a more funky, hammond organ "Yeah baby" style (see below, that is still reliant on a full band). This theme for me is as classy and evocative as the MI theme (we need a live action movie series IMHO) - just listen to that snare!







  • edited April 2020 Posts: 5,863
    Gerard wrote: »
    Beautiful! I don't know the show but Barry Foster stars in it which can't be a bad thing.


    Gerard wrote: »
    Can't do better than John Barry, right ?
    That's right!







    And let's not forget this classic:




    Not sure it gets much better than this, for me! So cool.

    It's great, music and images! And I love the subliminal shot of the scale.

    ---

    I don't watch many recent TV series, but I understand on Netflix they don't even have intros anymore.

    From post-80s decades, I rather like this one. I love the icy synth.



    And this:



    I'd still rank these slightly below several 70s and 80s themes.
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