The lost art of television themes

"Lost" and "24" had their endings. Read about "L&O" ending, courtesy of the NY Times.

I have an eccentric passion that I enjoy listening to and with the help of YouTube, I can watch. I’m a big fan of television show themes.  Not the short 5 second opening that shows the title and fades out to a commercial.  There are iconic themes that link us to the shows that has kept us entertained through the years.  “Law and Order” ended it’s long 20-year run Monday night, but that popular theme by Mike Post will remain ingrained in our minds.

Ever wonder what the full version sounds like?

With the inspiration from Andrew Clark (aka The Brand Chef) with his “Groove of the Day” and the website Fang Bites who is currently listing the best sports themes, by sport, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of my favorite t.v. show themes from across the spectrum.  Today, I have a few from England I want to share.

“Coronation Street” is a prime-time soap opera on ITV.  “Corrie” for short is one of the longest running series in world television history that will mark it’s 50th anniversary on television this winter.  The instrumental is very smooth and slow, like a warm summer day, though the show is depicted in a tough, worn down neighborhood in London.

“Danger Man” is considered to be one of the best television spy shows made.  In America, it was called “Secret Agent” with the wildly popular U.S. theme (and song) done by Johnny Rivers.  This is the original theme version by Edward Astley titled “Highwire.”

Here is the American version:

“The Prisoner”, the series I referenced to on Monday about “Lost”, stars Patrick McGoohan, who also starred in “Danger Man.”  McGoohan played an agent who decides to resign, only to be sent to an undisclosed island, where he poked and prodded to give the “real” reason he’s quitting.

The next one is the theme from “The Sweeney” starring John Thaw, who later became universally known as Inspector Morse on PBS series “Mystery.” Thaw and Dennis Waterman played two cops in a special unit charged in tackling armed robbery and violent crimes.

The final one for now is the beautiful moving theme from the Inspector Morse series.

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3 thoughts on “The lost art of television themes

  1. The Rockford Files was done by Mike Post. Quincy Jones also did Ironside and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, to name a few.

    What I would like to do is to categorize the themes and then post them. There are a few British shows that had American actors (Tony Curtis, Gene Barry, and Stuart Damon), Australian shows, and some long-lost American shows that we remember but have forgotten about.

  2. Mike post wrote a number of themes for some great TV shows. I think the Rockford Files was one of his best. It got a lot of play on top-40 stations in the 70s. And so did the theme from Hill Street Blues.
    And the theme from Mission: Impossible is recognized by almost everyone.
    I use to have a cassette tape titled “Big Screen, Little Screen” that had a collection of great themes from TV and movies in the 60s and 70s. Or it could have been an 8-track.

  3. Hey! thanks for the link back to The Brand Chef’s Ger-Going Groove!

    It’s great to have you in the mix! Great stuff! I Love the classic television themes and even some here you’ve linked to that I’d never heard… But you forgot two of the best themes ever… one even written and produced by the great Quincy Jones!!!

    Sanford & Son: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5DnqW3F57E
    The Rockford Files: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtpoO_DlDM

    Both are in my ringtones! 🙂

    Keep Cooking!
    Andrew B. Clark
    The Brand Chef

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