Earworm Wednesday!

On another website recently, I got involved in a discussion of great TV theme songs.  For me the discussion begins and ends with this one, and if you disagree you’re going to Hell, is all.

This is Lalo Schifrin’s original version over an episode’s opening credits:

Here’s another longer, fuller orchestral version with great sound:

And finally, when  the film version came out, I thought Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen (the unknown half of the Irish rock group U2) did a fabulous job of bringing the piece into the 90s.

Now, if you’re one of those heathens that thinks Hawaii Five-O should move up from #2, or Hill Street Blues or the Greatest American Hero or some other claptrap can stand up to the heavyweight champ, then let’s have it out in the comments.  Please provide YouTube links.

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Author: Paul Krendler

The Thinking Man’s Zombie

38 thoughts on “Earworm Wednesday!”

  1. Blech!

    All bow down to the once and future king of all theme songs:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS8RVkaIM9c

    ‘My name is Banana Splits, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

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  2. I'm on my phone, so a link is a hurdle I can't clear, but my favorite is the Peter Gunn theme.

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  3. It's really hard to rank them, probably depending on which I've been listening to recently, and my mood. But all of them were ones I can here from the other room and know exactly what show it is.

    Yes, I've always been a big fan of the Post/Carpenter themes so yes, here is Hill Street Blues:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSOeRqNtQtM
    And of course The Rockford Files:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg1Cx26-928
    and Magnum P.I.:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBIgXhiOpeQ
    and Quantum Leap:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA-u32Ck9uY
    and St. Elsewhere:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkwIfZWZiDM

    Of the newer stuff, can't not include Firefly:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7vS4z6ngQo

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  4. Can't link right now but will provide later.

    MI is a great theme, but I was watching an old episode last night (Mr. Franks era w/Landau/Bain) and was more impressed with his music inside the episode which did a great job of telling the mood of the action and suspense. Some shows paid attention to that music as well as the main theme and you can always tell the difference.
    An example is Star Trek (original series (only one that counts) okay main theme, great interior music.

    Great theme: Johnny Quest as well as the music cues and backgrounds inside the episodes.

    It's not music but I could always tell when an episode was going to be good by the Zerbe level. How much Anthony Zerbe is in this episode? One of the great character actors of TV and movies.

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  5. I'll not debate the wisdom of the BEST theme. However, if we discuss the recognition factor, MI is on the top of the list. Another MOST recognizable..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdjL8WXjlGI

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  6. This earworm has me on a youtube wander, in many ways worse than a wikiwander.

    Another series whose theme I always enjoyed, Simon & Simon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDhz_mVcVCQ

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  7. Ah, children of the 70's. Let this wash over you yet again. Great? Maybe not. One of those themes you can hear the first 5 notes of and instantly know what show it was from? Absolutely.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_WIF51l67Q

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  8. I don't even know you people anymore. What happened to us?

    When I come back, I expect everyone to have changed their preferences to the Splits. If not, I'll be forced to continue to ask.

    FOCUS!

    You have 4 hours.

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    1. I had forgotten that one. Here's one, again not necessarily great, but at least I find it hard to get the opening drums out of my head:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmuiMX1J9TA

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  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85jKDa2zpus&sns=em

    Bwahahahaaaa! How much do y'all hate me?! LOL!

    And, yes. I will understand if this results in a permaban from TMZ. 😉

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  10. You Americans. There's a whole 'nuther world out there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JOXTWqzw2I

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  11. I'm showing my age I guess:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELRaqSzEKew

    And if this wasn't the inspiration for Austin Powers, I don't know what was.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pRmy2NktRc

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    1. You evil man, I have just watched the first two episodes of UFO. Gabriella Drake, rule 5.

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  12. Also posted at Hogewash!

    There is a nomination on the floor at FUPP - could use your input/vote when you're done here. 🙂

    And for someone to clean it up.

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  13. Who knew you could fly Allegiant Air right into Hagerstown. About the same distance as BWI and much less hassle.

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  14. From a musician's standpoint, one of the best themes for a show ever
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okafNPLStwU (I love the use of morse code in the piece.)

    And the Danger Man theme with it's harpsichord made me think of this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKEz_1C9U7Y

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  15. You guys are a hoot. These are all great, and I have one here for the Brits. Take a look at the young Roger Moore:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC9m0h4ZujY

    And for best song, I nominate ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrkrQXuDq24

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  16. You know what this walk down memory lane makes me realize? Most modern theme music stinks.

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  17. Wait! This version is much better, plus some Rule 5

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ9xfNn09eQ

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  18. The Green Hornet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIwsqFjfKPs

    Speed Racer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auszi9bUr3o

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  19. Mannix:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mznUMYY7YC8

    Emergency!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGLKXAJeASs

    Sunday Mystery Movie:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaWuXHMrwXo

    BONANZA!!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjdRgBAY278

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