The most memorable sitcom theme songs didn't simply open up a show; they embodied its spirit and sometimes the musical sensibilities of the day. When they're done right, TV sitcom theme songs remain a cultural touchstone, long after the show itself fades away.
Top TV Theme Songs
One of the most beloved TV themes of all time is the theme from Cheers, "Everybody Knows Your Name." The song captured what the show was about: a place where you went to be among friends. As a viewer, you knew that you could come into Cheers with troubles and leave feeling better because of the support and laughs you got while you were there, even if it was only for a half hour.
Another favorite is "Love Is All Around," the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The lyrics described a young woman embarking on her life and career. The upbeat song reflected the youthful idealism of the 1970s, offering a counterpoint to the grim news that all too often filled the airwaves during that tempestuous era. Thanks to a great bit of editing, you will always associate the song's final notes with Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat into the air.
It is interesting to note that the lyrics were originally, "You might just make it after all." When the show proved to be a hit, the lyric was changed to, "You're gonna make it after all." This iconic song has been covered by the likes of Joan Jett and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sometimes a song summed up the whole premise of the show, like the theme from Gilligan's Island. The whole backstory is explained and the characters are introduced in a catchy little ditty. A three-hour cruise winds up stranding five hapless passengers on a desert island that provides many wacky adventures.
The theme to the hit Friends, "I'll Be There for You," written and performed by The Rembrandts, is another case of the song explaining the general plot of the show. These loyal friends support each other through life's difficulties.
"Those were the Days" from All in the Family gave a preview of what to expect in the show. The show was all about the cultural challenges faced by a conservative blue-collar man who is forced to confront the changing times. You knew from the theme that the Bunkers were not going to embrace modern liberals, that Archie was in charge and that Edith was a little kooky.
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