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Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: Television Themes Part Two (Game of Thrones, Batman, Cheers, etc..)

Mar. 15, 2013by: Paul Huffman
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There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever.

Classic scores blaring through the speakers of a packed theater is one thing, then there's the memorable themes we hear every week before we are treated to another episode of our favorite television shows. Now as the sea of television shows and memorable theme songs are so vast, I couldn't possibly fit them all into one article (click here for Part 1), so what I've done is hit you the best of the best from today and sprinkled some awesome classics in the there. Don't you worry, if your favorite hasn't been included...it more than likely will be. Until then, enjoy what happened to pop into my head this week.

1. GAME OF THRONES

Ramin Djawadi is the man who gets the credit for scoring the theme that gets us pumped up for what many (including myself) to be one of the best television efforts in years. Due to Djawadi replacing the previously planned composer for the series Stephen Warbeck, the soundtrack was composed what I bet was ten short weeks before the shows big premiere. This kick ass main title works its way into snippets of reprisals in the rest of the shows soundtrack, and accompanied some pretty important scenes. I chose to feature season 2s soundtrack in particular for featuring the track The Rains of Castamere by indie rock band The National, the song can be heard in the closing credits of season 2 episode Blackwater.

2. BATMAN THE SERIES

As a child, my father would often find appropriate moments to get down with the whole na-na-na-na-na-na-na-batman shtick and at that point in time while I found it amusing I had no idea where in the hell where he was getting this from. Fast forward a few years later, I was introduced to the 60s cheese and I loved every second of it. Neal Hefti composed a short but sweet theme that took only a guitar hook, four tenors , four sopranos, crying out Batman to make iconic enough for classic bands and artists like The Who, R.E.M and Prince to parody the theme. The R.E.M track in question was a song that was ultimately rejected for the Batman Returns soundtrack.

3. COPS

The reggae band Inner Circle originally released Bad Boys on their 1987 album One Way. The track peaked at #58 on UK charts and at #8 in the United States. The song was selected for cops because the field producer of the show was known to be a fan of Inner Circle. It has transcended television, a fact which I know because I was recently informed my police officer uncle was a fun of playing the song as he was pulling over a few selected folks, a habit which has probably been echoed by cops worldwide. If I were to attempt to sing this song it would most likely be akin to Will Smith and Martin Lawrences failures at an accurate rendition in their Bad Boys films.

4. THE ADDAMS FAMILY

All it took for Vic Mizzy to put together a theme that would be loved throughout the ages is a few snaps and some catchy lyrics to describe one of everybodys favorite families. I cant picture any family sitting on the couch watching this series in its prime not snapping along, I know I would make sure mine would. The theme appeared in the first two theatrical Addams Family films as well as the 1992 animated series adaption, of which I was a fan. And then, whether you want to remember it or notthe song was paid homage to by MC Hammer himself in his rendition for the first film in his single Addams Grove. Yes you read that right.

5. THE A-TEAM

Mike Post and Pete Carpenter were the brilliant duo that was brought together to rock our worlds with this classic series opening theme. A-Team was before my time, but I was able to track down a few episodes that featured the varied professional wrestlers that have made appearances over the years, and happy to report the theme did its job in pumping me up for the proceedings each and every time. The A-Team theme was featured on TVTs Television Greatest Hits: 70s and 80s. How can JoBlo.com, in good conscience not give A-Team the same love? In conclusion, I just love it when a great theme comes together.

6. CHEERS

Written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, and performed by Gary Portnoy Where Everybody Knows Your Name captured the spirit of Cheers enough to earn itself a well-deserved Emmy in 1983. The journey for the duo that created this song was a hell of a ride, with the team going through a couple of different proposed themes that were rejected, then magically landed on lyrics that would embody perfectly what would pull people to a welcoming joint like Cheers. In a 2011 Rolling Stones poll, this theme was voted the best television theme of all time. Do any of you agree with that verdict?

7. THE MUPPET SHOW

Oh the fond memories I have of the Muppets. The original Muppet Show theme was composed by the late great Jim Henson and Sam Pottle in 1976, and unlike most themes was reworked with different lyrics with each passing season. One cannot describe in words the level of nostalgia that was felt hearing the Muppet show blaring through the speakers for that short time in the latest Muppets film, and I hope more opportunities for it arise. Last year the theme was covered by band OK Go for Muppets: The Green Album, it came equipped with a music video, and reached 14th place on the Canadian Albums Chart.

8. LAW & ORDER

The Law & Order theme, composed by Mike Post always struck me as a slower version of The Peoples Court theme, the Law & Order theme lets us know that sh*t is about to get real. Ive always been a big fan of the original Law & Order series and there is just something I cant describe about how fitting the shows theme is for it. Perhaps its because the opening credit sequence was very well done and pulled you in that much more. Mike Post is also known for composing for other classic shows such as NYPD Blue, The Rockford Files, Quantum Leap, Magnum P.I, and Hill Street Blues. Damn, I could dedicate a whole column solely to this man.

HONORABLE MENTION: SCOOBY-DOO
Extra Tidbit: You know how we do things, give me some more suggestions for part 3 of Best Television Themes that is indeed coming. Way to much material to cover.
Source: JoBlo

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5:48PM on 04/30/2014

Would love to see AIRWOLF on that TV soundtracks list

Lots of 80s shows to add to The A-Team listing, like 'Street Hawk' (by Tangerine Dream - TD fans have cried out for it for years now), Miami Vice (score, not the songs) and a few others. But it's 'AIRWOLF' that is probably the most iconic of those mid-80s shows that has stood the test of time. e.g. [link] - you just knew when that music played that the bad guys were going to get themselves and their aircraft blown away.
Lots of 80s shows to add to The A-Team listing, like 'Street Hawk' (by Tangerine Dream - TD fans have cried out for it for years now), Miami Vice (score, not the songs) and a few others. But it's 'AIRWOLF' that is probably the most iconic of those mid-80s shows that has stood the test of time. e.g. [link] - you just knew when that music played that the bad guys were going to get themselves and their aircraft blown away.
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3:46AM on 03/15/2013
Does TV shows' themes include cartoons as well? I'm an 80s kid and 80s to around late 90s have great theme songs for cartoon shows.
Does TV shows' themes include cartoons as well? I'm an 80s kid and 80s to around late 90s have great theme songs for cartoon shows.
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12:38PM on 03/15/2013
Cartoons qualify indeed! I was considering adding one of my favorites 'Darkwing Duck' into this article. Perhaps the next one :)
Cartoons qualify indeed! I was considering adding one of my favorites 'Darkwing Duck' into this article. Perhaps the next one :)
1:08PM on 03/15/2013
I really wish some records company would release a collection of Hanna Barbara cartoon themes. They have the best theme songs - short and very catchy. And Jonny Quest theme is timeless.
I really wish some records company would release a collection of Hanna Barbara cartoon themes. They have the best theme songs - short and very catchy. And Jonny Quest theme is timeless.
+1
2:08AM on 03/15/2013
Barney Miller, Sanford and Son, Air Wolf, Knight Rider, Swat. Man, the list goes on and on.
Barney Miller, Sanford and Son, Air Wolf, Knight Rider, Swat. Man, the list goes on and on.
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