I grew up watching a lot of TV and I do mean a lot! It’s strange because now, in comparison to my childhood years, I hardly watch TV at all. I put that down the fact that most shows today just aren’t as top quality as the programs I grew up. Yeah, I know – I’ve been accused of being biased many times!
However it’s not just the shows themselves that are memorable – the theme tunes and opening credits of many of this shows have made an impact and are equally unforgettable. So here’s my list of the TV theme tunes that we didn’t just like listening to but we sang along with as well.
Composed By: Tony Hatch
Lyrics: Jackie Trent
Performed by: Barry Crocker
I don’t care what anyone says – the Neighbours theme tune may have been revamped and jazzed up a million times, but for me, the original theme tune is undoubtedly the best.
Even now I get all nostalgic when I hear it. It reminds me of my childhood years; the early days of the Aussie soap, and a time when Neighbours was extremely addictive. Whether it sounds dated or not is debateable, but I think it has a certain charm and quality that the current one just doesn’t have. Sorry! Barry Crocker’s vocals suit the song perfectly. It makes you want to be good neighbours with your, er, neighbours!
The song was created by the legendary Hatch and Trent. Jackie Trent explained that the soap was originally going to be called Ramsay Street, but it was a little too close to Coronation street, which at the time 9and still is) Britain’s longest running soap. The song Jackie penned with her husband Tony was called Neighbours – which was the name that they eventually settled on for the soap. So the theme really did have a huge impact on the actual soap.
2.HOME AND AWAY
Title: Home And Away
Composed By: Mike Perjanic
Lyrics: Mike Perjanic
Performed by: Mark Williams and Karen Boddington
Neighbours’ rival Aussie soap also had a fantastic theme song. It was a show about foster families and second chances, and the lyrics of the song fit in perfectly with the show’s concept. I stopped watching Home and Away a long time ago, mainly because it just wasn’t the same without Bobby, Pippa, Fisher and co. What I loved about the original were the vocals of Mark and Karen which were extremely powerful and full of emotion.
3. DIFFERENT STROKES
Title: It takes Diff’rent Strokes
Composed By: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton
Performed by: Alan Thicke
This American sit-com was a huge family favourite, and was very popular when I was growing up. It was on television a lot when I was a child but I wasn’;t old enough to fully appreciate it. But I began watching Different Strokes again about a decade a go, and Arnold’s capers had me howling. And I fell in love with that theme song all over again. Incidentally Alan Thicke, who composed the theme song, is the father of singer Robin Thicke.
What? You don’t like the song?
What you talking about, Willis?
4. ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES
Title: Only Fools And Horses and Hooky Street
Composed By: John Sullivan
Lyrics: John Sullivan
Performed by: John Sullivan
It’s not just the show that’s iconic – the theme song is too. Well theme songs I should say as the opening and closing credits featured different songs. Only Fools And Horses was used for the opening credits, while Hooky Street was used for the closing. The Beeb insisted on using a saxophone instrumental by Ronnie Hazelhurst for the credits of the first series. But when it came to the second series, the show’s creator, John Sullivan, put his foot down and told the BBC to use the theme songs he had created. And he was right to do so as both songs totally capture what the show’s about: Cockney wide-boys, wheeling and dealing, the market trade and selling hookey gear. For years I was convinced that it was Nicholas Lyndhurst -aka Rodders – who was singing the show’s theme songs but it wasn’t. Both songs feature the show’s creator, John Sullivan’s vocals. But the two sounded so similar, I was sure that there was a mistake in the credits and it really was Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Title: I’ll Be There For You
Composed By: David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Michael Skloff, Allee Willis, Phil Solem, and David Wild
Performed by: The Rembrandts
Probably the most famous theme song in the world. It took six people to write this song, and it’s the only hit that The Rembrandts are famous for which seems a little sad, but then that’s their fault for co-creating a song so amazing that it was all the fans wanted to hear. The theme song was just under a minute long but a year later it was released as a three minute pop song. The video for the song features hilarious antics from the Friends cast.
Composed By: Muff Murfin
Everyone at school was Gladiators crazy – and this was long before Russell Crowe came along! This contest which tested competitors sporting abilities was massive back in the early ’90s. We didn’t have X-Factor then – this was our Saturday night viewing. And the theme song did just the right job in getting you hyped up.
7. SURPRISE, SURPRISE
Title: Surprise, Surprise (original) and Life Is Full Of Surprises
A show hosted by Cilla Black which was all about… surprises! It was a show in which ordinary, unsuspecting people were reunited with long-lost friends or relative, or were rewarded for some kind deed. I remember in one episode, I spotted an acquaintance in the audience as a member of her family was there to be ‘surprised.’ Cilla used to open and close the show by singing the theme songs. There were two theme tunes as I recall. The original one was slower and was written by Kate Robbins.There was a more fast paced one and a much slower one. After series eight, there was a new more up-tempo theme tune. I remember how kids at school used to change the lyrics of the slower theme song:
“Surprise, Surprise… you’ve got tomato ketchup between your eyes…” Oh those were the days!
8. THE GENERATION GAME
Composed By: Ronnie Hazlehurst
Performed by: Bruce Forsythe
Year: 1971-77, 1990-94
Oh how I loved this show! And how I miss it. Back in the early ’90s, Friday nights were Generation Game nights. I never got to watch The Generation Game when it was hosted by Bruce Forsythe and Anthea Redfern, or by Larry Grayson and Isla St. Clair. Bruce Forsythe was at the helm again with Rosemarie Ford when I started watching it. The theme tune as I knew it was a revamped version of the original tune. I know that I liked it, but I’m sure that viewers who watched the show first time around probably preferred the original. I’ve heard that it’s making a comeback with Miranda Hart as the host. I just hope that they keep that fantastic theme song.
Title: I’m Always Here
Composed By: Jimi Jamison, Cory Lerios, John D’Andrea and Joe Henry
Performed by: Jimi Jamison
I’m sure that this theme is as familiar as the red swim wear that featured on the show. It’s probably up there with the Friends theme as the most easily recognised and well-known – even after all this time. The vocals were by Jimi Jamison of legendary rock outfit, Survivor. At my friend’s hen party last year, the DJ actually played the Baywatch theme – cue much hilarious beach running antics!
10. THE LITTLEST HOBO
Title: maybe Tomorrow
Composed By: Terry Bush
Lyrics by: John Crossen
Performed by: Terry Bush
I loved this Canadian show when I was growing up. It was about a dog who travelled from place to place, having adventures, and helping those in need. Great family entertainment. My mate Dave aka Pancake Lady, posted the lyrics from the theme on Facebook recently so I have her to thank for jogging my memory.