The Ten Best TV Theme Songs Featuring Piano

How to Play Piano by Ear A Great Skill e1335826957800 560x274The thing about TV themes is that they can either define a show, or become the one thing you remember about it. For example, everyone knows The A-Team theme, and because of it everyone remembers the show too. Well, that and the show was really cool. But what about shows like Webster? The theme featured “And Then Came You” and I bet you can vaguely recall the tune. But the show was so bland and lifeless — despite Emmanuel Lewis — that even I only remember little bits. The point is TV themes are powerful things since they typically are the first things you hear even before the show itself starts. In this case, we have the ten best examples that prominently feature a piano. And I’ll be willing to bet you remember each and every one, and likely the show.

10) Mad About You

Fun Fact: The show's theme song, "Final Frontier," was composed by Reiser and Don Was. The theme was originally performed by Andrew Gold, but a version performed by Anita Baker made its debut midway through the 1997 season. Baker's version was used for the rest of the show's run and appears on the show's soundtrack album. Gold's version is available on the collection Thank You For Being A Friend: The Best Of Andrew Gold. (Wikipedia)

9) The Greatest American Hero

Fun Fact: The theme song (and variants of the theme) are used frequently throughout. "Believe It or Not" was composed by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics) and sung by Joey Scarbury. The theme song became a popular hit during the show's run. "Believe it or Not" debuted in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 on May 9, 1981, eventually peaking at #2 during the weeks of August 15 and August 22; it spent a total of 18 weeks in the Top 40 and also peaked at the #1 position on the Record World Chart. (Wikipedia)

8) Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

Fun Fact: The miniature motorized trolley (which was known in character form as "Trolley"), with its accompanying fast-paced piano theme music, was the only element that appeared regularly in both the realistic world and Make-Believe: it was used to transport viewers from one realm to the other. Rogers, however, was mentioned from time to time in Make-Believe, particularly by Mr. McFeely, who appeared occasionally in the Make-Believe segments and seemed to form a link between the two worlds. The idea of the trolley came from Rogers, when he was young, there had been lots of trolleys operating in Pittsburgh and he liked riding on them. (Wikipedia)

7) All in the Family

Fun Fact: In the original version Jean Stapleton was wearing glasses and after the first time the lyric "Those Were The Days" was sung over the tonic (root chord of the song's key) the piano strikes a Dominant 7th chord in transition to the next part which is absent from subsequent versions. Jean Stapleton's screeching high note on the line "And you knew who you WEEERRE then" became louder, longer, and more comical, although it was only in the original version that audience laughter was heard in response to her rendition of the note.

Carroll O'Connor's pronunciation of "welfare state" gained more of Archie's trademark enunciation and the closing lyrics (especially "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great") were sung with increasingly deliberate articulation, as viewers had initially complained that they could not understand the words. (Wikipedia)

6) ER

Fun Fact: In 1996, Atlantic Records released an album of music from the first two seasons, featuring James Newton Howard's theme from the series in its on-air and full versions, selections from the weekly scores composed by Martin Davich (Howard scored the two-hour pilot, Davich scored all the subsequent episodes and wrote a new theme used from 2006-2009 until the final episode, when Howard's original theme returned) and songs used on the series. (Wikipedia)

5) Blossom

Fun Fact: The theme music was "My Opinionation" by Mike Post and Steve Geyer and performed by recording artist Dr. John. The opening sequence featured Blossom videoing herself dancing in her bedroom, performing aerobics, making silly faces, pretending to talk on the phone, etc. (Wikipedia)

4) The Incredible Hulk

Fun Fact: Joseph "Joe" Harnell, one of Kenneth Johnson's favorite composers, composed the music for The Incredible Hulk. He was brought into the production due to his involvement with The Bionic Woman, which Johnson had also created and produced. The score used at the beginning and closing credits was a piano piece called "The Lonely Man." Portions of "The Lonely Man" can be heard in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk. (Wikipedia)

3) ALF

Fun Fact: An ALF alarm clock is mentioned about 52 seconds into "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "eBay." There is no official video, but fans have assembled video montages which show a photograph of the actual alarm clock. (Wikipedia)

2) Cheers

Fun Fact: After several months of mulling over possible outside singers, the producers eventually asked Gary Portnoy to record the vocal for the opening credits of their new series. (The chorus of the song is six of Portnoy’s vocals that he recorded one on top of the other to create the "group sound" of the hook.) It was also decided to maintain the simple feel of the New York demo in the TV version by keeping the number of instruments to a minimum. The final Cheers theme was recorded on August 13, 1982 at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, California. (Wikipedia)

1) Hill Street Blues

Fun Fact: In 2006, The Who wrote a song called "Mike Post Theme," and songwriter Pete Townshend has confirmed that he took inspiration from the theme for Hill Street Blues. (Wikipedia)