Top 10 Jammin' Ass TV Themes
To say television changed the world would be an understatement. From tragedy to triumph, TV has been a common thread among Americans and the rest of the world since it became popular after the second World War. We've watched Super Bowls, fights, disasters, concerts, and everything in between, and things went to a new level with the introduction of half hour to hour long shows. Instead of watching a 90 minute plus movie, audiences had a chance to share a connection with their favorite stars on a weekly bases.
We've all had that moment where we anxiously sit in front of the screen and go crazy when we hear the opening theme song to our favorite show. We smile or tense up knowing that when this song ends, we'll be thrown back into that world and pick up where we left off last week. The best theme songs are catchy (you always sing along to it), simple, and paint a picture of what that show is all about. With that being said, here's my list of the top 5 jammin' ass theme songs that are my personal favorite.
10. Diff'rent Strokes
This is a textbook theme song. It's catchy, it gives a backstory, and it includes the name of the show! The lyrics are so positive and uplifting, it almost makes me forget how creepy the dad looks shoving Arnold and Willis into his car (at least he isn't bicycle man creepy). I assume that everyone who watched this show sang the last line "Diff'rent Strokes rule the wuuuuuuuurld!" at the top of their lungs like I always do.
9. Golden Girls
If there was a word to describe a guilty pleasure that nobody is ashamed of, I would use that word for the Golden Girls theme song. I can't say that I'm a super fan of the show (I definitely don't hate it), but I can say I love the theme song. It totally paints the picture of what I would hope friendship means when I become a senior citizen, thank you cards for just being a friend.
8. Sanford and Son
3 words describe the theme song from Sanford and Son: this shit fonky! That funk comes from none other than the genius Quincy Jones. Even though there are no lyrics, the audience still gets a sense of what this show is all about. The opening bass line and guitar give you a signal that shit is about to go down, and by the time you get to the organ and harmonica, you're ready to party in the junkyard with Fred and Lamont.
7. Hey Arnold!
Here we have another theme song with virtually no lyrics, but I love for a few different reasons. First, if you've ever seen Hey Arnold!, then you know that it isn't your cookie cutter cartoon. Arnold is smooth, cool, mature for his age, and overall a chill bro, especially compared to his fellow Nickelodeon star Doug Funny (that kid was weird). The theme song matches that perfectly, it's jazzy, hip, and way cooler than Doug's theme song (fuck Doug was a weirdo). The only thing about the song that reminds it's a show for kids is Helga screaming "Hey Arnold" every 10 seconds. Also, it gives a great glimpse of his neighborhood, friends, and how he's perceived (the 'hood loves the kid!). The icing on the cake for me at the end when Helga screams "Move it football head!", and he steps aside and shows her the way like the boss ass gentleman he is. What a legend.
6. Law & Order (Law & Order SVU)
The original Law & Order theme song was classic. It built suspense, was a little menacing, and had just enough funky bass line. Then, when the spin-off Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, they turnt up and made it even better! I truly believe this theme song is 90% of the reason I can lose a whole day watching SVU marathons.
If you were a kid when Pokemon first came out, then you'll know that this theme song is an undeniable classic. The first time you saw it, you didn't know what the fuck a Pokemon was, but IT WAS YOUR DESTINY TO CATCH 'EM ALL. This song broke down what a Pokemon trainer is, and was super inspirational (who doesn't want to be the best, like no one ever was?). The counter melody chant "POKEMON! Gotta catch 'em alllll!" set that shit on FIRE, and made you want to run out of the house looking for some way before Pokemon Go ruined it for everybody.
4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The legendary Quincy Jones made my list twice, but this theme song is much different from Sanford & Son. Instead of an instrumental, we have bars from West Philadelphia's own Will Smith. This theme song was right on brand with the story raps that the Fresh Prince had become known for at the time, and it reminded us every episode how his life got flipped and turned upside down. This theme song has stood the test of time, and if you play it at a club today, 90s party or not, everyone is singing along. This song also ascended into pop culture, as seen in this video from Ellen of white woman dancing off beat and singing along.
This theme song was fire from the first "They say this is a big rich town!". The imagery and lyrics paint a perfect picture of the classy thug who is Ghost/James St. Patrick: New York skyline, fancy suits, guns, jewelry, and money. The slow start of the song is what gets fans excited and ready to sing along, which is why everyone went ape shit when 50 Cent decided to use a remix. Come on Fofty, you can't mess with a classic.
2. The Jeffersons
This is the first theme song on this list that has SOUL. Co-written and performed by Janet DuBois (Willona from Good Times) and a choir. When she said "We finally got a piece of the pie", Black America felt that. The visual of George Jefferson struttin' into that deluxe apartment was the Black American Dream personified. It took a whole lotta tryin' just to get up that hill. Sherman Hemsley (RIP) who played George also had another jammin' ass theme song featuring a choir with his later show, Amen.
1. Good Times
In my humble opinion, this theme song is not only FULL of soul and funk, but it also sums up the experiences of many Black Americans, then and now. We know what the struggle feels like, but we feel lucky when we do stumble upon those good times. This song is so iconic, it bred another classic moment when it was the topic of discussion in Dave Chappelle's "I Know Black People" sketch (which is part of the reason I added the lyric version of the theme song lol). If you think I missed any jammin' ass theme songs let me know in the comments or hit me up on Instagram @flossdawg. Also, don't forget to check out www.flossdawg.com and order some dope stuff for Christmas!