MusicThrowback ThursdayTVVideos

The 20 Greatest TV Show Theme Songs of All Time

I miss the times when TV show theme songs were big. Back when the opening credits was about laying the groundwork, giving you some context or just telling you the background story. We spent the first 1.5 minutes of each show just jamming, singing along and getting ready for our favorite characters.

TV show jingle writers really were geniuses in giving us the synopsis in such small bites and the opening of shows were part of the experience. Now, shows just start. No prep or nothing.

But yes, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. Below are my top 20 favorite TV show theme songs of ALL TIME. This list was SO HARD but here they are in no particular order (because seriously. Who can rank these? NOT ME).

Top TV Theme Songs

The Jeffersons

Because we cannot forget how the Jeffersons moved on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky. On the East side, of course. Plus, George and Weezy were Shady Royalty.

The Brady Bunch

The story of a lovely lady with 3 girls who met a dude with 3 boys and their meshed family. Oh, and Alice.

Good Times

Even though they didn’t have any good times until the end. We still rooted for them.

Cheers

Where everybody knows your name. Especially if it’s Norm.

Fresh Prince

He got in one little fight and got a life upgrade, basically.

Some people haven’t heard the full version of the Fresh Prince theme song. Getchu a piece. Learn that too.

Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend. And for Sofia Petrillo the Side-Eye Sorceress. And Dorothy’s shoulder pads. And Blanche’s floozy-ness. And Rose.

Happy Days

Monday, Tuesday, Happy Days. And the Fonz’s bad ass leather jacket.

Facts of Life

“You take the good you take the bad and there you have the Facts of Life.” Come on, life manual!

All in the Family

Those were the days!

Amen

Turn all the lights of Heaven on and let the song take you to CHU’CH. I can’t help but do a church scoot when I hear this. And clap heavily.

Living Single

In a 90s kinda world, I wish I was friends with all of them. I’ve actually met 3 of them!

Diff’rent Strokes

Whatchu talking ’bout, Willis? Everybody’s got a special kind of story!

Gilligan’s Island

The Professor, Mary Ann, The Skipper and Gilligan: Survivor Before Survivor.

Three’s Company

We’ve been waiting for you at the DOE (*head to the side*). Because being a third wheel can be hilarious.

227

There’s no place like home! Especially when you got Miss Pearl on the lookout.

The Nanny

She’s the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan.

Full House

HEYYY Uncle Jesse!

Friends

When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year, get the Rachel haircut.

Family Matters

We’re still wondering why Judy went upstairs and never came down.

A Different World

The reason many people went to HBCUs. I wanted to go to Hillman so bad. I still wanna go.


So there you have it! These are my top 20 and I have spent the last hour singing at the top of my lungs. I STILL know every word to every one of these. One day, this super power will come in handy.

What show’s songs am I missing that you’d like to see here? IT WAS SO HARD TO PICK JUST 20!!!

Edit: There’s a separate list coming for animated show theme songs. Animaniacs is HIGH on that list.

Previous post

My Meetup with BAKE in Nairobi, Kenya Was Fantastic!

Next post

Petty Prayers You Might Need One Day

88 Comments

  1. April 9, 2015 at 7:22 am

    you have me missing my grandma so much this morning. She loved all those shows. And how could I forget about Amen!!!!

    Also different world was my SHOW I even loved the last season when Boyz to Men sung the theme song. I would dance around the living room in my cross colors.

    • Denise
      April 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Oh Amber I said the same thing!! These shows got me wanting to call my grandmother and I can’t!! Oh the memories!!

    • howlingbanshee
      April 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Yes! AMEN was everything; Sis. Vanessa Bell Armstrong took us all the way in and my little pig-tailed self loved every note and beat of that intro. I even did the Deacon Frye strut along with him after he got out of that car. Also, I may or may not have hated the name “Thelma” and/or rolled my eyes at every character subsequently played by Anna Maria Horsford because I wanted Rev. Gregory to wait for me to grow up so he could be my man.
      And then Mr. Davis turns round and gets cast in a play as the husband of somebody my age (Michelle Williams) …chile…

      Anywho, great list, memory lane, all that good stuff

  2. AB
    April 9, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I has a sad because the theme songs from Growing Pains and The Greatest American Hero ain’t on here. Otherwise, great list.

    • Shae
      April 9, 2015 at 7:39 am

      I must agree with you on The Greatest American Hero. I loved (okay still love) that song. Also…The Love Boat…”Love…exciting and new. Come aboard…We’re expecting yoooouuu…”

  3. Eleasha
    April 9, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I am obsessed with the TV theme song! I use to buy CD’s filled with just theme songs. The Love Boat, Growing Pains, Family Ties ( Sha la la laaaaa), the Greatest American Hero, WKRP in Cincinatti!! I could go on and on! Don’t get me started on cartoons! Fat Albert anybody!! These children just don’t know what they are missing!

  4. Kellee S
    April 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

    And here I was thinking that I was the only one with this super power! Great list!

  5. Vanessa L.P.
    April 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I’m gonna have to go way back on this… Mary Tyler Moore. Who can turn the world on with her smile?

    • howlingbanshee
      April 10, 2015 at 10:29 am

      I was expecting to see this on the list, for sure. But this list is still awesome.

      *ESPECIALLY* ’cause of “Amen.”

      Vanessa Bell Armstrong took us ALL the way INNN on that one.

      Also, I still don’t like the name Thelma because that’s who took my dream man. (And then Michelle Williams got to play his wife in a PLAY?? Now you KNOW Mr. Clifton Davis is the poster-gentleman for timeless fine-ness if he was my hearthrob when I was a little girl and years later, gets cast opposite of someone my same age as her play husband).

      Anywho.

      I need a full series DVD set of “Amen” in my life.
      For my sake.
      For my children.
      For the love of all things humane and holy.
      Universe. Hear me. And deliver.

  6. Toledo Boogz
    April 9, 2015 at 7:53 am

    So of course you know, there gone be folks that will submitt some we think didn’t cross your mine. Or you wasn’t round during them times. So these Honorable Mentions are humbly submitted, if course:

    “Barney Miller”: that baseline had to be the funkiest on television!
    “Sandford and Son”: ya big dummy!
    “Alice”: cause there’s a new girl in town.
    “The Electric Company”: PBS is TV too and by that standard you gotta go, “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood”.
    “The Pink Panther”: cause he was cool in pink way before The Dipset.
    “The Monkees”: and people say we monkey around.
    “Perfect Strangers”: don’t be ridiculous.
    Any Sid and Marty Krofft kid show, “Sigmund and The Seamonsters”, “The Land of the Lost”, “The Bugaloos”, “H.R. Pufnstuf”, etc.
    “Welcome Back Kotter”: cause Minister Ma$e thought it was so good he made it a whole new song.

    • Kk
      April 9, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Yaasssss! This list is when I officially figured out that Luvvie is younger than I am. The only thing that’s still missing is “Sounds of Philadelphia.” How can a list of the greatest TV theme songs be complete without the one that brought every black household in America to a full and complete stop every Saturday afternoon for over a decade?

      • Vanessa L. P.
        April 8, 2016 at 6:17 am

        I’m just gon’ throw up that black power fist on this one because….

    • StillSuga
      April 9, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Yes!! I had all of the side eye when Perfect Strangers didn’t make the list!! “Standing taaaaallllllllllllllll on the wings of my dreams! Rise and faaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll on the wings on my dreams! The rain and thunder, the wind and haze are bound for better days (aaaaahhh ahhhhh) My life, my dream, nothin’s gonna stop me now “

    • legitimate_soul
      April 11, 2015 at 1:15 am

      Yes, to alla deez. Your additions are awesome. I humbly submit “The Wonder Years” theme song. Joe Cocker FTW!

  7. April 9, 2015 at 7:56 am

    You know Judy went upstairs and never came down cause she used Urkel’s “Matter Transporter” to send herself to L.A., where she quickly got inducted into pr0n.

  8. Marley80
    April 9, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Love this! Honorable Mention- “Perfect Strangers,” “Roc” ( the En Vogue version), “Family Ties” and “Growing Pains.”

  9. Lyte
    April 9, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I want to add
    Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, Wondered whatever became of me, I’m living on the air in Cincinnati,
    Cincinnati, WKRP

    Loved this show…and for my all time favorite

    And now let’s get things started
    Why don’t you get things started
    It’s time to get things started
    On the most sensational inspirational celebrational Muppetational
    This is what we call the Muppet Show!

    There is a rumor that they are bringing the Muppet Show back and I AM HERE FOR ALL OF IT!!!!
    birdy birdy birdy…

    • Kk
      April 9, 2015 at 8:32 am

      So glad you remembered The Muppet Show! That was another one that used to bring the house to a stand-still every Saturday!

  10. MsBrome
    April 9, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Amen is Still the Jam! But the theme from MAUDE was done by Donny Hathaway!!!

    • Kenyatta
      April 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Right on, Maude! Yes!

    • Aishaelan
      April 26, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Man…I was just about to be really disappointed in folks if no one mentioned Maude! This could have been a “A” side on a 45 yo.

  11. tamara
    April 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Love these! Honorable mentions:
    1. Silver Spoons: here we are face to face looking for silver spoons
    2. Growing Pains: As long as we got each other…
    3. Family Ties

  12. April 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I love this list, but you forgot to add In Living Color’s theme song.

    This theme song was like a night out at the club….LOL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pogY-dXPus

  13. April 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Love this list!!! Also will add the ‘Proud Family’ theme song

    https://youtu.be/1k1IfrKO4Nk

  14. MissTish
    April 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Partridge Family and Wonder Woman, One Day At a Time…Y’all got me on these inter-webs early in the morning, showing my age!

  15. Tiphaniejay
    April 9, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Love and remember all of these!!! I stand in agreement and have 1 to add that I didn’t see mentioned: Wonder Years!

    • April 10, 2015 at 8:06 am

      YAHZ! I was like you can’t forget The Wonder Years! “Lend me yo ear and I’ll sing you a song/I will try not to sing outta key!”

  16. April 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

    It’s a cartoon, but the Proud Family theme song was and still is the bomb.com. Solange and Destiny’s Child? Yes, please!

  17. Tiffany
    April 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I loved the Half and Half theme song.

  18. April 9, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Hands down, my two favs are 1)Gilligan Island (theme song told the whole story)
    2)All in the family (you gotta love Archie)!
    I guess my picks really tells my age

  19. Ashley
    April 9, 2015 at 10:58 am

    A few more that I love:

    That’s So Raven
    Hanging With Mr.Cooper
    Boy Meets World
    Jamie Foxx Show
    Dawson’s Creek (don’t judge)
    7th Heaven
    That 70’s Show
    Sister, Sister (especially when they got grown and sassy with it)
    All That (because who wasn’t jumping off the couch at home singing)
    Kenan & Kel

  20. shonda
    April 9, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Wayment…where is the love for Nell Carter in Gimme A Break…. she laced that… …”im tired of pretending, i want a happy ending ..wont let them get the best of me… whoa whoa whoa..gimme a break! “

    • Shay DeShade
      April 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Both Gimme A Break versions give me LIFE!

  21. Keisha Tyree
    April 9, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Yessss! All these memories gave me full bodied LIFE this morning. I’d just like to add the “Fraggel Rock” theme song in there. I think it came on HBO in the early 80’s. That was my show!! “Down with Fraggel rock!” *Clap clap*.

    • TL
      April 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      I was just going to say this! Best theme song ever!

  22. K'Lia
    April 9, 2015 at 11:28 am

    You’re definitely missing the Sister, Sister and The Proud Family theme songs.

  23. Lauren
    April 9, 2015 at 11:58 am

    1. The jazzy voice of the Mr. Belvedere theme song (also the A-L-L stainlifter that’s aaaallll commercial voice)

    2. Bosom Buddies – you HAVE to love Billy Joel

    3. And let’s throw in The Gummy Bears for good measure. Gummy Bears bouncing here and there and everywhere, want adventure they’re beyond compare, they are the Gummy bears!

  24. April 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The Beverly Hillbillies and Andy Griffith. It was the ultimate whistle challenge.

  25. April 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The Dukes of Hazzard, Rockford Files, The Fall Guy, Sanford and Son, Welcome Back Kotter, Bonanza, I love Lucy, Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Three Stooges, Littles Rascals, Looney Tunes, Beavis and Butthead, Mickey Mouse, Hardcastle and McCormick.

  26. Serenity
    April 9, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    You forgot Welcome Back Kotter

  27. Diane
    April 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    The Fall Guy

  28. Shay DeShade
    April 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Girlfriends!

  29. pup
    April 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I know this is before your time, but “Maude” was everything. Donny Hathaway too?! Lawd.

    • MommieDearest
      April 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      YAS to Maude!!! I loved that song. I loved Bea Author then and I loved her in Golden Girls. She is the Queen of the “blank stare-side eye combo” look.

      I can see from other songs mentioned that I’m not the only on up in here who is of a certain age, I’m also going to throw in some more oldies but goodies: “Phyllis” (…it sure isn’t YOUUUUUU), “Batman” (dadadadada…BATMAAAAN), “The Patty Duke Show” (…when cousins are two of a kind) and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (People let me tell ya ’bout my best friend) Yes, I watched A LOT of television when I was a kid.

  30. Yvette Mc
    April 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    OMG!! Best post Eva… well not really all your posts are great!! But this post has had me at the desk singing and dancing and realizing I am old- because I remember everything on your list and all the ad ons from the 70’s early 80’s..

  31. MzGSquared
    April 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Gimme a Break!!

  32. notconvincedgranny
    April 9, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Hill St. Blues – both the Mike Post and Rodney Franklin jazz versions.

  33. Ogech
    April 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I loved Moesha’s Theme Song!

  34. NOLAgirl
    April 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I love the theme show to Maude, and Gimme a break, GREEN ACRES… and I too watch too much television, so I might have too many to share.

  35. Allie
    April 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I nominate Pinky and the Brain for the animated TV show theme song list. “One is a genius, the other’s insane”.

  36. i'm sleep tho...
    April 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    love these, but where’s i dream of jeannie and bewitched? good music and super cute animations

  37. Patrice
    April 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Love this list but I have a few that could be on there too. Mary Tyler Moore and Laverne & Shirley!

  38. PurpleShoesLA
    April 9, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    How perfect for #TBT! I. AM. OLD. BUT. I. DON’T CARE. My faves:
    Taxi
    Starsky & Hutch
    Get Christy Love- “you’re under arrest sugah”
    Mod Squad – I was gonna marry Linc, I really was 🙂
    Room 222 – I wanted to go to Walt Whitman High so I could have Lloyd Haynes & Denise Nicholas as my teachers!
    Love American Style
    The Bill Cosby Show (the first one in the late 60’s – Hoo Lawd!)

  39. Dantotsu
    April 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Luvvie, you picked some great ones! My all time favs were Amen and Fresh Prince. Had me jamming on every intro. My newest favorite intro is Game of Thrones! I come to attention everytime I hear it! LOL! #addicted

  40. Shygyrl50
    April 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Moonlighting (Al Jarreau)

  41. Ali
    April 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Reading Rainbow had the best theme song ever. I used to be so disappointed if I missed that song.

  42. SIPort
    April 9, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Luvvie, I appreciate your list, but you’re missing quite a few.

    Hawaii Five-O: How many shows have a theme song that is played by every high school and college band in the country?

    Mission Impossible

    Sanford and Son

    Dallas

    Dynasty

    The Love Boat

    MASH

    The Dukes of Hazzard

    Bonanza

    Baretta

    You didn’t have anything from Mike Post on here: The Rockford Files, LA Law, Magnum PI, Hill Street Blues, The Greatest American Hero

  43. Lola
    April 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    The Wire – “Down in the Hole” – each season had a different performance of it;
    The Addams Family – da da da da SNAP SNAP

  44. April 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Luvvie, you might need to do a list for instrumentals, too:

    Get Smart

    Mission Impossible

  45. April 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm
  46. April 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Lawd, where is “Maude”by one of my all-time favorite singers Mr. Donny Hathaway?

  47. Tiff
    April 10, 2015 at 12:14 am

    I know you’re doing animated shows later but some non-animated kids shows like Salute Your Shorts (Camp Anawanna!!!) and the All That theme song performed by none other than TLC. And Roundhouse! Nickelodeon shows were the best.

  48. Gayer Than Thou
    April 10, 2015 at 8:57 am

    No theme song will ever be better than The Jeffersons. But I have always loved Hawaii 5-0.

  49. Gina
    April 10, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I’m gonna throw in Step by Step as well…. this post and the comments got me going down memory lane today. I’m gonna be singing theme songs all day.

  50. Dee
    April 10, 2015 at 9:38 am

    The theme song from Barney Miller was good but it was mostly instrumental. But the theme song from Baretta goes hard in the paint.

    https://youtu.be/qRa9uhiAPBs

  51. Poppcorrn
    April 10, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Family Ties, all day! Also Who’s the Boss, and One Day at a Time. #80sFTW

  52. SSRoss
    April 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I love most of those you selected. Here are some others I enjoyed (some of which have been mentioned by others):
    1) Hawaii Five-O
    2) Bonanza
    3) The Flintstones (they actually were a prime time cartoon)
    4) and, of course, The Jetsons
    5) Secret Agent
    6) The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson)
    7) American Bandstand
    8) … Soul Train (TSOP)
    9) The Monkees
    10) The Partridge Family
    11) Dick Van Dyke Show
    12) The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
    13) Taxi
    14) Hill Street Blues
    15) The Patty Duke Show (I actually sing this song a lot for some reason!)
    16) WKRP in Cincinnati
    17) Welcome Back Kotter
    18) Mission: Impossible
    19) The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    20) Perry Mason

  53. Raven
    April 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I love all of those, but you forgot about Family Ties!! What do we do baby, without love? Sha-la-la-la!!

  54. Emv1102
    April 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, I’ve been singing theme show songs all morning. Had to pull up WKRP in Cincinnati on Hulu. The 80/90s were THE best!

  55. KeshaB
    April 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Gotta mention a few more: Family Ties, Bosom Buddies, Who’s The Boss?, Touched By an Angel (loved Della Reese) and we can’t forget Laverne & Shirley
    Best instrumental intros: Dynasty, Dallas, CHiPs, Knight Rider, Charlie’s Angels, Little House on the Prairie, the original Star Trek, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched.

    • KeshaB
      April 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      And does anybody else remember It’s a Living? (lol)

      • April 11, 2015 at 12:30 am

        YES! Loved that show.

  56. Manxie
    April 10, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Mr. Ed! A horse is a horse, of course, of course!

  57. Shani
    April 10, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    YASSSS to the animated songs..Animaniacs was everything!

  58. RaeJ
    April 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Fraggle Rock
    The Fall Guy
    Dallas
    …AND “glamour, glitter, fashion, and fame…” Gem…she was truly, truly, truly outrageous!

    • RaeJ
      April 10, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      *Jem not Gem :-/

      P.S. I also liked The Wonder Years

  59. April 11, 2015 at 12:31 am

    OMG now I wanna make a list like this! LOVE! I’ll be watching TV themes for the next three hours if anyone needs me….

  60. legitimate_soul
    April 11, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Gotta add ” The Wonder Years”. “What would you do if I sang out of tune…” Joe Cocker FTW!

    The theme to Punky Brewster, “Ev-ery tiiime I turn around…”

    ” All in the Family”

    The theme to Night Court, even though it was instrumental.

    Honorable mention in commercial jingles: ” I Wanna Be A Toys R Us Kid”, Enjoli, Ban de Soleil, Sassoon ( Oh la la, Sasoon), Jordache, Jean Nate’, lol!

  61. Keesh
    April 12, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Luvvie!!!
    This is an awesome list!!! We used to get our holy ghost on with that Amen intro. Thanks for the memories!!!
    ps. On the animated list please don’t forget Duck Tales (Woo-ooo!)

  62. Chris
    April 12, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    What about Night Court doe? Also no cartoon entries makes me a sad Chris

  63. Kawanis
    April 13, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    ALright Luvvie. Now my cheeks hurt. I smiled through this whole list and completely got my life. My faves from you list: Amen and Golden Girls. I was a little surprised tha I actually knew most of the words to each one. This was so great. THANK YOU!

  64. Ready
    April 22, 2015 at 4:53 am

    But….Moesha aint on this list. I loooved that song. “Mo to tha…E to tha..”

  65. Alice
    April 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Once I got stuck in between floors on a crowded, creepy old elevator. It took a while to get help and folks got panicky. I said, “Let’s play TV Theme Song Trivia!” Somebody called out a TV show. Somebody else sang the song. The game was on. Everybody calmed down.

    The guys who pulled us out were surprised by all the singing, though.

    (It’s a pretty useful superpower.)

    • FOXX TALLTREES
      April 29, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      You win! Proof that this super power comes in handey. I will use it.
      Surprised no one mentioned the theme from TAXI though. good intrumental.
      These lists made my day!
      THANK YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS EVERYBODY!!!!

  66. May 6, 2015 at 8:10 am

    What about Family Affair Beverly Hillbilles ,Petticoat Junctions

  67. May 6, 2015 at 8:10 am

    What about Family Affair Beverly Hillbilles ,Petticoat Junctionsp

  68. Tomika
    May 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Family Ties! Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams gave all the life in that song! What we do, baby, without us?