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10 Best TV Theme Songs

These days, TV theme songs are pretty much an afterthought, but for many years the theme song for a television show was just as important as the characters and storylines. Who can hear the titles 'Dukes of Hazzard' or 'The Addams Family' without immediately humming the theme songs? There have been so many memorable TV theme songs over the years that popular themes from 'Knight Rider,' 'Happy Days,' 'Golden Girls' and 'Fraggle Rock' didn't even make the cut. Check out our list of the 10 Best TV Theme Songs.
'Good Ol' Boys [Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard]'
Waylon Jennings fit the "outlaw country" label perfectly. So it made perfect sense that he write and sing the theme for 'The Dukes of Hazzard,' a show about country boys Bo and Luke Duke running afoul of the law. Jennings served as the show's narrator and his theme song hit No. 1 on the country chart.
'The A-Team'
Pete Carpenter, Mike Post
Composers Pete Carpenter and Mike Post wrote theme music for numerous shows together, including 'CHiPs,' 'Magnum, P.I.' and 'Riptide.' For their 'A-Team' theme, the pair created an orchestral composition that aimed to capture the drama of the adventures of Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdock. The theme song received renewed attention when 'The A-Team' movie was released in 2010.
'The Munsters'
'The Munsters' took a scary concept -- a family of monsters -- and made it funny. Jack Marshall's theme song revealed that contrast by alternating between spooky and whimsical sections, accurately setting the tone for the show. Marshall's 44-second theme earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition in 1965 but lost to another TV theme song, Henry Mancini's 'Pink Panther.'
'Hawaii Five-O'
Morton Stevens
The crime drama 'Hawaii Five-O' starring Jack Lord aired from 1968 to 1980. Its theme song mixed the urgency of a Bond-style adventure tune with a subtle tropical flavor, to honor the show's setting in Hawaii. Composer Morton Stevens also scored individual episodes of the show, for which he won two Emmys. A remake of the series will air on CBS in the Fall of 2010, and star Aussie actor Alex O'Loughlin.
'Theme From Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)'
Stephen Geyer, Mike Post
"Who could it be / Believe it or not, it's just me," sang Joey Scarbury on the theme from 'Greatest American Hero,' a drama from the early '80s. The soft pop song reached No. 2 on the charts, thanks to Geyer and Post, as well as a chorus that soared higher than the show's lead character, clumsy superhero Ralph Hinkley.
'Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name)'
Gary Portnoy, Judy Hart Angelo
As the theme for top-ranked sitcom 'Cheers,' 'Where Everybody Knows Your Name' was one of the most recognizable TV theme songs of the '80s. The song required several re-writes before show producers Glen and Les Charles finally approved it. Writers Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo performed the song with the drunken 'Cheers' cast on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' the night the 'Cheers' finale aired.
'Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name)'
'The Pink Panther Theme'
A cartoon documenting the capers of a mute pink panther might not have sounded like the recipe for a successful TV show, but that formula worked for 'Pink Panther' for 11 years. It also produced one of the era's most well-known TV theme songs, the Henry Mancini classic with the slow, deliberate saxophone melody.
'The Addams Family'
Vic Mizzy
Vic Mizzy's Addams Family theme from 1964 is impossible to forget, thanks to its harpsichord, finger snaps and catchy opening verse: "They're creepy and they're kooky / Mysterious and spooky / They're altogether ooky / The Addams Family." MC Hammer re-interpreted the song in 1991 for 'Addams Groove,' his theme for 'The Addams Family' movie.
'Mission: Impossible'
Long before the Tom Cruise 'Mission: Impossible' films, there was the television series starring Peter Graves which ran from 1966 to 1973. Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin created the 'Mission: Impossible' theme, which evoked the suspense and excitement that were characteristic of the popular spy show. Schifrin released an entire album of music from the show in 1967.
'Linus and Lucy'
Vince Guaraldi made a lasting impression on pop culture with his instrumental jazz number 'Linus and Lucy,' a bouncy tune built around piano and percussion that became the signature song of the 'Peanuts' cartoon. The song first appeared in 1965 in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and has since entertained multiple generations of 'Peanuts' viewers to become the best TV theme song.

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