Thursday, April 28, 2005

Gotta Love That Theme Song

Growing up, we all had that show that we had to dive in front of the tube to watch. But have you ever considered how some of those theme songs just seem to stick in your memory bank...and not just because of the show itself, but because of bouncy, infectious melodies.

And have you ever wondered why the Norman Lear shows of the 70s always had that incredible gospel sound attached to it. Shows like "Sanford & Son", "Good Times" and "The Jeffersons" had that spirited feel to it, and even possessed incredible choral a mass choir on the first Sunday of the month. You kinda miss that sound in the theme shows today. Even though shows like "Seinfield" and "Fraizer" are known for their jingles and "The Simpsons" has its dynamic orchestra foundation covering the bulk of the show's score, you still miss that soulful singing that rested on theme songs like "Amen", "Three's Company" and "227".

Everybody has their favorite theme show song...but if you're looking for sum' serious gospel sang'in and soulful melodies, check these out and catch the spirit. The lyrics might not be gospel...but it sho'nuff sounds like Sunday Morning.

The Jeffersons
We're moving on up...Occasional spiritual lyrics lay within a social message of liberation for middle-class African Americans overcoming poverty. Who can forget Janet Du'bois (from Good Times) and that powerful chorus singing this bouncing gospel-styled tune.

Vanessa Bell Armstrong, one of Gospel's premiere female vocalists, is accredited to singing this stylish, traditional up-tempo number; in which was penned by Andrae' Crouch. It's gospel fever at its best...and the truest of all theme songs that can be called gospel. Don't you wish they had this song on her "greatest hits" compilations?

Good Times
"Anytime you need a payment...good times"'s another Gospel-styled gem tucked with a social-themed cause. The ending is soulful and unforgettable. It's so amazing that the song speaks of even in the worse of situations (temporary layoffs, easy credit rip-offs, etc), but closes out with the fact that even in those horrible situations, they are good. Reminds me of Romans 8:28!

Sanford & Son
Quincy Jones laid down the score and produced this memorable track...and the rest is history. Probably one of the most popular of the 70s theme songs, the organ grooves and the instrumentation is a great mix of jazz, funk and soul. Wish they had a long version of that tune somewhere.

Family Feud
Tonex' recently recorded this popular game show tune on his "Out The Box" double CD collection, but with lyrics. And his reason...because he felt while growing up that the "Theme Song to Family Feud" was gospel! And how can you not think's filled with all of the wondrous ingredients for a riveting, up-tempo choir rocker. Tambourine are going off and the horns are no match to Mo' Horns on today's gospel projects. Now get out on the aisles on this one...and get yo' shout on.

A Different World (w/ Aretha Franklin)
Aretha is truly the Queen of Soul. And on this modern-aged contemporary track, Re'Re released an incredible vocal on this theme was so good that you wish she released this as a single. It prolly' would have rocketed up the Billboard R&B charts.

Night Court
The bass guitar enters and then a jazzy, up-tempo groove filled with spunky horns and heavy percussion is released. It's a groove that you would think Bob James would put together...but it's a piece that reminds you of a Gospel jam session. If there were lyrics to this thing...

The Price Is Right
This song is delightful from beginning to end. You feel like a winner when you hear those smooth flutes, the moving bass lines and the xylophone action. Reminds you of shopping in a grocery store, it just leave you with a good feeling deep on the inside.

It's a blues fest when you hear this funky, soulful musical joint. But don't disappear, there's enough soul on here to get your fan a-going and your head a-swaying. There's a musical modulation in the middle of the song and that's enough right there to remind you of a good traditional church number.

Now what are you favorite theme show songs. Maybe Family Matters. Golden Girls. Peanuts (Charlie Brown Theme). Or is it Baywatch (lol)? My opinion....I kinda love "The Love Boat" and "Inspector Gadget" the best. :-)


Rod said...

The Norman Lear shows are classics.

Funny you would mention The Price is Right. Crystal Waters sampled that song in 2002 for Come on Down.


Thanks Rod for leaving that response. Nothing like the Norman Lear shows. For a white man, he know how to tap into black culture and deliver the best. Where do you think Roseanne, Married With Children, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Parkers and Cheers learned their tricks of the trade from?

I wanna hear that Crystal Waters rendition of the Price Is Right though....that theme song brings me back so many memories.

Anonymous said...

Most of my favorites had no words, just some awesome music like the theme from Hill Street Blues, Mash, Mission Impossible and MacGyver. But if I have to pick some with words, then it's Family Ties, Have Gun Will Travel, The Flintstones and the Beverly Hillbillies.


Qamar said...

I've always loved the Bewitched theme. The light bubbling opening that swings into a cool orchestra piece.

Also, Donny Hathaway's theme for Maude is something special.