Today was a rough day, but then Saved by the Bell came on and with the theme song lyrics, “When I wake up in the morning, the alarm gives out a warning, I don’t think I’ll never make it on time,” my mood instantly brightened. For some reason, since then, I haven’t been able to get the Saved by the Bell theme song out of my head all day. It got me thinking:
1. why is this song so catchy?
2. why did Spano make Showgirls? Why?!
and 3. they don’t make TV show theme songs like they used to.
Regardless of why, TV show theme songs aren’t as good as they used to be. There was a time when TV shows’ songs were so fantastically catchy that they were practically radio quality (or at least awesome throw-back iPod playlist worthy – hello Sanford and Son, the Jeffersons and the Brady Bunch). And not just the songs written specifically for the shows are missing, because there is something so special and downright loveable about that when it works. The songs borrowed for these shows aren’t as good either. Maybe it’s a reflection upon the music industry. Maybe TV executives just don’t think people care about music anymore. Maybe songs like “Happy Days” really are for a simplier time.
Since TV show theme songs are lacking, especially for teen television, I think it’s time to list the good ones. Ones that are cheesy but brilliant. Ones that you jam to alone in your room (like I do the Golden Girls‘ ‘Thank You for Being a Friend”). Here are some of my favorites:
The O.C. – “California 2005” by Phantom Planet: Just hearing this tune transports me back to high school. Oh Cohen, how we miss your nerdy coolness (And Atom and his Package poster!). Oh Coops, how we miss your addictions, bad acting, and awesome flats! Phantom Planet, if you’ve done anything else, it will never compare to the magic of this tune.
Degrassi – “Whatever It Takes” by the Degrassi Choir: This opening was so cheerful and innocent. Funny how the show isn’t. Slowly, but surely the song was transformed, deformed and then totally phased out, leaving just the melody to play as the credits flashed by. Still, how can we ever forget the original “Next Generation”-ers singing and swaying to this tune?
One Tree Hill – “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw: Yes, Chad Michael Murray’s Lucas Scott didn’t want to be anything other than the hot, talented, basketball-playing, outcast that he was when this show first began. Then he wanted to be Peyton’s man. Then Brooke’s man. Then some skanky red-haired girl’s man. Then who knows. He made A Cinderella Story and we lost interest. But this song was our introduction to that fairly good Gavin DeGraw album (remember “Chariot”). And it set the mood for this angsty teen drama back in its glory days.
Moesha – “Moesha” by Brandy: “Mo to the, E to the” are some of the most brilliant lyrics Brandy has ever sung. They’re also some of the catchiest. This show started great before it became the never-ending show that gets more ghetto fabulous with age. Still, this song was always great.
Beverly Hills, 90210 – “The Theme from Beverly Hills, 90210” by John Davis and the Monster Orchestra: dun, dun, dun…dun, dun, dun. That’s the best rendition I can do via blog. Just those notes make you yearn for the Peach Pit and the diva that was Shannen Dougherty, pre-Dancing with the Stars. Oh Luke Perry, where have you gone?
The Facts of Life – “The Facts of Life” by Gloria Loring, Al Burton and Alan Thicke – The original snooty TV Blair! What a great show. What a great song. That’s really all there is to say.
Dawson’s Creek – “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole: Really, this was all she had. Good thing it was so gosh darn fantastic! This song is the perfect reflection of the late 90’s – pensive, then simple and fun. Sing it now – you know you want to (“Do, do, do, do”)
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” by The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff: This duo was accustomed to making catchy tunes that people could recite on demand (“Summertime”, “Parents Just Don’t Understand”). This is just another hit on their list of jams. The full-length version on their album was a little long, a little dull. But the truncated TV version, followed by Carlton, Hilary, and the gang was TV gold. Bet you could rap it right now!
Saved By the Bell – “Saved By the Bell” by Michael Damian: WHO IS MICHAEL DAMIAN?! Apparently, the most brilliant singer of an era! This theme song is peppy, high energy and funny – just like the show. Is there a better theme song (for a teen show)? I should think not. Doubt me? I’ll get Slater to pound you.
What are your favorite teen TV show theme songs? Any of them up here? Do you also sing out loud to “Thank You for Being a Friend”? Tell the world!