The 40 Best TV Theme Songs of All Time
Page 10 of 104. Peter Gunn - Henry Mancini
The P.I. wouldn't have been nearly as hip if his every move wasn't accompanied by music from Mancini. The theme music has been covered by everyone from Duane Eddy and Jimi Hendrix to Aerosmith, Pulp and The Cramps. Even Quincy Jones has recorded a version of it—and when Jones covers a song, you know it's cool.
3. Sanford & Son - Quincy Jones
Forget Thriller, "We are the World" or his work with Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammie Davis Jr. If all Mr. Jones had given us was the funky intro to one of the best sitcoms of the 1970s, it would have been enough.
2. M*A*S*H - "Suicide Is Painless" by Johnny Mandel
M*A*S*H was unique in that it was a tragedy with a laugh track. Unlike its war-sitcom predecessor Hogan's Heroes, M*A*S*H was a black comedy pointing to the absurdity and horror of war. The humor was often of the gallows variety, and the theme song signaled bravery in the face of sadness. The devastating words were written by Robert Altman's 14-year-old son Mike but wisely left out of the TV version. It didn't need anything more than a haunting melody.
1. Cheers - "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy
Portnoy's prior claim to fame was penning the theme song for Punky Brewster, "Every Time You Turn Around" (oh c'mon, you remember it). My favorite theme song of all time is sappy as hell, but sometimes we do want to go where everybody knows our name. It does what a great theme song should do—set the tone. Despite the cutting and sarcastic quips flying around the bar, Cheers was at its core as sweet as Portnoy's introduction.