Thursday, January 22, 2009

A List You'll Never Find on VH1

I’m about to get very nerdy with you. Hide the children.

I am an aficionado of TV theme songs. A good show can be a classic with a solid opening tune. A bad show can be memorable with just the right notes. The following is a Top 12 list of my favorite television theme songs from my childhood, ranging from the late 80s or so to the mid-90’s.

12. Animaniacs I always loved Pinky and the Brain. I did not realize until much later that the Brain was modeled after Orson Welles. Damn kids. The song is funny and it even gave us kids some pop culture jokes we had no chance of understanding.

11. Growing Pains A pretty little song, nostalgic but also uplifting. It really shows you the importance of family. I'm tearing up just writing about it.

10. Tiny Toons We’re tiny. We’re toony. We’re all a little loony. And in this cartoony, we’re invading your TV! If you can’t smile when you hear this song, move to Russia. I can’t tell you much about the show. Did Babs and Buster ever act on their sexual tension? Whatever. The song is fun. Look at the length of these songs, too. Nowadays, you’re lucky to get five notes before erection pill commercials.

9. Beverly Hills 90210 The opening bars! Bam! Then you have Tori Spelling in tights and Jason Priestley’s wavy hair. Don’t forget the Four Musketeers thing they do where they all put their hands together right at the beginning. Just classic all around. I lived with three teenage sisters, so I saw a lot of this show. It was watchable.

Also, if I could play electric guitar, I’d bust out this tune everywhere. And I’d be really, really cool.

8. Hang Time This show taught me all I needed to know about basketball. You had the pretty female sharp-shooter. You had Anthony Anderson swishing threes like Ray Allen. Last but not least, you have the basketball court the size of a beer pong table. Man, I watched some stupid shows back then. At least I’ll always have me and my friends at Hang Time …. HANG TIME!

7. Saved By The Bell This show raised me. Laugh all you want. I learned all I needed to know from Mr. Belding and his zany, terribly dressed students who never had to do any work and could hang around the hallways for 20 minutes at a time. Listen to the rad guitar solo. Jimmy Page, eat your heart out! The theme is great and I always wish this played in the background when I rushed to school in my 1988 Toyota Tercel.

6. Darkwing Duck When there’s trouble, you call DW. For some reason, poor Darkwing Duck never received as much credit as Spiderman, Superman and all those other punks. Maybe it’s because he wore purple. What he will always have in the history books over the other superheroes is a memorable tune to which he can kick ass for eternity. When he says, “Let’s get dangerous” I have to chuckle. C’mon, the song is funky. Backup chorus. Baritone. They spared no expense.

I was Darkwing Duck for Halloween once.

5. Full House Perhaps the cheesiest show of all time, but maybe the most memorable of the schlock from the mid 90s. Many of these actors and actresses would not disappear like their colleagues. The song fit the show well and the chorus is definitely tough get out of my head.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I devoured everything Ninja Turtles as a kid, from the movies to the technodromes to the lunchboxes and the video games. The first one for Nintendo still gives me nightmares. It was impossible to beat! Anyway, the song gives the viewer a nice background on the characters and sets up the story very well. What else could you possibly ask for? They even throw some random spoken word for you.

3. Inspector Gadget The opening notes to this one deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. John Lennon would wish he wrote this song. It rivals Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. At about the 36-second mark in this clip, you will hear musical perfection. Again, the particulars of the show escape me, except for Dr. Claw of course, but I can hum this song on demand 20 years later.

2. Duck Tales It sounds like the same guy is singing some of these tunes. If he is, I must know his name! He’d be my new Eddie Vedder. I dare you not to sing along to this song. Remember the video game? You had to climb Scrooge McDuck up this totem pole thing against some other villain. My memories are very vague, I just know I beat the game and was very proud of myself. Whoever wrote this eternally catchy song should feel the same way.

1. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers What a strange show by the way. High-pitched chipmunks team with two mice and some fly thing to battle a cat. The song, however, is far from strange. The “ and Dale, Rescue Rangers!” part is available in my brain at any time. After hearing this song, I want to take on Fat Cat myself.

The song starts with a brooding beat, accompanied by lightning crashes and police sirens. Then it slowly builds to a crescendo and never looks back. I have this song on my iPod. I want to create the chipmunk dance to honor this piece of artistic glory. Case closed, people.

The show lasted only a couple of years, but this tune will last forever in that certain part of the brain that stores these songs and replays them in my head at random times. Thank you, Rescue Rangers.


  1. Good list Steve. I love the Duck Tales theme song. When the guitar sounds like a duck, oh man... that's awesome.

    Although you forgot the Lost theme song.

    You have any pictures of your Darkwing Duck costume?


    I read this list at work, and began having strange flashbacks to my younger days. I blacked out, and when I awoke, was told I was clinically dead for five minutes before being miraculously revived by a co-worker singing "The Gummy Bears" theme.

  3. Dan: That clip is awesome.
    Jeff: I hope there are no photos out there. I hope.

  4. You forgot Captain Planet. HUGE oversight. What other kids theme song used the word "Asunder"?