Tempting Tuesday: Themes Songs To Love

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm going to thoroughly date myself with this post, but that's okay. Remember the awesome 80s TV theme songs? Dramas weren't introduced by gritty, guitar based chordes (True Blood and Sopranos). They were as bold as their groundbreaking shows and commanded attention. My attention, anyway. Here are the ones that shaped my childhood and that I'll never forget.

1. Dallas 1978-1991

I was only a year old when this show first aired. My parents watched it from the pilot, and the song is one of my earliest memories. My mom loves to tell the story of a four-year-old me running into the living room when the song came on the radio and telling her it was "Dallas, Mommy, Dallas!" I still love it, and it will always bring a smile to my face. Seriously, who doesn't remember wondering "Who Shot J.R.?" It was all my parents talked about that summer. T-shirts were printed with the slogans "Who Shot J.R.," and "I Shot J.R.," and the stunt helped popularize the idea of a television cliffhanger.

2. Hill Street Blues 1981-1987

One of the first serial police dramas, Hill Street Blues has been ranked as one of T.V. Guide's Greatest T.V. Shows of All Time. To be honest, I don't remember the show that clearly, although I do remember the faces I see during the credits. I didn't watch this as faithfully as I did Dallas; all I cared about was the music in the opening credits. My parents would call me in from whatever I was doing to make sure I didn't miss it. It's still one of my favorites today.

I dearly loved this show. Laura was my hero, and the books triggered my love of reading and history. By the time I started watching, the show was nearly through its run, so I saw a lot of syndicated reruns. I remember driving my brother crazy because I had to watch it every time it was on. It's one of those themes you recognize on the first note, and it brings back a lot of great memories for me.

4. Dukes of Hazzard 1979-1985

Okay, so this show certainly wasn't great television history, but who didn't love Bo and Luke constantly outsmarting evil, old Boss Hogg? I remember watching this show along with HeeHaw (remember that one?), and I can still hear Dad's funny laugh every time Boss got his.

5. North and South 1985, 1986 (I don't count the third one).

I saved the best for last. The North and South miniseries based on the John Jake novels is considered one of the best miniseries of all-time, and as much as I loved Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, he was born to play southern gentleman Orry Main. Composed by Bill Conti, the emotion of this theme song never fails to make me feel near the edge of tears. For me, it represents a time in American history that was full of change and heartache, and it was this miniseries that cemented my love of history and interest in the Civil War. No theme will surpass it in my mind.

What about you? Do you remember watching these shows? What were some of your favorite them songs?


Michael Ann said...

OMG, I LOVED North and South. You brought back so many memories this morning!

Stacy said...

Michael Ann
Wasn't it amazing? I have the DVD box set and watched it shortly after Patrick Swayze passed. Needless to say, I cried a lot, lol.

Janet said...

Saw your blog through a WD forum. I remember the theme from Knots Landing and Miami Vice.

Stacy said...

Thanks for stopping by. I almost did Knots Landing - we watched that as well.

Beverly Diehl said...

Thank you for reminding me of Patrick Swayze in N & S. What a babe, what a babe.

I love getting all the TV theme songs and playing what's that tune/show on my iPod with friends. So many good ones, going back to the 60's (I love the I Dream of Jeannie theme, too).

Fierce said...

Ha! This is an awesome post! It's funny, but as all of those theme songs stand out to me and conjure memories, I'd never have thought of Little House and Hill Street Blues in the same context. Nicely done!
Stopping by From SheWrites =)

Stacy said...

You're welcome. He was excellent in that role and definitely a babe. You're right, there are a ton of great TV theme songs. I have a few on my iPod as well. Thanks!

Thanks! LOL, yes, I have some weird favorites. I never really watched the normal childhood shows. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Natalie said...

I LOVED Dukes of Hazzard. I remember my parents would pop popcorn (the old fashion way in an electric pan with kernels and we’d all hurry downstairs to watch with bated breath. I’ll always remember not only because of the show itself and having all my first crushes but because of the family time it created for us!

Stacy said...

I'd forgotten about that old electric popcorn pan! My parents had one, too. That was great popcorn - today's microwave stuff can't compare. Thanks for stopping by and sharing:)

Julie Glover said...

For some reason, one of the first theme songs that popped into my mind was Taxi. It was a smooth song that eased into the show. I also admit to never watching Magnum P.I. (not a single episode), but I love the opening song, which is distinct. When I was a kid, though, it was the Batman theme that really got me going. Thanks for the memories, Stacy!

Stacy said...

Two more good ones. I never watched Magnum, but my parents did. They wanted Taxi, too. LOL on Batman. That was one I didn't hear much. You're welcome, and thanks for commenting!

Kelly Hashway said...

I loved Dukes of Hazzard!

homecomingbook said...

I don't think I even had a TV set at that period. I was too much into horses, breeding and showing dogs, and researching weather and climate.

Stacy said...

Bo and Luke were pretty cute, weren't they? Thanks!

LOL, I was a kid - that's my excuse.

Thanks for commenting!

Stacy said...

I just realized Homecoming was Sue Ann, lol. Going to check out your blog!

catierhodes.com said...

We didn't watch HIll Street Blues, but I always liked the theme. I loved the Roseanne theme. I also liked the Cheers song. I know a lot of people didn't, though.

This might make me an unpopular person, but I liked Waylon Jennings. He had some great songs, and I liked the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. When Dukes was on and very popular, I wanted to watch it so much. We lived out in the boondocks, though, and only got on channel on the TV. It wasn't the one Dukes of Hazzard came on. ;-)

Fun post!

Anonymous said...

I know 1-4 but i didn't remember 5 and I loved the miniseries -Chele

Barbara McDowell said...

Dallas all the way! As soon as I read '80s theme songs, I was humming it. Great post!

Jennifer K. Hale said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode of Little House on the Prairie. And my hubby owns ALL of the box sets of Dukes of Hazzard and can't wait to watch them with our boys someday. Ha!

donna galanti.com said...

love this! Am a Laura Ingalls fan all the way. What about Greatest American Hero? Believe it or not by Joey Scarbury? I still have the 45! (me = old)

Stacy said...

Roseanne was a great theme and great show. My family could definitely relate, lol. Waylon did have some great songs, and the theme from Dukes always sticks in my head!

The miniseries was great. All-time favorite. Thanks for commenting!

Stacy said...

I immediately think of Dallas when I think of classic TV, and the song will get on repeat in my head, lol. Thanks!

Me too, many times. I'm looking forward to Grace (hopefully) enjoying the books and tv show. I haven't watched Dukes in years ... might have to do that. Thanks!

Wow, that's one I'd forgotten about. Definitely a classic!

Mark R Hunter said...

Oh boy, did you just take me down memory lane. I loved the big orchestrated themes; to this day I usually have movie or TV scores playing when I write. And now, so many years after watching North and South -- wow, look at all those familiar cast names!

Stacy said...

Hi Mark! Big orchestrated themes - that's exactly the phrase I was looking for but couldn't think of yesterday, lol. North and South definitely had a great cast.

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