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.
3. Little House on the Prairie 1974-1982
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?