Did reading Part 1 of STACK’s 10 ace uses of tunes on TV leave you frothing for more? Same here! Well you’re in for a treat, because some of the below TV theme songs succeed in not only capturing their accompanying show’s overall themes and tone, but also providing a brief summary of its premise via lyrical content – how noodle-smoking is that!?
Please enjoy 10 more snippets of aural nostalgia to refresh your memories of fave shows past:
Jace Everett, Bad Things – True Blood
“When you came in, the air went out…” – oooh, yeah! This sexy l’il number is guaranteed to get pulses racing, especially if you devoured this fantasy-horror drama series and have a sizzle reel of racy scenes at the ready to withdraw from the memory bank. The story goes that Alan Ball – this Southern vampire-themed HBO show’s creator – discovered Bad Things while he was randomly exploring iTunes and, as it happens, it perfectly summarises True Blood’s tone: dark, sensual and laced with menace, but never devoid of humour. In 2009, after it aired as True Blood’s theme song, Bad Things (unsurprisingly) charted in the UK, Norway and Sweden. PS: Who doesn’t wanna “do real bad things” with Vampire Eric!?
Carole King & Louise Goffin, Where You Lead – Gilmore Girls
Whether or not the oversharing ‘special bond’ between Gilmore Girls‘ main mother-daughter characters Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) makes you wanna hurl, you can’t deny the potency of this show’s title song. Where You Lead was actually performed by Carole King and Louise Goffin – a mother-daughter duo for real!
Fun fact: Barbra Streisand released a more upbeat, celebratory rendition of Where You Lead.
Jane’s Addiction, Superhero – Entourage
By a show of hands, who else’s internal jukebox automatically spins this song directly after the staticky HBO intro comes on while they’re bingeing telly? Superhero’s unmistakable opening riff also triggers welcome visuals of this bromantic comedy’s four main characters – Vincent, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Eric – cruising down the Sunset Strip in a shiny black Lincoln convertibl,e while the names of the actors who play them materialise as shop signs or giant billboards as they pass by. We just adore singing along with the “You know I need you DES-pera-tely” lyrics, would really rather avoid a “tumble fall” and – just admit it – the “Yeh-ah! Oh, YEH-Ah! Oh, YEH-Ah!” outro fade-out is impossibly cool.
Gary Portnoy, Where Everybody Knows Your Name – Cheers
Setting us all up with unrealistic expectations that bartenders at our local pub will know our drink of choice and prepare it as soon as we strut through the door, Cheers made being a barfly look super-appealing. And so memorable and fitting was this Gary Portnoy-penned theme song that its title/chorus lyrics also became a catch-cry for this sitcom based around bar-stool banter. Ted Danson is deadset legendary in his starring role as bartender/owner Sam, but we actually reckon Woody Harrelson stole the show – playing the loveable, simple-minded character he shares a first name with – when he joined the series from Season 4 onwards.
Fun fact: Where Everybody Knows Your Name has also been featured in other shows including Friends and Ally McBeal.
Alabama 3, Woke Up This Morning – The Sopranos
Could this be the most recognisable TV themesong ever? It’s definitely up there. “Woke up this mornin’/ Got yourself a gun” – sinister and conspiratorial, it’s a tune that perfectly sums up this groundbreaking HBO show’s gangster themes. Building this song from a Howlin’ Wolf loop, Alabama 3 frontman Rob Spragg penned the lyrics from a female protagonist’s perspective after hearing about the 1996 Sara Thornton murder case.
Fun fact: NAS sampled Woke Up This Morning for his 2001 hit Got Ur Self a Gun.
Ann Hampton Callaway, The Nanny – The Nanny
This cult ‘90s sitcom’s opening sequence is an adorbs cartoon that pretty much depicts The Nanny’s backstory in 42 seconds, perfectly illustrating the theme song’s ‘autobiographical’ lyrics: “She was out on her fann-NNNNNNNY!” – oh, man, how we loved hollering that particular line loud enough to attract the attention of any scowling adults in the house when we were kiddos! Kind of like that “Stick it your family al-BUM!” song (Flash, Bang, Wallop!), which pretty much gave us an excuse to say a ‘rude’ word.
Fun fact: “She’s the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan,” is how the show’s creator (and The Nanny herself) Fran Drescher described The Nanny’s main character, Fran Fine, to Callaway, who loved the line so much she used it within lyrics.
BoDeans, Closer to Free – Party of Five
“Everybody wants to live, like they wanna live/ And everybody wants to love, how they wanna love…” – if you were alive while this show aired you would’ve made a mad dash from the dunny (or wherever you happened to be at the time) towards the TV set upon hearing this raucous number’s curly opening riff more than a few times. Check out the cast of this so-called teen drama (which was lapped up by twenty-somethings and beyond) as well, BTW: Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt… – nuts!
The Dandy Warhols, We Used to Be Friends – Veronica Mars
Even if you haven’t watched this Kristen Bell-starring series about a high school student who moonlights as a private investigator, you’ll be powerless to the immediate charm of its theme song: We Used to Be Friends (which was produced by Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes). There’s nonchalant double-claps, a synth hook that sounds like a quarrelsome droid, and that irresistibly straight-down-to-biz opening serve: “A long time ago, we used to be friends but I/ Haven’t thought of you lately at all…” – burn!
Vonda Shepard, Searchin’ My Soul – Ally McBeal
Extraordinarily, Searchin’ My Soul was on Vonda Shepard’s second solo album, 1992’s The Radical Light, which tanked and caused her to be dropped by her label. The story goes that when Michelle Pfeiffer and her writer-producer husband David E. Kelley saw Vonda performing live, Kelley immediately thought of an eccentric dramedy he was creating around that time about the lives and loves of lawyers (the titular character, played by Calista Flockhart, in particular) and, voila! Vonda then became the first musician on a major TV series to score a regular role as herself, appearing in every episode of Ally McBeal. “I was the voice, I was the sound for the character’s emotional makeup,” Vonda said during an interview.
Love Spit Love (covering The Smiths), How Soon Is Now? – Charmed
This Smiths cover – by Love Spit Love, the side-project of Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler – was originally recorded to feature on the soundtrack for a film, 1996’s The Craft. Johnny Marr’s atmospheric, otherworldly riff boasts a delightfully creepy feel, which makes this song a perfect fit for supernatural themes. As such, Love Spit Love’s version of How Soon Is Now? ushered in the bewitched goodness Charmed for all of this fantasy drama’s eight seasons! So who was your fave Halliwell sister? Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) or Paige (Rose McGowen)? We definitely recall coveting some of their outfits back in the day. Have chokers had a resurgence in popularity yet?