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Looking for pop music TV show theme songs
April 9, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Trying to compile playlist of pop-style songs that have been used as TV show themes. Suggestions welcome!

I am one of those people who is not very into music and seldom listens to 'albums' per se---they tend to only have one or two songs I like per album so most of my music collection is just random stuff. That said, I am bored with my random stuff and looking for some new songs.

My boyfriend has this massive CD of 'one-hit wonder' songs and I have had some success off of there. Quite a few of the songs on it are TV show themes and so were catchy and recognizable to me. I would like to find more songs like this---I don't mean instrumental melody theme songs, I mean pop-ish ones you could sing along to and enjoy as a song independent of their use on television. Perhaps the song was famous prior to being a TV theme song (Where You Lead from Gilmore Girls) or perhaps it became famous from the television show and even had some radio play (I'll Be There For You from Friends).

Here are some songs I have (or will have shortly) on the playlist already:

I'll Be There for You from Friends
Where You Lead from Gilmore Girls
Faith of the Heart from Enterprise
Little Boxes from Weeds
Closer to Free from Party of Five
Where Everybody Knows Your Name from Cheers
Lift from Biggest Loser Australia
One of Us from Joan of Arcadia
We Used to be Friends from Veronica Mars
In my Life from Providence

Can anybody suggest any more? It can be a song that was either written for the show or existed already, but I am looking for pop-style songs and not instrumentals. I want to be able to enjoy it as a song in its own right. Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by JoannaC to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
The theme from SCRUBS.
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2012


Older, but Believe It or Not from Greatest American Hero performed by Joey Scarbury (thank you, Wikipedia!)

Also a friend of mine would never forgive me if I didn't suggest the Perfect Strangers theme song.
posted by smirkette at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2012


With a Little Help from My Friends from the Wonder Years
Reflections from China Beach
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Teardrop, Massive Attack (from House)
posted by BobbyVan at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beach Boys, God Only Knows, from Big Love (Seasons 1-3)
posted by pie ninja at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2012


the Dawson's Creek theme was "I Don't Want To Wait" by Paula Cole.
posted by jerseygirl at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2012


Woke Up This Morning by Alabama 3 (The Sopranos.)

Saving Grace by Everlast (Saving Grace)
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2012


Welcome Back, Kotter
Diff'rent Strokes and Facts of Life
Metalocalypse
posted by ignignokt at 10:12 AM on April 9, 2012


How Soon is Now? from Charmed

The theme from Big Bang Theory is very catchy, but I think it was written for the show so there's no longer version.

Also, Psych
posted by trivia genius at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2012


"This is My Life" by Billy Joel was the original theme song for "Bosom Buddies", though it was replaced on the DVD.

"Thank You for Being a Friend" was the theme song for "The Golden Girls"; it was recorded for the show by another artist, but had been a hit some years earlier.

In the UK (don't know if it was also used for the brief US broadcast) the theme song for "Peep Show" is "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2012


"Square Pegs" by the Waitresses was written for the sadly short-lived show, but remained part of their repertoire.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:14 AM on April 9, 2012


Obligatory.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:15 AM on April 9, 2012


Washed Out "Feel it all Around" is the theme of Portlandia.
posted by seesom at 10:16 AM on April 9, 2012


Along with "Welcome Back" (from "Welcome Back, Kotter") in the Hall of Unlikely TV Theme Top 40 Hits was Jose Feliciano's "Chico and the Man" theme.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:16 AM on April 9, 2012


Adriana Evans -- "Remember Love" (Noah's Arc)
posted by sleepingcbw at 10:20 AM on April 9, 2012


The Smallville theme song is "Save Me" by Remy Zero.
posted by shamash at 10:22 AM on April 9, 2012


Ah! How could I forget one of my favorite shows? The Theme from Corner Gas.
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:26 AM on April 9, 2012


This Wheel's on Fire- Absolutely Fabulous (although this performance was done specifically for the show)
posted by kimdog at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2012


The 88 recorded At Least It Was Here, the theme song from Community. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned already.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:34 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're Not the Boss of Me - TMBG - Malcolm in the Middle.
posted by Bodd at 10:35 AM on April 9, 2012


Phantom Planet's "California" is the theme song for The OC. I was mildly disappointed when I discovered this after liking the song for a couple weeks.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:36 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, that's a cover. Try this.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:38 AM on April 9, 2012


"Corona" by Minutemen was the theme song for MTV's Jackass.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on April 9, 2012


"Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA was used for the BBC's faux talk show "Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge" (with the host played by Steve Coogan - available on this highly recommended DVD set). The song provided the name of the show and the host's catchphrase: "Knowing me, Alan Partridge, knowing you, [other person's name], aha!"
posted by John Cohen at 10:47 AM on April 9, 2012


Life Goes On.

The UK Office.
posted by troywestfield at 10:50 AM on April 9, 2012


Short Skirt/Long Jacket by Cake was the theme for NBC's "Chuck".
posted by stampsgal at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2012


Speaking of Steve Coogan vehicles, "Hocus Pocus" by Focus was the theme to Saxondale.
posted by look busy at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2012


Pretty Little Liars: Secret by the Pierces
The theme to Lost Girl is written for the show, but it can be a stand-along song.
posted by demiurge at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Here with Me" by Dido was the theme song for Roswell
"Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett was the theme song for Freaks and Geeks
posted by wsquared at 11:01 AM on April 9, 2012


"C'mon C'mon," by the Von Bondies, for the show "Rescue Me."
CSI in its various incarnations and its use of The Who.
posted by rewil at 11:04 AM on April 9, 2012


REM's "Stand" was the theme song to the ill-fated Chris Elliot sitcom "Get a Life."
posted by purpleclover at 11:04 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Love and Marriage" from Married with Children
posted by 23skidoo at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2012


Big Bang Theory Theme Song, longer version

(I don't know if this was written for the show or not, but the long version is fun.)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:06 AM on April 9, 2012


Not sure if this counts, but here you go: Joan Jett's cover of "Love is All Around" (the theme song of The Mary Tyler Moore Show) became an anthem in women's sports and was used by the NCAA to promote the Women's Final Four.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2012


Oh, also "In the Street" from That 70's Show
posted by 23skidoo at 11:13 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Jungle Out There - by Randy Newman - used in Monk
posted by Flood at 11:14 AM on April 9, 2012


Billy Joel "My Life" (theme from "Bosom Buddies")
posted by Sys Rq at 11:16 AM on April 9, 2012


"Hey Sandy" from the Adventures of Pete and Pete
"Way Down in the Hole" from the Wire (I prefer the Tom Waits version, but they did 4 covers).
Also, the "Wonder Woman Theme" is pretty great.
posted by chrisulonic at 11:17 AM on April 9, 2012


War's "Lowrider" was used as the theme to the George Lopez sitcom.

Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" was the theme for Freaks and Geeks.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2012


"Paradise Circus" was used as the theme song for the British show "Luther."

Not terribly poppy, but "Falling" by Julee Cruise was used as the theme song for "Twin Peaks."
posted by jbickers at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2012


Brand New Day by Ryan Star was the theme to Lie To Me
posted by vagabond at 12:01 PM on April 9, 2012


How Do You Talk To An Angel - by/from The Heights
Bad Boys - by Inner Circle is the theme from Cops
Nothing On Meby Shawn Colvin was the theme for Suddenly Susan
posted by vagabond at 12:25 PM on April 9, 2012


Making Our Dreams Come True from Laverne and Shirley
Makin' It from the show of the same name
You Get Me - from MTV's Sorority Life
posted by SisterHavana at 12:31 PM on April 9, 2012


A couple from the UK: The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, used for BBC Formula One and
Jessica by the Allman Brothers Band, used for Top Gear
posted by azlondon at 12:41 PM on April 9, 2012


"Designing Women" used the tune of "Georgia on my Mind."
The theme of the Daily Show is called "Dog on Fire" and was written by Bob Mould, then later re-recorded by They Might Be Giants.
"Happy Days" used "Rock around the Clock" from Bill Haley & the Comets.
"MASH" used "Suicide is Painless"
The theme from "WKRP in Cincinnati" made the radio, IIRC.
Kids in the Hall used a song from Shadowy Men from a Shadowy Planet's first album as their theme.
The Art of Noise was responsible for the theme for "Max Headroom"
The theme of "Miami Vice" had a life of its own.
Theme for "The Monkees."
The "Cops" theme "Bad Boys"
The theme from "Hill Street Blues" also turned up on the radio.
posted by Gilbert at 12:56 PM on April 9, 2012


Five O'Clock World and later Cleveland Rocks were used as the theme for the Drew Carey Show.

Happy Days Theme (not Rock Around The Clock) also was played on the radio.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2012


One last one: The theme from "The Beverly Hillbillies" was performed by Earl Scruggs.
posted by Gilbert at 1:37 PM on April 9, 2012


"We Used to Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols- theme song for Veronica Mars.
posted by dean_deen at 7:10 PM on April 9, 2012


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