“Theme music” is often composed specifically for TV series, radio programmes, movies or video games. The importance of a catchy introductory theme or a foot-tapping background score goes a long way in determining the long-lived success of any television series. The purpose of the music is to set the mood for the show. In terms of radio programmes it serves as an audible indication that a show is about to begin. From as early as the mid-fifties, people have witnessed the evolution of theme music. From early classics like Rawhide to modern day shows, one can witness the importance of theme songs as a comprehensive determinant. The following is a list of the best theme songs to have featured in television shows:
10. Hill Street Blues:
The piano-led heartfelt composition by the legendary Mike Post contradicts the usual adrenaline pumping music attributable to a cop-show. The background score, quite like the plot of the show revolved around the “lesser paid attention to” details involving a cop’s life. The theme music of this TV series starts with the sound of sirens and quickly yet subtly transforms into a deep sombre. A perfect song to relax with when the rain is pouring, it is undoubtedly one of Mike Post’s finest pieces.
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The Western track has been made use of again and again since its debut in the sixties. The sound represents the era in which westerns used to be colossal. Composed by David Rose, the theme encompasses everything that is a requisite to make a hit TV show based around the lives of cowboys. Only Rawhide comes second to it.
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8. Twilight Zone:
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination, beyond it is another dimension.” The eerie theme music always retains a feeling of something bizarre about to happen much like the twisted plots out of a Lovecraft book. Bernard Hermann provided the score for the first season. The extremely popular Twilight Zone theme from the second season was written by avant-garde composer Marius Constant. The theme has inspired many musicians with their own compositions including the likes of Iron Maiden, John Fahey, Golden Earring.
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7. The Office:
A casual ‘YouTube’ search can lead one to a hundred links with covers to this show’s theme music originally by ‘The Scrantones’. It is short, sweet and tailor made for a light-hearted comedy revolving around office shenanigans. This wonderful Scrantones piece boasts of good piano-playing working harmoniously with the wailing sound of the accordion. Perhaps that is the reason why folks around the world find it irresistible to put online covers of their own versions.
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An animated show doesn’t get more “real” than Batman. The theme song by Neal Hefti has stood the test of time and is still one of the favourites to be played. The theme shows the carefree and mellow side of today’s cape-clad crusader. Who needs words when one can just “da da dee dah” along with the theme. The tune is sure to get stuck in everyone’s head.
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Who can possibly forget the memorable theme music for this critically acclaimed television series. The theme-song composed by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman is the instrumental version of “Suicide is Painless”. Despite being just an instrumental, the melancholy contained in it is strong enough to stir even the hardest of humans. The acoustic-led arrangement is in-synch with the helicopter flying that one can imagine the sound of the swirling blades even in the absence of it.
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4. The X-files:
The theme music of this TV series has an eerie feeling as if being drawn into a gaping hole with mysterious nooks cropping up every now and then. A carefully crafted amalgamation of a horror-movie” background score done exceptionally well by composer Mark Snow. A perfect blend with the storyline, the theme reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart. It has received critical acclaim all over the world and rightfully so.
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3. Prison Break:
Ever imagined being caught up in a tangled predicament and the soul emanating a powerful shrill? Well, that is what greets one whenever Prison Break’s theme starts playing. The overall success of the show can be attributed to the hardwork of composer Ramin Djawadi. A perfect synergy of musical progressions and the right use of electronic percussion secures a theme that conveys the necessary emotions.
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2. The Sopranos:
If one has ever lived the life of Tony, the first thing that comes to one’s head is the song “Woke up this morning” by the British group ‘Alabama 3’. The killer bass-line followed by the baritone vocals entice one to actually sit through the entire show. An HBO original never fails to amaze people with its intro theme music and ‘The Sopranos’ is no exception to it. Deservingly so, it stands #2 on this list.
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1. Game of Thrones:
If it is Game of Thrones, it deserves the top slot. The genius of Ramin Djawadi can not only be heard, but can be felt as an enunciation whenever it plays. Going with the plot, it etches itself as one of the best intro themes. The “clink” sword effect has been successfully employed by the composer and it gives a lot.
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