5 Catchiest Sitcom Theme Songs That Still Make You Hum Along

TV theme songs often become more iconic than the shows they belong to. A great theme song is catchy and helps set the stage for the show. Since television started, producers have recognized the importance of a fun and recognizable theme. Even in the modern era of streaming, theme songs are going strong—shoutout to gems such as “Hey Girl” (New Girl), “You’re Dead” (What We Do in the Shadows), and “Unbreakable” (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Though these and many more are excellent, some theme songs are so iconic almost everybody knows them. These sitcoms may have been off the air for many years, but their songs can still get your toes tapping!

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1. “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” — Cheers (1982-1993)

One of the most defining sitcoms of the 1980s was Cheers, the story of a Boston bar run by ex-baseball star Sam Malone. Viewers were captivated by Malone’s on-again, off-again relationship with waitress Diane Chambers and the colorful cast of characters. Cheers was so popular it spawned one of the most successful spinoffs in TV history, Frasier, which ran for another 11 years. No one can forget the Cheers theme song’s gentle piano opening and boisterous chorus. Play the music in a crowd—even today, decades after the show ended—and you’ll get everyone singing along. 

2. “Thank You For Being a Friend” — The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

The Golden Girls was a revolutionary show for its time for many reasons. For one thing, its protagonists were older women. It also dealt openly (and progressively) with many issues, including racism, sexual harassment, homosexuality, non-traditional families, and the AIDS crisis. Its all-star cast and witty writing kept it popular throughout its seven seasons. Its theme song, “Thank You For Being a Friend,” will instantly bring listeners back to the 1980s. The song, originally recorded by Andrew Gold in 1978, has become irrevocably linked with the sitcom. It’s just as catchy today as it was in 1985. 

3. “I Love Lucy” — I Love Lucy (1951-1957)

It’s not surprising that a television show about a professional musician would have a dynamic theme song. I Love Lucy was one of the biggest sitcoms of the 1950s, following the antics of Lucy Ricardo as she schemed a way to perform on the big stage alongside her husband. Who could forget Desi Arnaz’s bombastic performance of the song, especially lines such as Lucy kisses like no one can / She’s my missus, and I’m her man. Even if it’s been years since you last watched Lucille Ball get sauced on Vitameatavegamin or get hit in the face with a pie, you’ll find yourself singing along.

4. “I’ll Be There For You” — Friends (1994-2004)

The Rembrandts and their song “I’ll Be There For You” wasn’t the producers’ first choice for the Friends theme. But the band was probably glad they were the second choice since Friends became one of the biggest sitcoms of its time. The opening credits are almost equally unforgettable—many people spend hours searching New York City for the “Friends fountain” (good luck, it’s in Burbank, California). Friends has been off the air for decades, but everyone still knows that peppy theme song with its signature clap track. 

5. “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” — Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967)

Gilligan’s Island was a top-rated show, and its theme song might be one of the most famous themes of all time. It served two purposes: introducing the show and giving a backstory for the seven castaways and how they came to be stranded on the island. The sea shanty style is incredibly recognizable and was a big part of the show’s popularity during its original airing. Hardcore fans will recognize that some of the lyrics were changed between seasons, but it remains an incredibly catchy theme that many people can still sing along to at the drop of a hat.

Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for TV Land

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