A television show is nothing without its theme song. It’s an important part of every series and should be instantly recognizable, immediately hooking audiences from the jump. Television theme songs of the 1970s reflected the decade’s grooving musical style with funked-up bass lines, bouncing rhythms, and arrangements just as over-the-top as the shows.
Videos by American Songwriter
Videos by American Songwriter
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Below are 7 hit TV theme songs from the 1970s.
1. Happy Days – “Happy Days”
The hit television show Happy Days was a blast to the past. Leather-clad greasers and sock hops abounded in the 1970s show about a teen’s idyllic 1950s American life. The series’ theme saw various iterations in the first couple of seasons. The final bouncy doo-wop version from Pratt & McClain is the one that stuck, becoming a hummable hit.
2. S.W.A.T. – “Theme from S.W.A.T.”
S.W.A.T.‘s instrumental theme song was the perfect pairing to the hit action and crime show. With a sturdy funk bass line washed in bright, exciting horns, the “Theme from S.W.A.T.,” written by Barry De Vorzon and performed by American funk group Rhythm Heritage, matched the series’ adventurous nature.
3. The Jeffersons – “Movin’ On Up”
The extremely successful All in the Family spin-off series, The Jeffersons, had an unmatched theme song in Ja’Net DuBois’ and Jeff Barry penned gospel-tinged tune, “Movin’ On Up.” Sung by DuBois with the assistance of a choir, “Movin’ On Up” perfectly synopsizes the show’s premise – the Jefferson family moved from Queens to a luxurious apartment in Manhattan after the success of their dry-cleaning business skyrockets.
4. Laverne & Shirley – “Making Our Dreams Come True”
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated, chant the titular characters in the show’s opening credits before going into the theme song, “Making Our Dreams Come True,” Written by composer Charles Fox and the late lyricist Norman Gimbel.
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The song is an apt opener for the Happy Days spin-off, Laverne & Shirley. The show is centered around two friends and roommates on a mission to make it. It was another period series set roughly around the same time as its parent show.
5. Baretta – “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow”
The crime drama Baretta follows the adventures of a master of disguise detective Tony Baretta. Sung by the legendary Sammy Davis Jr., the series’ funk-fueled, cuckoo-ing theme, “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow,” written by Morgan Ames and Dave Grusin, was the perfectly over-the-top addition to the show.
6. Three’s Company – “Come and Knock on Our Door”
The theme of Three’s Company, a show centered around a trio of roommates, is the grooving “Come and Knock on Our Door,” written by Don Nicholl and composed by Joe Raposo. The animated crooning and twinkling notes mimic the goofy nature of the off-kilter sitcom.
7. Diff’rent Strokes – “It Takes Diff’rent Strokes”
The popular TV show, Diff’rent Strokes, followed Arnold and Willis Jackson, two young boys taken in by a wealthy widower and his daughter. The series’ bouncing theme song, “It Takes Diff’rent Strokes,” written by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring, and Al Burton, accurately sums up the show’s premise, chronicling a man of means and then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.
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One CommentLeave a Reply
Did we forget the Hawaii Five-O theme by the Ventures?? The original show ran from late 1968 through 1980.