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Top 50 TV Theme Songs of All Time – No. 20-11

     TV theme songs are a lost art form. That’s not my opinion, that’s the genuine reality of the current television landscape. So many series these days think it’s enough to display a 5-second title card with a few musical notes and call it their theme song. Back in the day, TV theme songs used to introduce you to a show. Some of them would reveal the entire premise performed by an aging cruise singer. Others would simply use a really catchy melody to reel viewers in. Either way, theme songs have been an integral part of television as an art form and I’m here to give them their due.

     I will be counting down the top 50 television theme songs of all time over the next few days. The rankings and omissions found in the countdown are my personal opinion and not entirely reflective of the common television viewer. However, some themes are so iconic regardless of my own personal opinion that they deserve a spot on the list. 

Click here to view the shows that came in at No. 50-41.
Click here to view the shows that came in at No. 40-31.      
Click here to view the shows that came in at No. 30-21.      

Featured in this post will be No. 20-11.

Here we go:
20. Happy Days
An unabashedly happy theme song, the theme to Happy Days is so positive and cheerful that you can’t help but want to hang out with Richie, Fonzie and the gang. The song, which was actually a replacement for season 1’s “Rock Around the Clock”, is a fantastic theme emphasizing harmonies and the simple delight of happy days. 

19. Twin Peaks
A hauntingly beautiful instrumental, the Twin Peaks theme perfectly captures the seemingly quaint small town of Twin Peaks while highlighting its sinister undertones. There is a nostalgic sadness to this theme that simultaneously becomes and parodies the ridiculous primetime soaps of the ’80s and ’90s.

18. The Simpsons

A madcap everything-but-the-kitchen-sink song, the theme to The Simpsons is instantly recognizable from its heavenly opening notes. With the zaniness that only composer Danny Elfman could accomplish, the theme is a truly unique song unlike any other theme that’s ever been on television.

17. Maude

Maude isn’t a particularly memorable show in the grand scheme of television, but its theme is undeniably fantastic. The theme covers pioneering women over the course of history and hilariously compares them to the lead character, Maude. There aren’t many themes more joyful than this.

16. The Office

A simple little piano tune that turns into a rocking instrumental, the theme to The Office may not be iconic now but I’m sure it will be when looked upon from the future. The song is earnest and sweet while also having that edginess that turned The Office into a modern-day sitcom classic. 

15. All in the Family

The theme to All in the Family is so iconic that it was actually parodied in the Family Guy theme song. With Archie (Carroll O’Connor) and Edith (Jean Stapleton) sitting at the piano and singing, the pair reflected on the good old days while in the midst of a changing social climate, encapsulating the central conflict of the series.

14. Laverne & Shirley

Another ridiculously happy theme from the ’70s, the Laverne & Shirley theme is such a rocking good time that it transcends the cynicism of modern-day theme songs. The wordiness of the opening lyrics are charmingly tongue-in-cheek and the song as a whole beautifully reflects the friendship between the titular characters.

13. The X-Files

A hauntingly memorable theme, The X-Files theme song strikes a perfect balance between edgy coolness and genuine creepiness. Both the piano and the whistling are enough to get the song stuck in your head for hours. Few horror/thriller shows can pull off a bone-chilling theme convincingly, but The X-Files really does.

12. Sanford and Son

The Sanford and Son theme song is perhaps the funkiest song I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard some funky songs in my day. There’s a reason Scrubs devoted an entire scene to the theme song. The song is such a no-nonsense, brassy number that perfectly encapsulates the main character and the central conceit of the show.

11. The Golden Girls

“Thank you for being a friend.” Such a simple phrase turned into one of the most touching theme songs of all time. The Golden Girls may have been sarcastic and crass at times, but the four women at its core stuck together through thick and thin, which isn’t anywhere more apparent than in the sentimental yet fitting theme song.
That’s all for now. Check back in next time for my top 10 theme songs of all time.
Feel free to comment below on any of my choices and make suggestions for what should be in my top 10!
Thanks for reading.

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