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The 15 Most 80’s TV Theme Songs Ever


This is my first blog for the new site. I’m excited to be here and to have the opportunity to write about things that appeal to probably nobody else but me and seven of my friends. Some future blogs I hope to write are: Why do couples who are in the same house at the same time comment on a post or pic that the other person just posted on Facebook? Another topic will be on how moms of today with the advent of cell phone camera’s and Instagram are going to turn their kids against taking pictures like their Alec Baldwin dealing with the Paparazzi.

For this blog though, I am looking at old sitcoms and their theme songs. It seems like the art of the TV sitcom theme song has gone away the past decade. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s you had to have a strong theme song to be worth your salt. I’m sure most of us here have a few of these songs still stuck in our heads today, right? I really was selfish here and went with show’s that were prominent in my life, so no offense meant if I left one of your favorite shows off this list ok? Really this is just a stream of consciousness on a subject that is not that important, but hey, you’re here so you might as well stick around! So I give you the top 15 most 80 and 90-est TV Sitcoms and Sitcom theme songs of my childhood:

1. Growing Pains:

Really this is the standard for Sitcom theme songs. The song can’t be topped. It’s the perfect blend of emotional cheesiness, with the 1980’s corn-ball duet stylings. The Seavers were a legit family, granted it seems in retrospect that they just stole the Family Ties formula, with the first child becoming the star of the show, with the rest of the cast most likely being resentful for the rest of their lives. Like Michael J Fox, Kirk Cameron appeared to be heading on that same

Path to stardom, even starring in one of those “Switch-a-roo” movies with Dudley Moore called, Like Father Like Song. Then he got all churchy and submarined the show by refusing to show up on set if the scripts were too racy…I mean it’s not like this was Breaking Bad, he was refusing to show up on set if there was a scene with him alone with a girl in a room(allegedly)….Also they had a character on the show named Boner? I mean when was the word “boner” socially acceptable to be a name of a character on a network TV show? Could that possibly happen today? I mean could Big Bang theory have a character name “morning wood”, or “Johnny Erection”? Most of the stars from this show have gone on to smaller roles in a slew of forgettable TV and made for TV movies…except for the dude who played Ben….I bet he got sent to the same internment camp that Disney had for their child actors when they stopped being cute. With all that said, Growing pains will always have a special place in my heart.

2. Perfect Strangers: 

Here is one of the forgotten great theme songs with one of the most forgotten shitty below average sitcoms. It basically gives you the whole plot of the show in the song and then it does the montage of clips that spell out that there in Chicago, with the climax being the “Hey we can’t figure out the revolving door and keep missing each other” …classic. Basically Perfect Strangers was about Bronson Pinchot taking his character from Beverly Hills Cop, tweaking it a little bit, and adding some sugar and a pinch of cumin and BAM! You get Balki Bartokomous from the made-up island of Mypos joining his alleged, wound tight cousin Larry. All I really remember from this show is that Balki got himself and his cousin Larry into some serious mischief….that and I remember they were always trying to hook up with a pair of blonde stewardesses who lived their building. Every episode was basically this: Balki discovers a pretty woman on the street who asks him if he wants to have a good time, Balki takes her home to show her a picture of his family, not knowing she is a “lady of the night”. She ends up stealing Larry’s brief case that has his work presentation for the next day in it, so when Larry finds out he freaks out. Balki feels bad so the next day he goes to work with Larry and they do a very animated presentation that is just wacky enough that the old boss loves it…all is saved…Perfect Strangers.

3. Bosom Buddies: 

Seriously, men + dressing up as ladies = Comedy gold. The song is great…let’s take a good singer, Billy Joel, steal his song and instead of paying him money to use his version lets higher someone else to sing it worse. I like how they literally spell out every aspect of the show, which is understandable because you wouldn’t want new viewers to be utterly lost if they came late to the party so to speak. I also like the “boys will be boys” montage in this opening. We know don’t know what mischief these dudes are going to get into this week, but gosh it’s going to be fun to find out! On a seriousness note, do you think that Peter Scolari has a Ray Finkle like room in his house where he goes every day to curse to God that Hanks went on to become Tom Hanks and he went on to become the fourth lead in about nineteen lifetime channel movies?

I thought after Hanks won his second Oscar that Scolari was going to jump from a balcony, pull a John Wilkes Booth and yell “Sic Semper Tyrannis”.

4. Family Ties:

Why does this montage start with an artist drawing a portrait with a puke green color? The song is great, the clips are great, and everything is just great. I love the “were going to show this family is fun and full of chaos with the kid running into the kitchen and mom has to do a 360 spin to avoid a collision” that I’ve never seen happen in real life before. Also, remember this is 1983, a man’s world then, so why in the hell is Meredith Baxter Birney getting top billing by being the first credited actor? I guarantee that is why Michael Gross grew a beard after the first season; it was a silent protest of sorts I bet. Was this show meant to be a coming out party (no pun intended) for Meredith Baxter Birney to show case her talents?

Really this is the family when I was a kid, I wish I could have joined (sorry mom). They also did the thing were they threw a baby into the equation and then that baby ages alarmingly fast like some sort of mutant, so they can get some cheap laughs out of him talking like a grown-up. Did you know that Michael J Fox was originally not allowed to be in Back to the Future because the show runner from Family Ties wouldn’t let him do it, so originally Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly only he was so awful that they fired him and then were able to convince the powers to be to let Michael J Fox shoot the picture? Family Ties had one of the biggest stars in the world at that time, and probably because of that remained a top ten show for many years. It really freaks me out that it first aired almost thirty years ago….gross.

5. Different Strokes:

They don’t make songs like this anymore do they? It seems a little creepy right? I mean you got the two young boys running into the limo, when you watched this just now it made you feel a little creepy right? If not then watch this, the single most horrifying episode of a family sitcom ever, called the Bicycle man:

If you don’t have time to watch that episode, let me summarize; it’s about child molestation, but it’s really, really disturbing. I mean how did that actor who played the creepier ever work again in Hollywood? Playing a child molester on a sitcom seems high risk, no reward type of gig, right? I think we should just move on…lets move on.

6. Mr. Belvedere:

Like Who’s the Boss(which will cover in a little bit), this show was about a middle class family inexplicably having a live in butler in Mr. Lynn Belvedere. The song is really bizarre; it’s hard to describe other than it’s a really random song. We should point out that other than Bob Uecker none of these actors on the show were ever seen or heard from again. Somebody should maybe consider putting their faces on the back of milk cartons or something. I don’t really remember the details of any of the episodes on the show, other then, why does this blue collar family have a butler. Was the guy who played Mr. Belvedere supposed to be a big enough star to carry a show like this? Somebody older than 40 who is reading this please answer this in the comment section below.

7. Full House:

Full House was the work horse of the TGIF schedule back in the day. “Everywhere you look…there’s place of somebody who needs you!!!” No show utilized the studio audience “Awe” moment more than Full house. Every single freaking episode ended with life lessons parlayed with some great key board work. At some point that house got a little too “full” right? I mean there was like 18 people living in the Tanner house at one point it seemed. I mean none of the non-tanner adults ever wanted their own place? Uncle Jesse was the bad-ass on the show, at least so we were told, but then when his band, Jesse and The Rippers finally gets its big break, this is the video they make?

Then we have Joey, the friend of the family that never left the nest either? Every episode featured a forced shoehorned impression of Popeye or the Tasmanian devil or of course the ageless “cut, it, out” hand thing. Did you know that Joey dated Alanis Morissette in real life? Supposedly he broke her heart and was the inspiration for some of her biggest songs….I mean what? Joey Gladstone and Alanis Morissette…stop and ponder that for a moment. What happened to the Olsen twins? We haven’t heard or seen them in a while. I wonder if their off at Twin Island doing creepy Twin things that twins are known to do.

 8. Just the ten of us:

Just the Ten of Us was kind of like the Nevada brothel Bunny ranch of sitcoms. A house filled with attractive woman of all different hair colors. The dad was kind of a schlub but apparently possessed the genes to have really attractive daughters. Did you know this was a spin off from Growing Pains? Weird that they would decide to spin off a show based around the PE teacher from Growing pains right? I guess better the PE teacher then that d**k, Principle DeWitt. The Song is pretty catchy though, as it sounds like it was written exactly for this show. The Montage clips are good, although let’s be honest all the “teen age” daughters look like there at a minimum 27 or older. Another piece of trivia about this show is that I think three of the daughters from the show all acted in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies…pretty cool stuff you learn here right?

 9. Silver Spoons:

Not a great song in my opinion. It has the weird 80’s slow-motion freeze frame thing going on. Another show where most of the cast has never been seen or heard from again. Ricky Schroder went from gigantic star to doing the thing where in an effort to be taking seriously, shortens his name from Ricky to “Rick Schroder”, which is smart because I know I was sitting back going “thank god he changed his name for his stint on NYPD Blue because I wasn’t going to be able to stop shouting “champ…get up champ” if he hadn’t changed his name.”

Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air cut his teeth on this show, so I guess we can than them for that.

10. Charles In Charge:

Kinnnnnnd of a rip off of Who’s the Boss. The good looking Italian dude who inexplicably becomes the housekeeper slash nanny of a house that really doesn’t need that position. The song though is really underrated. It sums up the plot well, it’s got a good hook, and it’s really catchy. Did you know that Scott Baio is one of the most dominated athletes of our time. Look at him at the battle of the Network stars:

He was like a young Carl Lewis. Was this show ever on primetime? I feel like it was only on Saturday mornings at 10am. This show really never had much to say, seriously, it made Full House seem like an Arthur Miller play.

11. Golden Girls:

Weird show for me growing up, because I feel like every time I watched this show it was one large bet on who was going to die first and then how would they go on? Would they do the special two part show without a studio audience, which I know is wrong to say but this is a safe place to share so I said it. The song really sticks in your head though right? I mean as far as theme songs go, this has to be considered one of the best, because it’s impossible to get out of your head once you hear it.

12. Who’s the Boss:

“There was a time when I lost a dream or two, found a trail and at the end was you!” I’m guessing this song was written specifically for this show and I’m too lazy to look it up, so let’s just go with it. I’m guessing the line “There was a time I lost a dream or two” is referencing Tony Danza and soon to be extremely hot Alyssa Milano becoming indentured servants to Judith Light, her son and maybe the first Cougar ever on TV in Mona. Fast forward to the 6:40 mark and your welcome:

Was this the worst fraternity in the history of fraternity’s? One of the frat brothers is clearly in his late 30’s. So Tony Danza was an ex professional baseball player but found his true calling as a housekeeper for an average size house that probably really didn’t need live-in help. I’ve always had a soft spot for Tony Danza because he reminds me of my father. Did you see Tony Danza in Don Juan? He was awesome! I smell a comeback for Danza!

13. Facts of life:

Do you think George Clooney(who was on this show) has tried to get all these tapes destroyed?

This song will get stuck in your head like super glue! Try not singing that song twenty minutes from now.

14. Family Matters:

Somewhere over the course of its TV life the show went from a show about a family to a show about Steve Urkel:

How did everybody at that party learn the moves so fast? Did Urkel have that rap already memorized and was he saving it for just the right moment? Did he get laid soon after that. It sounds like the mom from the show is also the lead singer of its theme song right? I think this show was actually a spin off from Perfect Strangers, where the mom played the door women or worked the front lobby or something awful on that show. I just remember Family Matters always followed Full House on TGIF and each year the show became more terrible as it evolved into the Urkel show.

15. My Two Dads:

I added this show just because this is like the gold standard for late 80’s sitcoms, the theme song, the plot, the actors, everything about it is awful in all the best sorts of ways. I mean a judge decrees that these two men who have nothing in common and would never be friends under any circumstances are responsible for this teenage girl? And Dick Butkus is the cook? Can you imagine this ever airing on TV now? This had to come out right after Three men and a baby came out and the producers decided to get rid of one of the men, and have the baby be a teenager, right? For me, Paul Reiser will always be the weasel from Aliens, so therefore I couldn’t buy him in this role, because I kept waiting for him to entrap his daughter in a locked room with the alien to try and get her impregnated.

Well, you made it! Thanks for reading and come back again for my next snarky, averagely written blog!

  • claytonspivey

    aw no step by step or the jeffersons

  • Mike Shaheen

    The Greatest American Hero is number one in my book!

    • Matthew Gregg

      This. Strong list otherwise but I would have probably included Cheers/ Wonder Years/ and even though it wasn’t in the 80’s Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
      Love the reggae Growing Pains theme btw.

  • Scott Gallagher

    It was tough to pick there were so many….Step by step almost made the cut!

  • Johnny De Silveira

    You know you’re getting old when you know everyone of those theme songs by heart. :)

  • Antonio Mazzaro

    This blog had me at the description of a typical Perfect Strangers episode. Hilarious. Hell of an opening salvo. Welcome to PSR!

  • Brendan Fitzpatrick

    Well done Scott, was really happy to see both Perfect Strangers and Charles In Charge make the list.

  • Reli Rhap

    So fun, Scott! Thanks. Adding the clips was great. I feel like Law & Order was one of the first shows where I don’t remember a full theme song or score. I’m guessing that the songs stopped when producers realized that the time could be used better for more show time or advertiser time. Any thoughts? Look forward to your next blog.

    • I think it added more time to the show, but I also think we as viewers became more snarky, less apple-pie Ozzie and Harriet-ish and didnt need cheesy openings anymore.

  • homertownie

    If you didn’t grow up near NYC, then most of these shows made very little sense. Why did the shows of that era just rely upon the 15% of the country in the NYC area? Do NYC residents not watch any TV that isn’t about their neighborhood?

  • Paco

    Perfect Strangers is highly underrated. It is one of the funniest comedies of all time. Your description is largely wrong about it.

  • Phineas Crumpy

    I guess the 80s sitcoms really paved the way for more thought-provoking themes.