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15 Best TV Show Themes Of All Time

These 15 TV show themes are so good, we dare you to listen to all without busting a move.

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15 - Sanford and Son (1972–1977)

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This catchy southern tune was recently featured in X-Men Days of Future Past as a cheeky diversion tactic during a high stakes break in. If I too were a nameless government lackey in that scenario, I would not be able stop myself from humming along and dancing a little in my seat. According to Imdb, Redd Foxx was a huge fan of the '30s vocal group The Ink Spots and sang many of their songs on the show while paying the royalties out of his own pocket.

14 - Happy Days (1974–1984)

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Ayyyyyye! In summer of 1976, "Theme From Happy Days" was a hit single, peaking at #5 on the national charts. The show might have eventually spawned a phrase that would forever mean that a series is taking a turn for the worse, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this show was on the air for ten solid years, and is still considered a classic to this day. Long live the Fonz!

13 - Hey Dude (1989–1991)

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Hey Dude was a relatively short lived show during Nickelodeons golden years (i.e. The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Salute Your Shorts, and so on) but it wasn’t cancelled for lack of quality or popularity. It was axed when Nickelodeon opened their studios in Orlando, Florida and couldn't justify the production costs for filming in Arizona where the original set still stands today. Because of this brief shelf life, it is the twangy country style theme that resonates most in the memories of fans today instead of the characters or plot lines.

12 - Jeffersons (1975–1985)

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Whether you watched the show or not, who can’t get excited when that gospel inspired diddy by Ja'net DuBois starts blaring through your speakers? With 253 episodes aired, the Jeffersons, a spin off of All in the Family, aired more seasons and episodes than the original show itself, with actor Sherman Hemsley being the only actor to appear in every single one.

11 - Simpsons (1989– Present)

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Not many shows can claim that its theme was created by a world class composer like Danny Elfman (not to mention being the longest-running prime-time animated series in US TV history). Matt Groening approached Elfman for a “retro-style” theme, and according to Wikipedia, the piece took 3 days, 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 19 seconds to create. It has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career, even more so than his numerous works for Tim Burton and Sam Raimi.

10 - Hawaii Five O (1968–1980)

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One of those rare themes that everyone remembers even with the lack of any lyrics. The Five-O in the series' title pertains to Hawaii's rank as being the 50th state to enter the union, but soon became a slang term for police officers all over the country. Ironically, despite the attention that Hawaii Five-0 brought to Hawaiian state law enforcement, Hawaii is the only state that has no state police agency.

09 - Addams Family (1964–1966)

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Is it weird that my family has the same chair Morticia sat in during the opening credits? Apparently, Filmways didn't want to pay singers to record the theme song, so composer Vic Mizzy triple overdubbed his own voice to simulate a trio, and when he auditioned the proposed theme for the producer, he simply added the snaps which became an important part of the score.

08 - X:Men Animated Series (1992–1997)

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Before the live action mega franchise, there was an animated series following our favorite mutant crusaders. Initially, Fox was concerned that kids wouldn't keep up with a show that was serialized, but it held out for an impressive five years and still has cult fans to this day. For me, the shows’ opening, complete with it’s epic theme song, always got me excited and eager to watch on.

07 - Muppet Show (1976–1981)

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Besides the theme song, very few songs were actually written for the show. They were taken from old comedy albums, vaudeville standards and British music hall routines. However; of all the musical numbers they cooked up for the show, the one the producers were most proud of was created from Harry Belafonte's request for a meaningful piece, "Turn the World Around”, which was so beloved by the Muppet performers that Harry Belafonte sang the song at Jim Henson's funeral.

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While I’m aware that it isn’t a theme song, Mahna Mahna should also be mentioned as the unofficial second theme song for the Muppets based on it’s awesomeness!

06 - Friends (1994–2004)

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This theme has a fun back story: The shows original theme song was "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M., but was changed later on to "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts. Once chosen, the opening credits sequence in which the stars dance in a fountain was shot in the Warner Bros LA lot at 4am where the group was given the words to the Rembrandts song but it was not playing in the background because the song had not been recorded.

05 - Get Smart (1965–1970)

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A TV series created by Mel Brooks, based on the premise of a bumbling James Bond, is not only a classic laugh fest but also the origin of a song that once heard will keep playing in your brain on a loop for days to come. Not kidding. The sixties was a great time for comedic television and an even greater time for theme songs, especially ones like this brain barnacle. In 2010, TV Guide ranked Get Smart's opening title sequence at No. 2 on its list of TV's Top 10 Credits Sequences, and I’m sure the brassy theme had something to do with it.

04 - Duck Tales (1987–1990)

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Similar to number 8 on this list, this is a TV theme that won’t be remembered by a large generational spectrum, but the 20-30 somethings that do will defend its value until they’re old and grey. It was written by Mark Mueller, who also wrote the theme song to Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and sung by Jeff Pescetto with classic late 80s Michael Jackson-esque inflection. For those of you who watched the series as a child, I dare you to say “Duck Tales” without an appending “Woo-ooh”… That’s right, you can’t.

03 - Pink Panther (1969–1976)

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This sexy, jazzy theme was originally written for the 1963 film The Pink Panther by Henry Mancini and ended up being nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Score. The tune was issued as a single in 1964, reached the Top 10 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart, and won three Grammy Awards. Of course, with a song that celebrated, it would only be natural to let it carry on to the television series.

02 - Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990–1996)

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Before Will Smith was the mega successful action star, he was an 80s rapper with a personality so likable that NBC wanted to create a sitcom centered around him. Part of the shows’ charm is the opening rap ballad explaining how exactly Will came to a town called Bel Air. As a fun cameo, Quincy Jones, the executive producer on the show and co-composer of the theme song, plays the cab driver in the opening credits with dice on his mirror.

01 - Cheers (1982–1993)

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You know you have a good theme when every time somebody hears it, they can’t help but smile and sing along. In fact, any time I’ve heard this classic played in my lifetime, at least one person in the room has always said “I love this song!” without fail. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say it: I LOVE THIS SONG! The full-length single version of this song was recorded by Gary Portnoy and included a second verse. The song received an Emmy Award nomination in 1983 for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics, and in 2013, the editors of TV Guide magazine named "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" the greatest TV Theme of all time.

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