Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The 100 Most Memorable Songs Introduced by Classic TV, Pt. 4

We’re reached the top 40 – so let’s channel our inner Casey Kasem and count them down once more. 

“Inside, Outside, Upside Down”
Josie and the Pussycats

This is bubblegum pop at its sweetest and most irresistible. If you remember ordering this 45 record from the back of a Kellogg’s cereal box, your childhood was awesome. 

Here Come the Brides

Bobby Sherman’s recording career didn’t take off until after he was cast in Here Come the Brides. But it wasn’t the show’s theme song that did it. In fact, “Seattle” was never released as a single. However, the song was a top-40 hit for Perry Como. I like Perry Como, but Sherman’s version is better. 

“Mah-na Mah-na”
Sesame Street

Technically, this song was not introduced by Sesame Street. It was first heard in a forgotten Italian film, and was also used as background comedy sketch music on The Red Skelton Show and The Benny Hill Show. However, it has become so associated with the Muppets that it belongs on this list. 

“Making Our Dreams Come True”
Laverne & Shirley

Some theme songs, like some TV shows, have aged better than others. This theme, I think, is one that has never lost its sunny appeal. The recording by Cyndi Grecco topped out at #25, and she was never heard from again. But she’ll be celebrated as long as people still watch the show.

“Conjunction Junction”
Schoolhouse Rock

With its Jack Sheldon vocal and jazzy arrangement, this may be the most popular of the Schoolhouse Rock shorts. 

The Love Boat

Sure, there’s a cheesy, Vegas lounge quality to this Jack Jones song, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It fits the escapist appeal of the series, and its description of love as “an open smile on a friendly shore” is a better lyric than most TV themes manage. 

“I Love Lucy”
I Love Lucy

It’s best remembered as an instrumental but there was a lyric, first heard when the song was performed by Desi Arnaz in the episode “Lucy’s Last Birthday.” 

“The Littlest Lamb”
The Flintstones

This is the only lullaby to make the list. As Pebbles drifts away to its calming melody and Ann-Margret’s soothing voice, the song plays over a simple but affecting dream sequence in the classic Hanna-Barbera style. The animation is evocative of nursery rhymes, and will take many of us back to our earliest television watching memories. 

“Good Ol’ Boys”
The Dukes of Hazzard

Series creator Gy Waldron once told me that the best Dukes of Hazzard episodes were those that could be adapted into a great country song. So it’s fitting that the series itself was introduced with a great country song, performed by one of the genre’s iconic artists. 

“High Fidelity”

Many talented young vocalists graced the halls of the High School for the Performing Arts (no, not you, Lori Singer), but for me the voice of Fame has always been Valerie Landsburg (Doris). This is my favorite of her many series performances. 

“Best Friend”
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father

Harry Nilsson had 8 top 40 hits. “Best Friend,” his joyful theme to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, was not one of them. It should have been. The song was never released as a single, perhaps because it was adapted from an earlier Nilsson composition called “Girlfriend.”


As with I Love Lucy here’s a classic theme with a rarely heard lyric (and quite a good one, too). You can hear it in records cut by Steve Lawrence and Peggy Lee. 

“True Love Is On Its Way”
The Krofft Supershow

Our third and final Kaptain Kool and the Kongs entry features Debra Clinger’s Superchick on lead vocal. Clinger should have gone on to much better things. Instead, she starred in the quickly canceled series American Girls and hasn’t been on TV since a 1982 episode of Hart to Hart

“The Sweet Sweet Sway”
The Electric Company

The show’s house band, The Short Circus, delivered several fun songs that helped kids learn about the English language, but this one was always a cut above the rest and it was clear the show knew it as well. It received a special introduction by Morgan Freeman’s DJ Mel Mounds, and was performed with the rest of the show’s cast in attendance. 

“The Ballad of Davy Crockett”

The series that arguably inspired the biggest merchandising craze of the 1950s also inspired one of the decade’s most famous theme songs. Several versions were recorded and three of them made the top 40, including one by series star Fess Parker. But it was the Bill Hayes rendition that went all the way to number one. 

“Keep Christmas With You”
Sesame Street

Anyone who watched Sesame Street into adulthood would not be surprised that it introduced a memorable Christmas song. “Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year)” was featured on several of the series’ holiday shows, beginning in 1975 and continuing through 2006’s Elmo Saves Christmas. Stick with the early versions. 

“The Mickey Mouse Club March”
Mickey Mouse Club

Composed by genial head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd, this is one of the great singalong tunes of TV’s golden age. Bonus points for the use of two equally memorable versions – the robust march that opened each episode, and the slower, gentler variant that signaled the end of our visit with the Mouseketeers (“Now it’s time to say goodbye…to all our company”)

“I Think I Love You”
The Partridge Family

I know it’s debatable whether there were 21 better TV-inspired songs than this chart-topping classic, but if it’s any consolation we haven’t seen the last of the Partridges on this list. 

“Travelin’ Man”
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

My second-favorite Ricky Nelson song. It was introduced on the series in 1961, in a sequence that may be among the first music videos ever produced. 

“Country Sunshine”

Yes, commercials do count on our top 100, especially when the music is as good as this. The song, performed by Dottie West, debuted in a commercial for Coca-Cola, and an extended version was later recorded by West (with the Coke reference removed). 

Next Week: We count down all the way to #1. Any guesses?


  1. Great to see the Sweet Sweet Sway listed. That song had Top 40 potential.

  2. Hey, I never knew the Bewitched theme was recorded with lyrics! I'll admit I always kinda liked the Love Boat Theme warbled by Jack Jones. It fit the show so perfectly in tone.