Even if the song didn’t have words, we knew the melody. For all the talk of how great some of these sitcoms were, we mustn’t forget the very first reason we tuned in was to dance or sing or rap along to the song played during the opening credits. Here are nine of our favorite sitcom theme songs.
Show: “The Cosby Show”
With the exception of seasons 6 and 7, the composers of the “The Cosby Show” theme song (Bill Cosby himself along with Stu Gardner) switched up the arrangement of their theme song, “Kiss Me” every season. Never accompanied by lyrics, this swinging number stayed true to Bill Cosby’s affinity for jazz music.
Show: “A Different World”
Though originally sung by Phoebe Snow, “A Different World”‘s bluesy opener really caught fire when Aretha Franklin took the reigns for the show’s next four seasons. In the show’s final season, the theme song remained, but was performed by Boyz II Men.
Show: “Family Matters”
For those who watched the classic early-90’s sitcom lineup, known as TGIF on ABC, the “Family Matters” theme song is easily one of the most memorable. “As Days Go By”, sung by the song’s composer Jesse Frederick was upbeat with easy-to-remember lyrics, of which we learned every word.
Show: “Living Single”
With one line — “in a 90’s kind of world/I’m glad I got my world girls” — a decade of young women finally had their theme music. While the soulful feel of “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” definitely inspired the “Living Single” theme song, Queen Latifah’s aggressive rap and melodic hook were a welcome twist to the conventional theme song formula.
Show: “Sanford And Son”
When Quincy Jones composes your television show theme song, words aren’t necessary. The theme song for “Sanford and Son”, was originally composed by Jones in 1973, and entitled “The Streetbeater”. A danceable jazz funk composition heavily inspired by the scores of Blaxploitation soundtracks.
Show: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Will Smith had some hip-hop classics under his belt; “Summertime”, “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand”, etc. The list goes on, but it has to include “The Fresh Prince”, the theme song from the Quincy Jones produced-sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” More than your typical TV theme song, “The Fresh Prince” was an absolute jam that had people doing the wop while rapping along. The song was such a hit for Smith, he included the full length version on his Greatest Hits album.
Show: “Good Times”
Probably the hardest lyrics to ever decipher in a television theme song, the “Good Times” theme, a gospel-inspired song composed by Dave Grusin was so catchy, it was practically some people’s favorite song. But we’re still trying to figure out the words…someone tell us, is it “hanging in a chow line” or “hanging in and jiving”?
To “Moesha”s credit, the theme song sounded exactly like something Brandy, who played the show’s title character, would feature on her album. “Mo-to-the-E-to-the…”you know the rest.
Show: “Sister, Sister”
The theme song to “Sister Sister” was one of those songs that got stuck in a person’s head from the opening note. “SISTER, SISTER!” may have been the only words people knew by heart, but anyone who sang them knew exactly how to sing those two words with the same emotion displayed on the show.