Choosing 10 best old TV show theme songs is hard, because there are so many great ones. And “ten best” lists are subjective, too. But here, we feature ten of the most memorable television themes of all time, with or without the lyrics. Our list takes into account many different factors, including historical significance, lasting appeal, and sheer popularity. See if these TV tunes will have you singing or humming along, remembering the good old days of television.
- "M*A*S*H." Topping our list of best TV theme songs is the melancholy music to “M*A*S*H.” A big-screen film inspired the Korean war comedy about a group who served at the fictional 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The iconic theme song appeared as “Suicide is Painless” in the original film, but it was stripped of its lyrics for the long-running television series.
- "Hawaii Five-O." Another instantly recognizable tune is the upbeat, surf-inspired theme to “Hawaii Five-O,” a drama about a fictional police unit in America's fiftieth state. Created in the 1960s, this popular television theme has unforgettable, timeless appeal. Widely known as an instrumental theme, this TV song actually has two vocal versions–one by Don Ho and the popular “You Can Count on Me,” by Sammy Davis, Jr.
- "Star Trek" (Original Series). “Star Trek” produced another original TV theme song we all know. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” is an instrumental created specifically for the science fiction TV series. In the original series, the theme was played during both the opening and closing credits. The ethereal music was the perfect choice, with a sound that seems to move into space…and beyond.
- "Mission: Impossible." As cool spy shows go, “Mission: Impossible” is one of the best around. The iconic main theme is certainly one of the best old TV themes of all time. The exciting music, with its suspense-building percussion instruments, evokes serious action and espionage.
- "Gilligan’s Island." “Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…” The “Gilligan’s Island” TV theme is a song most of us know by heart. It perfectly set up the old TV show, a comedy that was predictable but, nevertheless, memorable.
- "The Brady Bunch." “Here’s a story” that everyone can sing. We can identify “The Brady Bunch” song instantly, and most of us find it hard to resist singing along. The popular sitcom featured a “too good to be true” blended family, and the show's TV theme explained just how the Brady family came to be.
- "The Twilight Zone." The eerie theme for this old TV show, like the others in our "ten best" list, is immediately recognizable. The music informs viewers that something truly bizarre is about to happen when we enter "The Twilight Zone." We may recall how the Rod Serling voice-overs changed over the years, "a dimension of sight and sound," but the theme music remained a familiar indicator of weird and unexpected things to come.
- "The Andy Griffith Show." “The Andy Griffith Show” gave us a happy, wholesome theme song perfect for a happy, wholesome family show. As far as we can recall, it's also the only television theme song that features a robust whistling version. Is anyone up for a jaunt to the old fishing hole? Where have the good old days of Mayberry gone, anyway?
- "The Beverly Hillbillies." As old TV show theme songs go, “The Beverly Hillbillies” is unique. The popular song sets up each silly episode with a back-story of the Clampett family. The show ends with an outgoing theme song, too, which thanks the viewers for watching. "Y’all come back now, ya hear?” And let's not forget that the old TV song was educational, too. After all, it taught us several fun names for oil, like bubblin’ crude, black gold, and Texas tea.
- "All In The Family." “All in the Family” rounds out our list of ten best old TV show theme songs. Who hasn't been encouraged to sing along with those two lovable, screeching, and off-key actors? Written by a three-time Tony Award winner, “Those Were The Days” is a quirky, catchy, and memorable TV tune–in a Broadway kind of way.
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