Song Lyric Sunday: “Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Baretta’s Theme)”

The prompt “animal” reminded me of a song in one of my favorite genres, namely TV Themes.

The show was Baretta, which ran from 1974-1978 and starred Robert Blake as the title character, an unorthodox police detective from the 53rd Precinct of “some unknown city”‘s police department (i.e. the NYPD) who often worked in disguise and in his off hours lived in a rundown hotel with his cockatoo Fred. Baretta replaced Toma after the latter’s lead character, Tony Musante, left after one season. The theme song was written by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames, originally as an instrumental, with lyrics added shortly after the show began. Sammy Davis Jr. sang the theme, and released it as a single in 1976. It reached #42 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but failed to crack the Hot 100, peaking at #101.

Lyrics courtesy Lyrics.com:

Don’t go to bed with no price on your head,
Don’t do it.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Don’t roll the dice if you can’t pay the price,
Don’t do it.
Don’t run your feet down a dead-end street.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Don’t do me dirt or you’re gonna get hurt
Don’t do it.
Don’t run away till you hear what I say.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

Ain’t gonna fight with no thief in the night
Won’t do it.
I’m gonna go where the cold wind don’t blow.

Keep your eye on the sparrow,
When the going gets narrow.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for March 10, 2019.

20 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: “Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Baretta’s Theme)”

    1. Uh huh. How about an unorthodox Greek cop who sucks on Tootsie Pops? Or an unorthodox cop who wears a rumpled trenchcoat, smokes cigars, and seems like he’s perpetually confused and attention-challenged but is really sharp and knows within moments of meeting a perpetrator that s/he’s the one? Or….

      Liked by 4 people

  1. At the end of last year Robert Blake filed to end his marriage with his third wife. I just watched the first James Bond movie the other day Dr. No and he liked his Beretta and was reluctant to switch to the Walther PPK.

    Like

    1. Wikipedia says Ian Fleming got a letter from a Geoffrey Boothroyd who told him the Beretta was a girly gun and suggested the Walther PPK. Now I think he carries a P99.

      I suppose divorcing his wife is a better idea than killing her…

      Like

    1. Those were my college years, when I didn’t watch a whole lot of TV, at least not a lot of primetime TV. It hasn’t shown up on any of the vintage TV channels just yet.

      Like

  2. I forgot this theme song entirely but remember the show. You know, this theme song sounds shockingly like the theme song for the HBO series, “Oz”, enough that it could be considered a ripoff.

    Like

  3. I faintly remember the show (I was also in college for part of its run at the time). It’s too bad, though, how theme songs – such as this one – don’t get much recognition or attention. This is very catchy. I imagine it ran over the opening credits.

    Like

    1. Some of them are minor masterpieces. A few of them have been released as singles (“SWAT,” “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Happy Days,” etc.) but there are so many that would have made great listening. My guess is that the vocal version ran over the opening credits, the instrumental over the closing ones.

      Liked by 1 person

You can use Markdown in your comments. Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s