Five For Friday: More Instrumental TV Themes

Here are some more instrumental TV themes. Six, to be exact, just like last week.

  1. Nelson Riddle, "Route 66 Theme": After last week, Fandango pointed out that I had omitted this one. Actually, I left it out because I thought I played it a little too often, but apparently not. Which is good, because this is a great TV theme. CBS didn’t want to pay royalties to Bobby Troup for his song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" and commissioned Nelson Riddle to write a new theme for the 1960-1964 TV series that starred Martin Milner and George Maharias. This was one of the TV themes that made it to the Billboard Top 30, along with Ray Anthony’s "Dragnet" and "Peter Gunn" and Henry Mancini’s "Mr. Lucky." It also received two Grammy nominations in 1962.

  2. The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, "Quentin’s Theme": From the 1966-1971 soap opera Dark Shadows. Bob Cobert wrote the theme and it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme, but it lost to John Barry’s theme from Midnight Cowboy. This version was released as a single in 1969 and it reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Easy Listening chart.

  3. The Marketts, "Batman Theme": Neal Hefti composed the theme for the 1966-1968 TV series Batman, and Nelson Riddle conducted it. The Marketts, who had a million-seller in 1963 with the song "Out Of Limits," covered the song in 1966 and took it to #17.

  4. Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin Jr., "Nadia’s Theme": Originally titled "Cotton’s Dream" and written for the 1971 movie Bless The Beasts And The Children, it became the theme music for the soap opera The Young & The Restless when that show began in 1973. ABC’s Wide World of Sports used it as the background music for a montage of clips of gymnast Nadia Comaneci taken during the 1976 Summer Olympics, which is why the song was associated with her and was renamed "Nadia’s Theme." (She never used the song in the Olympics, however; she used a piano arrangement of "Yes Sir, That’s My Baby" and "Jump In The Line.") The song reached #7 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart and #8 on the Canadian singles chart, and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart in the US.

  5. Rhythm Heritage, "Theme From S.W.A.T.": Barry DeVorzon also wrote the theme song for the 1975-1976 TV series S.W.A.T. Rhythm Nation’s single reached #1 in the US and Canada, one of the few TV themes to top the charts.

  6. Grant Geissman, "Theme From Monk": I wanted to include this original theme from the 2002-2009 TV series Monk lest it become lost to the ages. It was written by Jeff Beal and performed by jazz guitarist Grant Geissman. It won the 2003 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music. So, of course, it was replaced. Starting with Season 2, Randy Newman’s "It’s A Jungle Out There" became the theme song for the show starring Tony Shalhoub, and judging from the comments on this video, more than a few fans of the show (myself included) were disappointed, not because Newman’s song is bad, but because this was just so perfect.

And that’s Five For Friday for July 24, 2021.

12 thoughts on “Five For Friday: More Instrumental TV Themes

  1. Hi John – I love hearing these again … but Route 66 certainly brings lots of memories back. Cheers -Hilary


    1. I never got a chance to ride on Route 66, but I remember a woman telling me about her trip, all the way from Chicago to LA. This song captures the feeling of being on that road, I think better than the other did.


  2. These are great picks even the Old & the Useless one:) It figures that the Monk song from the first season would go. This has happened more than once. I remember Simon & Simon and loved the opening for the first season that had a Mexican vibe to it. They replaced it with a more typical one for that time.


  3. Cool tunes,the first one is Never played too much! I love all the old themes. I added you to my 5 On Friday posting. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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