Theme Songs That Are Musically Up-To-Date

Here’s an obscure TV theme song that I just found on YouTube (a pretty good one) that brings up a question: how often do TV shows have theme songs that actually reflect current trends in pop music? This show was called “Karen,” a one-season flop from 1964 starring Debbie Watson as a spunky, flighty teenager. It was one of several shows from the mid-’60s that were about teenaged girls, but this one had something resembling a rock n’ roll theme song, sung by the Beach Boys. It wasn’t exactly up-to-date for the fall of 1964, but it was closer than most teen shows of its era; The Patty Duke Show and Gidget were about teenagers, but had (terrific) theme songs in an old-fashioned big-band style that no teenaged girl of the time would have been listening to.

TV themes usually tend to be lagging indicators, if only because it’s dangerous to pick a song that’s too closely tied to a particular musical trend. (If you hope your show will last five years, you don’t want to have a song that will sound out of date in a year. Better to go with a Who song instead, since that’s always out of date.) But what are some other shows that featured theme music that had a closer-than-usual relationship to pop-music trends of the period?

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