When Bad Things Happen To Good Theme Songs

One other thing about theme songs (and they still exist, sort of!) is that if the show runs long enough, the theme song will probably be re-recorded and re-arranged, and when that happens, it will often change in a really disappointing way. I understand the reasons behind the final-season remix of “We Used To Be Friends” on Veronica Mars. I do not have to like it.

What are some examples of theme songs that you liked that were re-arranged in ways you didn’t like?

Here’s one example. That Girl started out with a fine theme song by Earle Hagen, an instrumental that fit perfectly with the story of a single girl trying to make it in New York City:


The song was then rearranged several times, never sounding as good as the first version. But it never really got bad until the last season (just out on DVD), when they added lyrics to the song, gave it a late ’60s MOR pop arrangement, and ended it with the male chorus shouting the show’s title in unison. Not good.


And then there was the unfortunate transformation of The Bob Newhart Show theme by Lorenzo and Henrietta Music. (The original intro is not on YouTube, so here’s someone’s re-enactment of it.)


In the middle of the show’s run, composer Patrick Williams re-arranged and re-composed the theme into something that was more disco-friendly, replacing many of the original melodies with new, non-descript material.


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