I am really excited. In fact, I am so ridiculously excited, I could burst. I am literally sitting on the edge of my bed, rocking back and forth with glee at the prospect of the amazing thing that is going to enrich my life in less than 12 hours.
(This is the part where you ask, ‘why are you so excited?’)
Why? Because tonight I will be getting as close to my favourite part of TV-Land as it is possible to get – I will be heading to the Sydney Opera House to see the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, presented by Alex Kingston and Mark Williams.
Those of you who aren’t fans of this classic BBC series may not quite understand how incredibly exciting this all is but let me tell you, this is so exciting it almost hurts. Not only are the actors who played two of my favourite guest characters from last season hosting, it’s all the Doctor Who music and video and stuff and eeeeeeeeee!
But in all my excitement about the Daleks and the Opera House and the TARDIS and OH MY GOD, BRIAN (whoops, thar be spoilers in that link), I started thinking about the huge role that music plays in television as a whole. Sure, not all the programs on our sets have the grandiose scores of Murray Gold, but most of them have a theme tune or a certain sound about them that helps us hurtle into their worlds of wonder.
So this week, we’re exploring ten tunes from the world of television soundtracks: from the themes that burrow their way into the happy part of your brain; to the originals that helped create the sound of some family favourites; to the tunes that were never really the stars of the show, but still became stars as a result of being part of the world inside the box.
1. I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts
If you think ‘TV Songs’ and this isn’t the first one that pops into your head, then you and I are very different people, and may probably never really be proper friends. (Geddit? Okay, I’ll stop.)
This song was not only the theme to arguably the biggest sit-com of the 90s, it pretty much was the sound of the late 90s. The jangly pop-rock, the post-grunge optimism, the ridiculously catchy chorus: it’s a formula you can hear in a stack of popular songs from the era, and in this case, makes for one of the best and easily recognised theme tunes of the last 20 years.
Yeah, think about that for a second. This song was released in 1995. Next year, it will be old enough to drink.
Feel old yet? Good.
2. It’s Good News Week – Hedgehoppers Anonymous
You’ve probably never heard of the band, but if you are an Australian who enjoys satirical news-based game shows and are over the age of 15, then you will almost certainly have heard the song on Good News Week at some time during its various runs between 1996 and 2012.
This tune was a bit of a one-hit-wonder for the band back in 1965, with their following four singles doing nowhere near as well, and the band splitting up soon after. Luckily for us, it made a comeback as one of the best themes for one of the best Australian programs ever produced, with the incredible Paul McDermott on vocals. (Which, for the record, leaves the original for dead.)
So there you go: a walk down memory lane and some learnin’! What more could you ask for?
3. I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy’s Song) – The Whitlams
I really hope you answered that last question with “a video clip where a football player takes a dump, mid-game, on national television”, because that’s what gets served up in this little gem. Written as a tribute to one of the main characters of the cult ABC show, Love Is A Four Letter Word, this tune quickly became a fan favourite, despite being featured on one of their less successful albums.
Oh, and extra points for Tim Freedman’s incredible lack of a decent haircut and Terepai Richmond’s improvised drum kit. Seriously, to call this video anything short of amazing would be selling it short.
4. Spicks & Specks – The Bee Gees
This is a pretty simple song, and definitely not the best tune in the Bee Gees’ back catalogue. But give a simple chord progression (that is also an incredibly catchy lick) to the incredible duo that is The Dissociatives, and you get the perfect soundtrack to a magnificent opening credits sequence. Tie that incredible visual to an equally fantastic, family-friendly music quiz show (with some inventive new games) and, if you happen to be the ABC, you might just have one of the biggest surprise hits of the last decade on your hands.
What’s no surprise, however, is that despite the program wrapping up last year, it’s going to be back on our screens in 2013, with a whole new cast of faces. Bring it on!
5. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
I’m not going to tell you straight away which show this tune belongs to, but I’m pretty sure you’ll work it out from those opening chords. I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
Got it yet?
Did you guess CSI: Miami? If so, allow me to put on my sunglasses and give you a resounding YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!
Okay, I have nothing more to add to this entry. I just wanted an excuse to link to that button, and to be honest, any excuse will do.
(If you have any Horatio-worthy puns, please leave them in the comments!)
6. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Before 2007, nobody outside the UK really knew who Snow Patrol were. Sure, they had released four albums and done quite well in their homeland, but for the rest of the world, they weren’t even really a blip on anybody’s radar.
And then Grey’s Anatomy happened.
After this song was used in the second season finale, it hit the Top Ten in eleven countries. Snow Patrol won a Grammy and a Brit Award, and went on to be one of the most played artists of the year. “Chasing Cars” was everywhere, infiltrating eardrums right across the globe, a passive ode to love.
Almost six years on, it’s still lovely, and unfortunately, still reminds me of all the nonsense that revolved around a show where the main character’s love interests read like a fast-food menu.
I still like the song, though.
7. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps – Lisa Bassenge & The J-chestra
So the version in our playlist is not the original, nor is it the cover used in the opening credits of Coupling, but Doris Day didn’t feel quite right, okay?
If you haven’t seen Coupling, you are missing out on some of the naughtiest, most incredibly relevant comedy relating to the topic of dating and social norms ever written. (Are you ready for the Giggle Loop? Or maybe you want to learn how to flirt with men?) It’s sharp, it’s rude and it’s marvellous! The sultry opening number is just the icing on the cake.
8. Break Your Fall – Eddie Perfect
Unfortunately, the live performance from the original Offspring episode doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, so instead you’ll have to engage in a staring contest with one of the most versatile performers in Australia.
Perfect has written some killer tunes for this series over the last couple of seasons (as has newcomer, Clare Bowditch), and this was one of the first and one of the best that he has blessed us with.
9. The Muppet Show Theme – The Muppets
If there is one television show I love more than Doctor Who, it would have to be anything that is even vaguely Muppet-based. Between my sister and I, we have almost all the movies, and all the seasons of the original TV show that have currently been released in Australia. I can recite huge chunks of Muppet Treasure Island, and it was only when I realised how much Jason Segel loved them that I also realised how much I loved Jason Segel. (HINT: It’s a lot.)
(Now, if we can just get them to make a TV show again, my life will be complete.)
10. Doctor Who Theme (2011) – Murray Gold
Oh, don’t pretend you didn’t see it coming. I couldn’t do a post prompted by Doctor Who and not put in what is arguably the best theme song of all time!
After all, it was one of the first completely electronic pieces of music made for television, it’s stood the test of time for almost 50 years AND it has a place in the actual canon storyline! Seriously, I dare you to find a better-loved theme than this, because it is just pure perfection in every single way and nothing you can say will persuade me otherwise.
Plus, I’m going to hear it in the Sydney Opera House tonight and…
Ed: It appears Noni stopped writing at this point, probably to dissolve into squeals of pure joy.
If you have any favourite TV show tunes, let us know in the comments below, via Twitter, or on our Facebook page!
Next week, Noni will offer up Ten Festive Tunes (That Won’t Make You Want To Murder Your Family) as a Christmas Eve treat! (That is, if she’s recovered from all the fan-girling she is inevitably doing right now.)