A good TV theme song is catchy, fun to watch, and helps to set the tone for the whole show. A bad theme song feels like massive waste of time that leaves viewers desperately wishing a “skip intro” button was always available.
Few things conjure up a sense of nostalgia like a theme song that you know word-for-word. And though you can probably rattle off every line to the theme songs that were popular in your childhood, you may not know who’s responsible for bringing that theme song to life – even if they’re super famous.
Keep reading to find out which celebrities sang your favourite TV theme songs:
Carly Rae Jepsen re-recorded a classic for “Fuller House.”
Few songs are as instantly recognisable to millennials than “Everywhere You Look,” the theme song on “Full House.” When Netflix rebooted the series in 2016 with “Fuller House,” the streaming giant turned to Carly Rae Jepsen when it came time to re-record the classic tune.
Jepsen told Rolling Stone that when the opportunity to cover the song came up, she forced her team to find time in her schedule so she could take on the project.
“‘Full House’ is essentially my childhood. It was my favourite TV show growing up,” she said, adding that when she learned Butch Walker was attached to produce, it sealed the deal.
“New Girl ” star Zooey Deschanel sang the show’s theme song for four seasons.
When Zooey Deschanel landed a starring role on “New Girl” in 2011, she was also presented with the opportunity to pen and perform the show’s theme, “Hey Girl.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, Deschanel explained that she was inspired by the theme song from the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
“Musically, I wanted something uplifting – and then we went in to produce it, we sort of thought we wanted to Lovin’ Spoonfuls kind-of-feel production.”
The song was used for the show’s opening credits until mid-way through the series fourth season when it was replaced by a shorter, instrumental theme.
Carly Simon was commissioned to write and perform the theme for “Phenom.”
The 1993 ABC sitcom “Phenom” – a show about a 15-year-old tennis prodigy – is likely long-forgotten, as is the fact that Carly Simon sang its theme song, “The Promise and the Prize.”
Tia & Tamera Mowry performed the “Sister, Sister” theme song for the show’s last two seasons.
“Sister, Sister” – a sitcom about identical twin sisters who discover they were separated at birth -aired for six seasons. For the first four seasons, the opening sequence featured an upbeat song that lyrically focused on the twins reuniting with each other,
According to Seventeen, when the fifth season rolled around, the Mowry sisters ditched the animated features from the original sequence and remixed the theme song to reflect their growth and maturity as individuals.
Ozzy Osbourne is the man behind the “Dog, The Bounty Hunter” theme.
“Dog, The Bounty Hunter” was a reality show that ran for eight seasons and touts Ozzy Osbourne as the voice behind its theme song, which lyrically doesn’t get better than “I’ll hunt you down ’cause I’m the dog/ I’m the dog, the big bad dog.”
Aretha Franklin sang the theme song for a “Different World” for three seasons.
The show’s theme was first performed by Phoebe Snow, but producers wanted to change things up for the second season and managed to get the Queen of Soul to lend her voice to the theme. Executive producer Debbie Allen told Vulture that in order to get Aretha Franklin – who famously refused to fly anywhere – to record the song, producers had to charter her a bus catered with her favourite foods and drive her out to California from Detroit.
“I just know that she came in and hit it,” Allen told Vulture. “It wasn’t like she had to do ten takes, that’s what I know. She just hit it. That’s what I remember and then we all kind of hung out and had food together, you know – she loved our show which is why she did it.”
Procrastinating actually helped Jason Schwartzman write the “Bored to Death” theme.
When HBO asked Jason Schwartzman to write and perform the theme song for “Bored to Death” the actor and musician couldn’t quite get it together. Schwartzman told NPR that for weeks he lied to HBO producers telling them the song was progressing along when he had written nothing.
“Basically, I lied for a month on the fly about what was in this song, musically,” he said. “Then it came time for me to submit a demo, and not to seem like a liar, I went back through all of my sent emails and saw all of the things I had said were in the song, wrote them down – and then basically to fulfil the lie, I wrote the song based on every fib I had emailed. And I wrote it in 10 minutes.”
Missy Elliott was brought on to write and perform the theme song for “Eve,” so the show’s star, Eve, could focus on acting.
When Eve, who was best-known as a Grammy-winning rapper, landed her own sitcom on UPN, she opted not to be involved with the show’s music so she could re-brand herself as an actress.
“I decided not to even do music for the opening scene, so people can actually see me as an actress,” she told the Sun Sentinel.
With Eve focusing on acting, fellow Grammy-winning rapper, Missy Elliot, was tasked with show’s theme music and also made a cameo on the show’s first season.
Holly Robinson Peete sang the “21 Jump Street” theme and was backed by co-stars.
Holly Robinson Peete got her big break when she was cast as Judy Hoffs on “21 Jump Street,” and was also tasked with singing the show’s theme song. Though she’s best known as for her acting, Robinson Peete told Ebony she sees herself as a singer first.
“Music is still important to me. I just haven’t found myself musically,” she told the magazine in 1993. “I was signed to Atlantic Records from 1988 to 1990 and I was ready to release an album. But I listened to it and I didn’t like it and was let out of my contract. “
According to Ebony, Robinson Peete, also sang the theme song on “Hanging with Mr. Cooper” during the show’s first season along with co-star Dawnn Lewis and R&B girl group En Vogue.
The Beach Boys performed the opening theme for “Karen,” which has not aged well at all.
Shortly after the Beach Boys hit it big, they recorded the theme song for NBC’s 1964 sitcom, “Karen,” about a teenage girl. The band didn’t write the song, but the lyrics were absurdly sexist even for the 1960’s: “She sets her hair with great precision/yeah, it’s her favourite indoor sport/and by the light of television/she can even write a book report.”
Alan Thicke had a successful second career as a TV theme song writer.
Alan Thicke was best-known for his work as an actor on shows like “Growing Pains,” but he was also responsible for many TV theme songs, including “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes”, on which he was featured singer.
“The challenge was, you have 24 seconds to do something catchy and memorable and sum up the entire premise of the show in case somebody had never seen it before,” Thicke told AV Club when asked what the process of writing a theme song was like. “You had to do it with an internal rhyme scheme and a perky little ditty. So it was an interesting challenge that way. It varied. I did over 40 themes altogether.”
Selena Gomez’s kicked off her music career by singing theme songs on Disney channel shows.
Though it was common for Disney stars to perform the theme song for their own show, Selena Gomez did double duty singing the themes to both “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Shake It Up” – which starred Zendaya and Bella Thorne.
It took Chuck Norris 12 hours to record the theme song for “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
Chuck Norris wanted singer Randy Travis to sing the theme song to his show “Walker, Texas Ranger,” but the actor claimed in his 2004 memoir“Against All Odds: My Story,” that CBS was only interested in having him sing the theme.
The actor wrote that he felt he sounded “awful” and took 12 hours to record the song, but thanks to the “miracle” of modern recording technology, he thought the finished product wasn’t half-bad.
Eva Gabor nailed the “Green Acres” theme in one take.
Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert starred as a wealthy couple who embraced life on the farm after saying goodbye to New York City on “Green Acres.” Both actors sang the show’s theme, and Gabor was nervous when it came time to record, according to the song’s composer Vic Mizzy.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television (via Me TV), Mizzy recalled coaching Gabor though the recording process and telling her to just sing like she was a “debutante or something.” Despite her nerves, the actress nailed the song on the first try.
“We lucked out, the first take, so she always called me her good luck charm,” he said.
Mandy Moore is the voice behind the extremely catchy theme on “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West.”
Mandy Moore lent her voice to an animated cat named Sheriff Callie on the Disney Junior show “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” and sang the theme song.
When Moore recorded the show’s theme, she revealed that the role of Callie was her first experience with voice-over work where she wasn’t playing a “version of herself.”
Britney Spears wrote the “Zoey 101” theme song for her younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears to perform.
Jamie Lynn Spears landed her own sitcom on Nickelodeon, and when it came time to record the show’s theme, her sister Britney, coached her through it.
“Yes sir, she wrote it and I changed a few little words here and there. But she helped me a lot,” Jamie Lynn told the Associated Press (via People) before the show premiered in 2005.
Steve Martin and Billy Bob Thornton are among the celebrities who performed covers of “Little Boxes,” for the show “Weeds.”
“Weeds” used Malvina Reynolds 1962 song “Little Boxes” as the theme song for the series first season. Beginning in season 2, producers invited dozens of celebrities and musicians to cover the song including, Elvis Costello, Steve Martin, Billy Bob Thornton, and Hunter Parrish.
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