11 TV Theme Songs That Secretly Have Lyrics
Chances are, you've been humming these classic TV theme songs for years. Now you can get their lyrics stuck in your head, too.
1. We mentioned last week that Andy Griffith recorded a version of “The Fishing Hole” - AKA the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show - that was replaced by the all-whistling version. In case you missed it, here’s the lovely little ditty again:
2. Controversially, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry penned lyrics to Alexander Courage's theme song even though he never intended to use them for the show. Why? Because under their contract, writing lyrics - even unused ones - meant Roddenberry would get half of the royalties for the song. The lyrics:
The rim of the star-light
Is wand’ring in star-flight
He’ll find in star-clustered reaches
Strange love a star woman teaches.
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me
Can’t quite put the words with the tune? Listen to Tenacious D putting their spin on the sci-fi classic here.
3. The pilot episode of Bonanza featured the Cartwrights singing a little ditty. “We nearly fell off our horses from laughing so hard,” Michael Landon later recalled. Apparently producers realized that it was a little silly as well since they ended up scrapping the lyrics for music only. Here’s Ben Cartwright himself - AKA actor Lorne Greene - doing his version.
Here’s a different version by Johnny Cash, who changed the lyrics a bit.
4. Morey Amsterdam not only co-starred in the Dick Van Dyke Show, he also wrote lyrics for the theme song. The tune was written by Earle Hagen, who was also responsible for the Andy Griffith song - including that iconic whistling. Here’s Dick Van Dyke and the Vantasticks doing an acapella version of the theme.
5. In a second season episode of I Love Lucy called "Lucy's Last Birthday," Desi surprised Lucy with a song he wrote for her. It just happens to match the show's theme music.
6. “The Toy Parade,” better known as the Leave it to Beaver theme song, was an old children's song by Melvyn Leonard before it became synonymous with the Beav.
7. Steve Lawrence apparently wasn't fast enough to record the lyrics to Bewitched - the show's studio was so concerned about the first episode having a catchy theme song that they decided to air the instrumental version. It stuck, and Lawrence's rendition, written by Howie Greenfield, went largely unheard until the big screen edition of the TV show came out several years back. We won't make you watch it to hear the song.
8. It makes sense within the context of the show, but Buddy Kaye's opening lyrics to I Dream of Jeannie still make me cringe: “Jeannie, fresh a daisy. Just love how she obeys me.”
9. The Munsters theme song didn’t actually have lyrics at the time, but Butch Patrick - that’s Eddie Munster to most of us - made some up in the 1980s to try to capitalize on his childhood fame. It’s... interesting.
10. After nine seasons on the air, someone decided the Roseanne theme song needed lyrics to end on - and those lyrics would be crooned by Blues Traveler, no less. In case you missed out on that, check out the show's opening credits from the final season:
11. Before The Tonight Show theme song was tweaked and renamed “Johnny’s Theme,” it was a Paul Anka tune called “Toot Sweet.” Here’s the Annette Funicello version of it - retitled again and called “It’s Really Love”.