The Late Movies: Intense Medical Drama Theme Songs

Erica Palan

I’ve recently started watching the classic sitcom Cheers from the start of the series. While I’d always known the theme song—is there anyone who can’t hum “sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your naaaaame”?—I’m finding it especially comforting at the end of a long day. That’s not the case with all theme songs, though. Extensive research (read: a lot of rerun watching) proves that medical dramas tend to have very intense, mood-setting themes. Here, six of the most memorable.


Well-known composer James Newton Howard scored the pilot of the long-running NBC show, but Martin Davich wrote a new theme which was used from 2006 to 2009. Howard’s theme returned for the series finale.

St. Elsewhere

Dave Grusin’s catchy theme ran for all 137 episodes of this show, which helped launched the careers of many major stars including Denzel Washington, Howie Mandel and Ed Begley, Jr.

Chicago Hope

Filed under least creative names, this score is called “Theme from Chicago Hope.”

Grey's Anatomy

“Cosy in the Rocket” by Psapp was the show’s main theme for the first two seasons.

Dr. Kildare

Richard Chamberlain, who went on to become a huge star, recorded a song, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," with the music from Dr. Kildare's popular title theme

Marcus Welby, M.D.

This theme song was written by Leonard Rosenman, who later won two Academy Awards for his compositions.