Monday, 1 June 2015

My Top TV Tunes

Thought I'd share with you my favourite TV theme tunes. Some are for programmes that weren't all that good, not even in a camp or ironic way, yet the theme tune still salvages some value in them. Sadly themes such as "Hawaii 5-0" and "Thunderbirds" have become ruined for me by drunken chorus renditions of them searing into my brain at many an end of season football team drink-up, or just some witheringly bad adolescent disco, no fault of the songs themselves really. Nor have I included movie themes (otherwise "Shaft" would be at number one and "The Pink Panther" at two, but look at the bright side, it rules out "Bewitched" and "The Brady Bunch") and I'm afraid there are whole rafts of programme types I don't watch and therefore am blissfully unaware of their blindingly good theme music for shows about properties and holidays.

10) Roobarb and Custard - The distortion and the slightly off harmonica make this really very 'muso' as well serving perfectly for a consciously garishly ill-drawn cartoon that shaded outside the drawn boundaries of its characters.

9) The Odd Couple - Just oozes swing and class, this was hipster chic before it was invented down Hoxton way. Series was pretty good too.

8) The Avengers - Sure it's cheesy and over the top, but then that was the aesthetic of the programme. Emma Peel and Purdey right? This almost has a Lee Hazelwood vibe to it (he of Nancy Sinatra collaborative partner fame).

7) Joe 90 - Not the best tune in the world, but this is Mod and Carnaby Street and every 1960s documentary about swinging London you'll ever watch. Even though it's actually scifi about some dreadfully unfashionable geek.

6) Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea - These puppet/animatron shows from the 60s & 70s all sort of blur into one in my dim and distant memory. Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Space 1999, Fireball XL5. But one thing about them all, they had pretty fine theme tunes. This show wasn't one by puppet-master Gerry Anderson. Good tune still.

5) Jackass - Never watched the programme in my life, but it's theme tune is from one of my fave bands The Minutemen. It's called "Corona" which is kind of the opposite to the void heart of Steve-O and his cronies. Still, someone in their production company had impeccable music taste. I know it's a film, but my blog, my rules okay? Interestingly someone rigorously keeps slapping a copyright claim on the theme tune, so that gives me the excuse to give you the original as well.

4) Twilight Zone - Eat your heart out X-Files. The original and the best in eerie, unexplained creepiness.

3) The Persuaders - Written by John Barry so you know it's going to be good right? The hint of an Iron Curtain musical theme sets it up just right

2) Test Match Cricket - For such a slow, languid sport this is really rather breakneck in pace. Brings back so many lazy summer days as a youth waiting in anticipation for the clock to tick round to 11am and a full day slumped in front of the telly while the sun was beating down outside. Or, when it was chucking it down and the BBC were restricted to showing reruns of old matches, the jaunty Caribbean upswing of this made the rain outside seem very far away.

1) The Sweeney - Great show, great theme tune. The way the police car siren segues into the theme tune is genius (unfortunately not on this YouTube version) and the theme itself manages to conjure up the suggestion of violence, seediness and corruption that the show portrayed. The closing track was a slower, more reflective version of the theme. The Sweeney was unusual for its time because the cops didn't always get their man. Now I watch it and am flabbergasted at just how much my city of London has changed in the 40 years since this aired. It looks like another world.

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