List

Billboard’s Highest-Charting TV Theme Songs Since 1980

Billboard has a pretty interesting list up on its website today: 10 TV-show theme songs that have actually made a dent in the publication’s singles chart since 1980. Since the list is based on the Billboard charts, it’s both fascinating and infuriating. The list’s #1 entry, the Heights’ vaguely catchy early-’90s soft-rock jam “Talk To An Angel” is the only thing anyone remembers about that show, though it’s a bit fucked up that it edged out Jan Hammer’s iconic Miami Vice theme. And I’m sad to see that the oft-sampled instrumental themes for Knight Rider and Twin Peaks didn’t make the cut. (Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks theme seems like it warrants a spot just based on Moby’s “Go,” but then “Go never made it to the American Hot 100 either). Read the list and argue about it below.

10. “WKRP In Cincinatti” – Steve Carlisle (Hot 100 Peak: #65, 1981)
09. “Theme From Dynasty” – Bill Conti (Hot 100 Peak: #52, 1982)
08. “Theme From Magnum P.I.” – Mike Post (Hot 100 Peak: #25, 1982)
07. “Moonlighting (Theme)” – Al Jarreau (Hot 100 Peak: #23, 1987)
06. “Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys) – Waylon Jennings (Hot 100 Peak: #21, 1980)
05. “I’ll Be There For You” (from Friends) – The Rembrandts (Hot 100 Peak: #17, 1995)
04. “The Theme From Hill Street Blues” – Mike Post (feat. Larry Carlton) (Hot 100 Peak: #10, 1981)
03. “Theme From Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)” – Joey Scarbury (Hot 100 Peak: #2, 1981)
02. “Miami Vice Theme” – Jan Hammer (Hot 100 Peak: #1 (one week), 1985)
01. “How Do You Talk To An Angel” (from The Heights) – The Heights (Hot 100 Peak: #1 (two weeks), 1992)
(via Billboard)

The “since 1980″ thing is crucial; it’s the reason the greatest TV show theme song of all time, the Hawaii Five-O theme, isn’t on the list. Also, shout out to everyone old enough to remember when alt-rock radio played the living hell out of “I’ll Be There For You.”