80s, 90s, Music, Quick Lists, TV — May 2, 2012 9:55 am

6 Adult Contemporary Sitcom Themes

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Adult contemporary music of the 1980s is a bit of a nostalgic spot for me.  We usually took my mom’s car on family outings where the radio was always tuned to the soft pop sounds of a WAVE FM station.  Generic muzak has always felt pretty natural to me.  Perhaps, that’s why it only recently occurred to me how out of place some sitcom themes are.

Here are six adult contemporary sitcom themes… sha la la la.

6 – Who’s the Boss?


Usually, a sitcom’s gimmick is pretty obvious.  An alien living with an average family, a robot child, or a quirky group of folks running a radio station require no regular explanation.  If you never saw the first episode of “Who’s the Boss?”, you might be wondering what Tony Danza was doing on the show.  Unfortunately, despite being written by the show’s creators, the theme song offers no exposition.

5 – Growing Pains

Alan Thicke: Coolest TV dad ever?

If the voice in the Growing Pains theme sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve heard B.J. Thomas sing “Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”.  If the visual aspect of the first season opening looks familiar, it’s because it looks like the opening from Cheers.  Ironically, star Alan Thicke was already an established theme song writer by the time Growing Pains came along.  He did not, however, write this theme.

4 – Moonlighting

That opening font used to haunt my dreams.  Font haunt?  Hmm…

Nothing says love is in the air like an ABC comedy-crime drama starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.  Does the Moonlighting theme sound exactly like the kind of adult contemporary muzak you hear on the office radio?  That’s because it is the kind of adult contemporary muzak you hear on the office radio.  This theme was the number one adult contemporary single in June of 1987.

3 – WKRP in Cincinnati

What was that about the senator’s nudity?

This theme puts an unusual spin on explaining the premise of the show.  At first, the lyrics just seem like a spoof on generic adult contemporary songs.  After a few episodes, it dawns on you that they are about on character in particular.  Supposedly, the lyrics added in the extended version of the song were penned by Buckner & Garcia of “Pac-Man Fever” fame.  That could explain why I crave cherries, bananas, and pretzels whenever I watch this show.

2 – Perfect Strangers

How did they get on that ledge, anyway?

Does the Perfect Strangers theme, “Nothing’s Gonnna Stop Me Now”, sound like every other ABC sitcom theme?  No surprise there, considering it was written by the same duo that penned the Full House, Step by Step, and Family Matters themes.

1 – Family Ties

“Sha la la la…”

The Family Ties theme has to be the ultimate sappy family sitcom theme of all time.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the theme perfectly sets the mood for the “feel good endings” this show generally had.  Watch this show in reruns for a week and see how long it takes you to stop saying “Sha la la la” every five seconds.

Honorable Mention – Growing Pains Halloween Theme

“[They tried to do] the mash.  The Monster Mash.”

In a bold move to parody their own sappy adult contemporary song, the Growing Pains crew once featured a special Halloween theme song.  Unfortunately, even this great theme song did not make the next 29 minutes of the show any better.

Did we miss some of your favorite Adult Contemporary Sitcom Themes? Tell us about it in the comments below!

1 Comment

  • Great post! I’ve often thought about this trend and I’ve always enjoyed it. Here are some others..  Welcome Back, Kotter, The Greatest American Hero, Golden Girls, The Love Boat, Silver Spoons, and then there’s the smooth Jazz of Alf.

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