The Top 11 Catchiest Theme Songs
June 1st, 2008
NC: Hello I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to. Well, there's no doubt about it. Theme songs played a huge part in our childhoods. They were fun, clever, enjoyable, and CATCHY as hell! In fact, some of these songs still stay hidden in the darkest corners of our memories, just waiting for inopportune moments to jump out of our heads and ruin our concentration. So, that's why today I'm paying tribute to the Top 11 Best Nostalgic Theme Songs ever. Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the Top 11 Catchiest Nostalgic Theme Songs.
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony starts playing, accompanying a title card labeling the list
NC (voiceover): Number 11--
NC (voiceover): For many of us, Sesame Street was the first show we ever saw, and it only figures that the theme song would be as irritatingly catchy as the lessons it teaches us. My only problem with this song is that they never DO tell you how to get to Sesame Street! I mean where the Hell is it, Chicago, Brooklyn, New York? How DO you get to this damn place? Whereever the hell it is, it made for a really great song, and the perfect beginning for our countdown.
NC (voiceover): Number 10--
NC (voiceover): God I hate this song. I think most people do. But that doesn't matter. Once you hear that obnoxious synthesizer in the opening, you're gonna be humming this crap for the rest of your life. What IS that thing anyhow? (referring to the synthesizer riff)
NC mimics it
NC (voiceover): Dude, if every book played this when I opened it, I would never read again. Still, you can't fault the song for being so damn catchy. Or the fact that it WAS the only show that actually made us wanna read books. With that said, Reading Rainbow is the perfect placement for the Number 10 spot.
NC (voiceover): Number 9--This character was so popular that she actually got 2 hit shows, with 2 hit theme songs. One was a game show where the entire theme song was played acapella
Sample of Carmen Sandiego game show theme
NC (voiceover): And the other was a cartoon, with a full choir singing all the way through.
Sample of cartoon theme
NC (voiceover): I think the game show version is a LITTLE bit catchier, but the cartoon deserves an honorable mention. And when you're a show that's TRYING to be educational, you sure as hell better write something that our short attention spans can remember. Whichever one you like better, Carmen Sandiego certainly knew how to keep a good song in our heads.
NC (voiceover): Number 8--
NC (voiceover): FUCK YEAH! Not only did this show have a great song, but it also had a kickass opening as well. I mean look at that animation, how can you not be hyped after watching this opening. With the rock guitar, female singers and fast-paced speed, Thundercats had us all ready for action. In fact, maybe it did it a little too well. I mean, as soon as the show started, the characters NEVER moved like in the opening. I mean look at this, they're barely moving a muscle. ...DO SOMETHING! Ah well. With that said, the opening theme song did a great job of hyping us up. So good that we didn't even care if the opening WAS better than the show half the time. With some great animation and great tunes, Thundercats is easily the purr-fect combo.
NC (voiceover): Number 7--
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
NC (voiceover): Alright, as much as I hate this show, I have to admit I really do love this theme song. It was the only thing I ever looked forward to whenever this show came on. And when the song ended, so did my tolerance for the show. But let's face it, it's a cool song. With its fast pace, kickass guitar, and lyrics that are pretty easy to remember. Hate the show, love the song, but hey--that's Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers for ya.
NC (voiceover): Number 6--
G. I. Joe
NC (voiceover): Ah, yes, you can't think All-American without thinking G. I. Joe, and there song was the quintessential American theme. It was big, triumphant, and one of the few theme songs to actually have counterpoint melodies, which means you always needed another kid to help you sing it.
Place card illustrating the counterpoint
NC (voiceover): This is back in the day when the worst terrorist we had to deal with was COBRA. (sigh) God, I miss COBRA. When he threatened us, it was funny. When the real terrorists threaten us, it's just creepy. But when we heard that victorious theme, we all knew we'd be okay. Why? Because-
Theme Song: G. I. Joe is there!
NC (voiceover): G. I. Joe, a real American theme song.
NC (voiceover): Number 5--
NC (voiceover): Another song that practically seemed All-American was Transformers. True the guitar was great, the theme was memorable and the animation was cool, but by far the best part was hearing that robotic voice say-
Robotic Voice: Robots in disguise!
NC: JESUS, I could hear that all day.
Robotic Voice: Robots in disguise.
NC (voiceover): Oh, and don't think we weren't pissed when the song wasn't in the recent live-action movie. I saw people wait until the end of the credits to hear the song. What do we get? Nothing. The fucking sequel better have the song. In fact, you could probably use that for good marketing.
NC: You could actually call the film "Transformers 2: Yes, this one actually has the theme song."
NC (voiceover): I guarantee ticket sales would go through the roof. Why? Because this song is that. Fucking. Good. Transformers, it's more than meets the ear.
NC (voiceover): Number 4--
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
NC (voiceover): You'd think with all the lyrics in the world, the hardest ones to put to music would be "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." But surprisingly they turned this totally insane title into one hell of a great song. I mean every kid in the world knew this song, and got hyped up whenever we heard it. But just like the Thundercats opening, it never looked quite as good as the opening credits. I mean here's the opening, and now here's the actual show. I mean do they look anything alike? I think most of these shows threw all their time and energy into the openings because they knew that once they hooked us in, we'd probably be too lazy to change the channel. Luckily, Ninja Turtles kicked ass, and it had a kick ass song to go with it. Although I don't think Turtle Power ever became a popular phrase. No matter how much they tried to force it down our throats. Still, Ninja Turtles was the shit, and so was the theme song. Turtles in a half shell, Number 4 on the countdown.
NC (voiceover): Number 3--
NC (voiceover): Anything by the Richard Stone team. For those of you who don't know, Richard Stone was a composer and songwriter in the 80s and 90s. He hit the big-time when Steven Spielberg asked him to do the music and song for some Warner Bros. cartoons he was producing. And the rest is history. Richard Stone and his team put together some of the cleverest and catchiest theme songs that ever hit TV. Remember this timeless classic?
Tiny Toon Adventures
NC (voiceover): How about this one?
NC (voiceover): And of course, the always popular--
Pinky and the Brain
NC (voiceover): Stone's team didn't just do theme songs though, they did ALL the music for the shows. Every little melody, every musical segue, and the only song in the world that actually made you wanna learn geography.
NC: I mean everyone tried to learn that song but could never get it down.
NC (voiceover): Anyone that made you try to educate yourself without you even knowing it, is doing something right. Sadly, Richard Stone lost his life to pancreatic cancer in 2001, leaving a legacy of great music behind. Luckily he is survived by these incredible toons, with great music, fantastic lyrics, and ingenious writing, Richard Stone's team is more than eligible for the Number 3 spot.
NC (voiceover): Number 2--
NC (voiceover): Talk about a song short on lyrics. The Inspector Gadget song has a total of five words throughout the entire thing. "Inspector, Gadget, go and Woo hoo." And yet they STILL managed to make this one of the catchiest songs that children ever heard. How can a song with almost no lyrics stay fresh in our heads for so long? I don't know, it just does. While the opening credits are great, it's the closing credits I always look forward to. Because that's where you hear Dr. Klaw say--
Dr. Klaw: I'll get you next time Gadget! ...Next time!
NC (voiceover): And not forgetting-
Klaw's cat hisses evilly
NC (voiceover): The whole song kinda sounds like an 80s computer booting up, but for some reason you can't get enough of it, it's like a love-hate relationship you have with some songs. Kinda like DEVO. I mean, you know it was really weird, but for some reason it always stays in your head. Why? For whatever reason, Inspector Gadget isn't leaving us anytime soon. If you manage to forget about this song right after you hear it, consider yourself dehumanized.
NC (voiceover): And the Number 1 Catchiest Nostalgic Theme Song is...
Duck Tales (woo-ooh!)
NC (voiceover): Goddamn this song. From the minute you hear it, it is NEVER gonna leave your head. This song tormented so many children, I can't even explain it.
NC: You think you're trying to answer the questions on your math test, but nope! All you're thinking about is-
Duck Tales (woo-ooh!)
NC: You think you're playing basketball with your teammates, but nope! All you're thinking about is-
Duck Tales (woo-ooh!)
NC: You think you're about to achieve enlightenment, the pearly gates of knowledge are opening up, and all the secrets of the universe are about to be revealed. ...BUT NO! ALL YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT IS-
Duck Tales (woo-ooh!)
NC: It will never leave, it will never leave. It's like an addiction. You think you're over it. You think "I only know a few lyrics of the song, uh, what is it, um 'Life is like a hurricane, here in Duckburg, racecars, lasers, aeroplanes, it's a Duck blur. Solve a mystery or rewrite history Duck Tales, woohoo, everyday that I've been making Duck Tales, woohoo, tales so daring, you can too, Duck Tales, danger lurks behind you, there's a stranger out behind you, gonna find you, what to do, just grab onto some DUCK TALES! WOOHOO!'" I mean once you hear it once, it will never, ever go away. And you wanna know what the creepy thing is? I think this show stayed on the air strictly because of the theme song! I mean think about it, what do you actually remember about this show?
NC (voiceover): I remember Scrooge, his nephews, a pilot who crashed a lot...and that's it! I don't remember a goddamn other thing about this show! This show literally kept bringing us back simply because of the song. It is THAT powerful.
NC: So now that you've heard the catchiest Nostalgic Song of all time...tell the people. Warn them. Don't let them hear the song, because once it gets into your head, it buries its way into your brain, festering. FESTERING until it bloooooms into a gigantic ball of human waste that'll eat you alive! WARN THE PEOPLE! WARN THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! ...I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to.