5. CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET TO SESAME STREET? by Joe Raposo (1969)
Even kids who grew up without the show know this song. It’s indelible, it’s timeless, it’s full of optimism and joy. It also played as the theme, unchanged, unedited, and untouched, for 23 years. How many songs do you know can stand up for over two decades?
Cover versions: A fun one by Fallon and then the hip hop jam….
4. HAWAII FIVE-O by MOrton Stevens (1968)
The surfiest of all TV themes, and a darn good song to boot. It hit #4 on the charts. Ironically, though, surf-rock pioneers The Ventures didn’t write the song. No, it was composed by Morton Stevens, who scored dozens of movies and TV shows and was best known as a Vegas conductor for all the big acts: Jerry Lewis, Liza, Frank, Dean…
The tune became so popular that Don Ho put lyrics to it!
3. THE REBEL (THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY YUMA) by Johnny Cash (1959)
How can a Cash song not end up on this list? Simple, it can’t.
Traditional country music is perfectly suited for TV themes, since both tended (especially in the 1960s) to tell stories in clear spoken ballads. The TV show The Rebel is entirely forgettable, but this song is not.