Songs that you only know from TV show intros


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TV tunes permanently embedded in our eardrums

We all hear the “duh-duh-duh-duh” of the organ followed by a “clap-clap” and know right away it’s “The Addams Family.” “In West Philadelphia, born and raised …” is the one song just about everyone can rap thanks to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” And the folky tune of “Gilligan’s Island” could never be mistaken for any other TV show. But what about the TV theme songs that weren’t very obviously created just for that show? Here are some of our favorite TV intro songs that we only know because of the shows that embraced them.

Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls / The WB

‘Gilmore Girls’ – ‘Where You Lead’

Carole King’s “Where You Lead” was first released in 1971, with lyrics that gave “stand by your man no matter what” vibes. When “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino approached King about using her song, the singer wanted to rework the lyrics to be more about a mother-daughter relationship, given the show’s premise. King’s daughter, Louise Goffin, even jumped on the track with her mom, making the whole thing all the more endearing and serendipitous.

Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson in Cheers
IMDB / NBC Universal

‘Cheers’ – ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’

Can you even think about “Cheers” without breaking into song, belting “Makin’ your way in the world today takes everything you’ve GOT?” Because we can’t. Prior to writing “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” Gary Portnoy had already penned songs for Dolly Parton and Air Supply, but it wasn’t until he got behind the “Cheers” theme that his career exploded. The tune scored an Emmy nomination in 1983 for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics and in a 2011 Rolling Stone readers poll, it was voted the best TV theme song of all time.

Friends TV show
NBC Universal /

‘Friends’ – ‘I’ll Be There For You’

“So no one told you life was gonna be this waaaaay, doo-doo-doo-doo” — we could keep going until we got to the very end of that song, but we’ll spare you, especially since you can probably get there on your own, too. The Rembrandts are the pop-rock duo responsible for “I’ll Be There For You,” although Warner Bros. originally approached R.E.M. and asked to use “Shiny Happy People” as the “Friends” theme song and in one epic fumble, the band declined. We’re willing to bet the number of people who know all of the words to “I’ll Be There For You” far exceeds those that sing “Shiny Happy People” out of nowhere.

The Sopranos / HBO

‘The Sopranos’ – ‘Woke Up This Morning’

British band Alabama 3 released “Woke Up This Morning” in 1997, although the song didn’t blow up until it was used as the opening theme on “The Sopranos” two years later. The song has become so synonymous with the show that many people call it “The Sopranos Song” rather than its actual name.

The General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard

‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ – ‘Good Ol’ Boys’

Country music icon Waylon Jennings didn’t just narrate “The Dukes of Hazzard,” he was also behind the show’s theme song, “Good Ol’ Boys.” Hearing the words, “Just’a good ol’ boys never meanin’ no harm” evokes a hoodslide across the General Lee orange Charger every single time. “Good Ol’ Boys” even reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart in 1980.

Laverne and Shirley cast members
IMDB / ABC Studios

‘Laverne & Shirley’ – ‘Making Our Dreams Come True’

“Laverne & Shirley” might have started as a “Happy Days” spin-off, but the sitcom was iconic and beloved in its own right. The show was so monumental that its opening theme song is familiar even to those who have never watched an episode. “Making Our Dreams Come True” was recorded by Cyndi Grecco in 1976 as the title track of her debut album. While she was a no-name at the time of the song’s release, its relationship with “Laverne & Shirley” helped her reach the No. 25 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on US charts for 16 weeks, although it was the singer’s only song to ever hit the charts.

Golden Girls / Touchstone Television

‘The Golden Girls’ – ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’

“Thank you for bein’ a frieeeeend.” We all know it. We all love it. “Thank You For Being a Friend” was originally recorded by singer Andrew Gold, but the version we all think of when we see the song’s title is undoubtedly the intro to “The Golden Girls,” which was re-recorded by Cynthia Fee. Apparently, Gold called the song “just this little throwaway thing” that took him about an hour to write. Well, that took a turn.

The Wonder Years
IMDB / ABC Studios

‘The Wonder Years’ – ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’

Listen, we all have those friends that would absolutely walk out on us if we started to sing out of tune. Nevertheless, songs don’t get much more lovable than “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon and originally performed by The Beatles. Joe Cocker’s rendition of the tune was first heard at the original Woodstock festival and since The Beatles never allowed any of their music to be used for television (could they have somehow gotten even more colossal if they had?), “The Wonder Years” went with Joe Cocker’s version, thanks to an apparent phone call from Paul McCartney himself.

Full House
Full House / ABC Television

‘Full House’ – ‘Everywhere You Look’

The theme song of the hit sitcom “Full House” is so iconic that it feels like an anthem at this point. “Everywhere You Look” was performed by Jesse Frederick and the show used different portions of the song throughout its eight seasons and various airing networks.

Married With Children
IMDB / ABC Studios

‘Married with Children’ – ‘Love and Marriage’

When it comes to larger-than-life singers, Frank Sinatra is just about the tip of the iceberg. Still, his song “Love and Marriage,” which he released in 1955, wasn’t exactly one of his most popular hits and most definitely earned its staying power after being used as the theme for “Married with Children.” The song’s bouncy bridge fit the Bundys perfectly, making this one of the most appropriate TV theme tunes we’ve come across.