Magazine May 3, 2021, Issue

Setting the Tone: Great TV Theme Music

Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn (Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Ricky Cobb, a sociology prof in the Chicago area, tweets under the handle “Super 70s Sports.” He is very clever and very popular. He comments on more than sports. A while back, he said, “When you’re discussing the greatest TV theme songs, I’m coming to that party with Fred G. Sanford.”

That struck me as an excellent choice. Quincy Jones wrote the theme to Sanford and Son, the immortal sitcom. He called his piece “The Streetbeater.” It is funky, groovy, and irresistible. It will put a spring in your step (as you beat the streets).

I also thought of Danny Elfman’s theme

This article appears as “Setting the Tone” in the May 3, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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When I saw the chop-suey font in the CNN story I was reminded of a powdered-drink product from my youth: Funny Face.

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