Theme Tunes

The first band I was ever in in Sligo was called The Odd Couple. We played jazz covers of theme tunes. We did them all – The Simpsons, Hill St. Blues, M*A*S*H, The Flintstones, Mannix (a particularly challenging one). We even did a 7-piece Sporting Theme Tune Medley, made up of the theme music from the likes of Match of The Day, The Sunday Game and Grandstand.

Because the theme tune of a TV or radio show is crucial to the success of the show, people put a lot of time and money into either writing something original for the show, or choosing an existing tune that will work. You want something instantly recognisable, easily linked to the type of show it is. And so you often end up with great pieces of music.

Someone like Mike Post made a career out of it – he wrote many themes, including the theme tunes to the aforementioned Hill St. Blues, The A-Team, Quantum Leap and Law and Order. Danny Elfman too.

Or a producer might match an existing tune with a new show. Success stories in this regard include Woke Up This Morning (Alabama 3) which opened the hit show The Sopranos, or Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand which is synonymous with Peaky Blinders.

One of Ireland’s favourite ever broadcasters died today. His name is Gay Byrne, and I loved the theme tune to his radio show. It’s called Tico’s Tune, and I recorded a short solo piano version of it for the day that’s in it.