The 1970s was a great time for the television industry. There were so many hit series that we 70s kids, in particular, grew to love. Aside from the series themselves, the themes also became our favorites, too, and became embedded in our minds even after the series had long been gone. Even those who even weren’t around during the time these shows were originally airing also know these memorable themes, too!
1. “Making Our Dreams Come True” from Laverne & Shirley
“Making Our Dreams Come True” was composed by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. This is the same duo who also wrote the theme song for Happy Days. The single was sung by Cyndi Grecco, who turned it into a Billboard Top 40 chart hit in 1976. The song’s opening line, “We’re gonna make our dreams come true,” conveys a spirit of optimism and tenacity that is consistent with the show’s central subject of two best friends pursuing their dreams together and navigating life.
2. The Brady Bunch theme song
The Brady Bunch theme song was penned by executive producer Sherwood Schwartz and Frank De Vol. It was originally sung and performed by the bubblegum pop group the Peppermint Trolley Company, who also arranged the music. Even those who weren’t around to watch the show during its original broadcast from 1969 to 1974 know about the theme song. And it will probably get stuck in your head as your “Last Song Syndrome” for the rest of the day.
3. “Movin’ on Up” from The Jeffersons
The theme song of the sitcom The Jeffersons, “Movin’ on Up,” was written by singer-actress Ja’net Dubois and Jeff Barry. The lyrics, “We’re movin’ on up, to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky,” refer to the themes of advancement, aspiration, and chasing the American Dream that run throughout the entire play. This has also been covered by many artists over the years. Some of these include Sammy Davis Jr. and Beyoncé. It’s a really catchy song which leads you to tap your foot.
4. Happy Days theme song
The theme song for Happy Days was written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. And like the show, the theme song is quite memorable, too. Needless to say, it’s not uncommon to have a big smile on your face — not to mention sing along with it — whenever you hear the cheerful tune.
5. All in the Family theme song
The theme song for All in the Family was written by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse and was sung in a simple style by the show’s characters Archie and Edith, who reminisce about the good ol’ days. Sure Edith’s singing isn’t pleasant to hear, but you can’t help feeling nostalgic when listening to this song.
6. The Dukes of Hazzard theme song
The theme song for “The Dukes of Hazzard,” known as “Good Ol’ Boys,” is an iconic piece of television music that perfectly captures the spirit of the show. This song of the hit 70s-80s series The Dukes of Hazzard was written, sung, and performed by country legend Waylon Jennings. The song, also alternatively known as “Good Ol’ Boys,” fits perfectly like a cowboy glove. With its catchy guitar riffs and Jennings’ distinctive voice, the song sets a tone of fun and mischief, reflecting the car chases, stunts, and escapades that the Duke boys are known for.
7. The Love Boat theme song
When disco was still a rage in the 1970s, a few TV shows took advantage of the genre’s success and popularity. One good example is the theme from the popular series Love Boat, which contributed to the show’s success. This song is what you’d expect to hear when you’re aboard a cruise ship.
8. Three’s Company theme song
The theme song of the popular hit sitcom Three’s Company was written by Joe Raposo (known for his songs on Sesame Street) and was sung by Ray Charles (no, not that Ray Charles) and Julia Rinker. Once you start singing “Come and knock on our door…” you find yourself not being able to stop!
9. Welcome Back, Kotter theme song
Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian still had the touch of composing songs that made your head bob happily. He composed this memorable song for the hit series Welcome Back, Kotter. It’s quite simple, fitting, and totally unforgettable.
10. WKRP in Cincinnati theme song
The WKRP in Cincinnati series’ opening theme was written by Tom Wells and Hugh Wilson, and was performed by Steve Carlisle. The lyrics, “Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me, I’m living on the air in Cincinnati,” reflect the main character’s journey and the unique setting of the show. Apart from the memorable opening song, the show’s rock and roll-style end theme (written by Jim Ellis) sounds quite fantastic, too.
11. Fantasy Island theme song
The theme song of “Fantasy Island,” composed by Laurence Rosenthal, is a famous piece of television music that wonderfully reflects the show’s blend of fantasy and adventure. The theme conveys a sense of wonder and escape with its lavish orchestration of sweeping strings, rich horns, and woodwinds, accompanied by the mystical sounds of a harp and light percussion.
12. The Mary Tyler Moore theme song
“Love Is All Around,” the theme music for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” is a happy, upbeat song that wonderfully captures the spirit of the show’s independent and upbeat lead character, Mary Richards. The song, which was written and sung by Sonny Curtis, became instantly linked with the show’s feminist and empowering theme of the 1970s because of its lively tune and motivational lines like “Who can turn the world on with her smile?”
13. The Rockford Files theme song
“The Rockford Files,” a classic 1970s TV show, had a memorable theme music that perfectly complemented the show’s cool and laid-back style. This instrumental song, composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter, is noted for its funky pace and sweet melody. It established the tone for the exploits of Jim Rockford, the easygoing private detective played by James Garner. The theme’s combination of cheerful tempo and a touch of mystery made it instantly appreciated. It also captured the essence of the show’s mix of humor, action, and drama. It is now regarded as a great example of 1970s television music.
14. Charlie’s Angels theme song
“Charlie’s Angels,” a pioneering 1970s TV show, was recognized for its action-packed plots and famous female detectives. With its sensual and mysterious melody, Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson’s instrumental theme song wonderfully portrayed the series. Music that blended tension and elegance set the atmosphere for the Angels’ adventures and became associated with the show’s innovative approach to strong, self-sufficient women in key roles. The theme’s unique sound made “Charlie’s Angels” a television classic.
15. We’ll Make It This Time,” the “Kojak” theme song
“We’ll Make It This Time,” the “Kojak” theme tune, gives this show a distinctive personality and gritty touch. Its jazzy, silky undertones wonderfully capture the polished yet tough attitude of the show’s lead- Telly Savalas. The uplifting lyrics and gentle beat of the song stand in sharp contrast to the gritty criminal scenes of 1970s New York. This recurring theme not only establishes the mood for each episode’s detective narrative, but it also pays homage to Kojak’s iconic catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” in a way that is instantly recognizable.
Every theme song, from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “Kojak,” caught the essence of the time period while also setting the mood and setting the stage for the respective shows. These songs served as more than just TV show openers; they evolved into timeless icons of the decade, bringing up emotions and memories that viewers still find compelling.