When it comes to our favorite TV shows, we can name just about everything that defines them: the main characters, the secondary-yet-sometimes-forgotten characters, the best episodes, the best running jokes, the most memorable quotes. But I think we often forget to appreciate their theme songs. Episode after episode, these songs become a part of the viewing experience. It’s time to give them a little love too!
I was sitting at work one day and a song came on my shuffle that immediately reminded me of a short-lived reality show I watched back in high school. It wasn’t a great show, but it did have a great theme song! And simply hearing it one time brought back so many memories. That got me thinking—what other songs out there double as TV show theme songs?
It took me a seriously long time to narrow this list down to a top ten, but check out what made it below!
10. 8th & Ocean – “Beautiful Love” by The Afters
As I mentioned before, I loved this short-lived reality show’s theme song when I watched it in high school. To this day, any time I hear it, I feel like I’m starring in my own reality show, complete with beachy montage.
9. Franklin & Bash – “Mixture” by Pete
Not a widely known show, but when it premiered a few summers ago, this became my theme song for the following few months. Solid rock song with a catchy chorus.
8. Playing House – “Back Before We Were Brittle” by Say Hi
This theme song reminds me of my best friend. I love how every verse begins with “hey, remember when…” It’s a simple, sweet indie rock song fueled by nostalgia. And I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
7. Misfits – “Echoes” by The Rapture
That guitar intro though.
6. Laguna Beach – “Come Clean” by Hilary Duff
Clearly, I’m a sucker for MTV reality shows. For those of us who were growing up as the Laguna Beach kids were growing up, I’d say that this song is pretty iconic. Kudos, Hilary Duff.
5. Community – “At Least It Was Here” by The 88
I’m all for six seasons and a movie, so in the mean time, I’ll just be here. Jamming to this perfect theme.
4. One Tree Hill – “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw
As soon as I hear those first three piano chords, I can picture the intro to a tee. From Chad Michael Murray’s silhouette bouncing a basketball across a bridge to each main character’s montage. Gavin DeGraw sounds like One Tree Hill feels. After ditching the theme for a few seasons, it made a return in season 8, with a twist: each week, the song was covered by a variety of artists (including Patrick Stump and Kate Voegle).
3. Gilmore Girls – “Where You Lead” by Carole King
Similarly to One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls’ theme song sounds like how the show feels. Small town, full of love, and so comforting. “All you have to do is call my name and I’ll be there.”
2. The OC – “California” by Phantom Planet
It was tough to put this theme at number two, considering how memorable the very few seconds are—just love the mellow piano intro that builds into a full-on jam sesh. The summer vibes are strong in this one. California, here we come…
1. Friends – “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts
Arguably the most iconic of all iconic theme songs. We all know it and we all love it!
There are tons of songs that didn’t quite make the cut. Do you have any favorites? Share them with us @litdarling!