8 TV Theme Tunes From The 1980s That Made The Top 10 - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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8 TV Theme Tunes From The 1980s That Made The Top 10

How many of these 1980s TV theme tunes will you be humming today...

The 1980's perfected the relationship between pop songs and hit movies, with title tracks from blockbuster films like Footloose, Flashdance, Fame (lots of F films really), and Ghostbusters all scoring big in the charts. Add to them tracks like The Power Of Love, (I've Had) the Time Of My Life, Danger Zone, and The Heat Is On which when heard all instantly invoke mental pictures of the respective films they featured in. This all adds up to fantastic free publicity for the film when the song is played on the radio.

So, if it worked for the big screen then it'll work for the small screen too, right? In several cases it did, and we've rounded up 8 of the best theme tunes from 1980s TV shows that made the top 10 charts of the day. All very different themes, from a wide variety of television shows, but all of them became ear-worms in their day, enough to encourage the public to go out and purchase a 7" single and propel them into the top 10.

Without further ado I implore you, even if you know this theme tune inside out, please press play and enjoy one of the worst music videos of all time for one of the catchiest theme tunes that ever existed...

Despite the shockingly bad accompanying music video, I'll go into bat for Minder providing us with one of the best TV themes from the last 50 years. Originally written in 1979 by Gerard Kenny and Patricia Waterman, Dennis Waterman's second wife, and sung by Minder star Waterman himself, the theme tune "I Could Be So Good for You" was released in October 1980, reaching No.3 in the UK charts the following month and credited to Dennis Waterman & The Dennis Waterman Band (which musician wouldn't want to be a member of that top ensemble, eh?)

The success of "I Could Be So Good For You" led Waterman to tour as a singer (with his band, naturally), and also saw him perform the theme songs to other programmes he starred in, including On the Up, Stay Lucky, and New Tricks. Essentially becoming the small-screen precursor to Will Smith, minus the hip-hop and old-school soul samples.

The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George
The BBC1 drama serial broadcast in 1981, The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George starred Philip Madoc, Lisabeth Miles, Kika Markham and David Markhamm and featured music by Ennio Morricone, including the theme tune "Chi Mai".

Broadcast in 9 hourly parts covering most of the major events of Lloyd George's life (family and political career as United Kingdom Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922) from his birth in Manchester in January 1863 until his death in 1945 in Llanystumdwy.

"Chi Mai" accompanied the opening titles, showing an elderly David Lloyd George walking through the Welsh countryside near Criccieth remembering his Uncle Lloyd baptising the young David George (later Lloyd George) in a mountain stream. Upon release in 1981, the single became a surprise hit reaching #2 in April of that year. Especially surprising as even though it was credited as "The Theme from The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George", Ennio Morricone had composed it in 1971 for the film Maddalena directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. It was then reused in the 1978 BBC TV series An Englishman's Castle. Still, third times a charm, eh?

Harry's Game
The "Theme From Harry's Game", from the Yorkshire Television miniseries Harry's Game adapted from a 1975 novel set in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, was released as a single in October 1982 and became a surprise hit, reaching number 5 in the UK Singles Chart the following month and number 2 in the Irish Singles Chart.

The song was written by Clannad siblings Pól and Ciarán Brennan "in a couple of hours", after Gerald Seymour, author of Harry's Game, originally approached them to use their track "Mhorag 's Na Horo Gheallaidh", a Scottish Gaelic song from Clannad's album Fuaim, as the theme. But the group initially felt Irish-language lyrics would be more appropriate, so they took inspiration from a verse from a Connacht Irish proverb read in a 1948 anthology by fellow sibling Moya Brennan "Everything that is and was will cease to be", which was considered appropriate to the miniseries' depiction of the futility of political violence. However, although "Theme From Harry's Game" is often cited as being the first full Irish-language song to chart in the UK, the refrain actually uses a slowed-down lilting of non-lexical vocables from English folk music: "Fol lol the doh fol the day".

The "Theme From Harry's Game" won an Ivor Novello award, and launched Clannad's global career, and has since appeared in several Hollywood movies, most notably Patriot Games, in which an IRA member, played by Patrick Bergin, is seen watching the music video for the song on his television.

Auf Weidersehen, Pet
The opening and closing credits for the first two series of Auf Weidersehen, Pet were each accompanied by songs performed by Joe Fagin. In series one "Breakin' Away", written by David Mackay and Ian La Frenais, accompanied the opening credits, and a collaboration between Ken Ashby and Mackay titled "That's Livin' Alright" closed each episode.

The songs were released as a double-A side 7" single, and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in January 1984. Mackay and La Frenais also collaborated on "Get it Right", the song used for the opening credits of series two. Like the first series, Ken Ashby collaborated with Mackay for series two's closing credits song, "Back With the Boys Again". Again, these two tracks were released together as a double-sided single, but only reached number 53 in the UK charts in April 1986.

Scottish singer/songwriter Jim Diamond had already enjoyed two top 5 hits in the form of "I Won't Let You Down" (as the lead singer of PhD) and "I Should Have Known Better", when he was approached in 1985 by Central Television to write and record the theme song for their new drama series. Diamond at first declined the offer but Central were persistent. He told them to send a script of the pilot episode so he could read it over. The script was headed "Ken Boon - Fireman". This instantly had him intrigued as his father had been a firefighter for many years.

Without any more inspiration, Diamond wrote "Hi Ho Silver" in memory of his father who had died the previous year, explaining how he had "rescued" him on many occasions when he was down on his luck and how he regarded his father as The Lone Ranger and his hero. Boon benefited immensely from this, as the song reached #5 on the UK chart in 1986.

In 1986, BBC soap opera EastEnders was at the peak of its popularity, thanks in no small part to the feuding couple of Queen Vic landlords, Den & Angie Watts. Nick Berry had already released the single "Every Loser Wins", which had been performed by his character Wicksy repeatedly in the show, and went on to become the second biggest selling single in the U.K. that year (there's no accounting for taste). Songwriter Simon May clearly felt he could do worse, that's surely the only explanation for "Anyone Can Fall in Love", a lyrical version of the EastEnders theme tune sung by Angie Watts herself, Anita Dobson.

The lyrics were provided by Don Black, who had previously co-wrote, with composer John Barry, the lyrics for "Thunderball", "Diamonds Are Forever" and "The Man with the Golden Gun" and penned songs for Meat Loaf, Michael Jackson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I suspect this isn't his favourite work but when released as a single in 1986, "Anyone Can Fall In Love/The EastEnders Theme Tune" reached #4 in the UK Chart, and today holds the title of being the 12th biggest selling TV theme tune of all time.

Moonlighting starred two wannabe singers, with both Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd performing various numbers in episodes across the five seasons, including "standing in" for Al Jarreau when he was late during one cold-opener (Willis, of course, launched a successful chart assault with his cover of Respect Yourself which we looked at here). However, it was Jarreau that took "Moonlighting Theme" to the charts in March 1987, scoring a #8 hit in the U.K., #23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and one week at number one on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.

"Moonlighting Theme" was co-written by Jarreau with Lee Holdridge, and produced by the legendary Nile Rodgers. The song was also included on the soundtrack album for the series, garnering two Grammy Award nominations in 1988 for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.

Prisoner: Cell Block H
Becoming a surprise hit when imported for the late night ITV schedules, Australian soap opera Prisoner (retitled Prisoner: Cell Block H around the world) followed the lives of the prisoners and staff of the fictional high-security wing of a women's prison, called "H Division" within "The Wentworth Detention Centre" in a fictional suburb called "Wentworth" in Melbourne. The show also spawned an equally surprising hit single, in the form of its theme tune "On The Inside".

Originally recorded in 1978 by English-born Lynne Hamilton, who had started her career as a singer as a teenager when she joined a backing group The Desperadoes, appearing on the same bill as top 1960s acts such as The Who, Freddy and the Dreamers and The Animals. Hamilton knew the Beatles personally, having been signed with the same record labels and having been on the same TV shows and at the same parties and social promotional events for the record label for four years. She later had a four-year stint as a singer with The Caravelles, who successfully toured in the UK and across Europe, before moving to Australia in 1971 where she retried from the entertainment industry.

Lured back into the studio by songwriter Allan Caswell, Hamilton recorded "On The Inside" and found herself with a 1979 #4 hit in Australia and #5 in New Zealand when Prisoner first began broadcasting. It would be a whole decade later when Hamilton scored a #3 hit in the 1989 UK Singles Chart. Following this up with the non-charting "In Your Arms (Love song from Neighbours)" from the fellow Australian soap opera Neighbours.

So there you have it, eight TV theme tunes from the 1980s that made the top 10. Which is your favourite? And can you name any more? Let us know in the comments below.

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