Updated date:

Top 10 Best TV Show Theme Songs of All Time

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Charlie is an avid music fan whose music collection and taste spans a wide range of genres.

I hope you enjoy reminiscing about these TV show theme songs. Send this link to your friends and vote for your favourite at the end.


1. The X-Files

The argument for placing The X-files theme at number one is strong considering how well it performed on commercial music charts. On March 30, 1996, the single debuted at number two on the U.K. Singles Chart. In France it was even more successful, reaching the prestige number one position. Composed by Mark Snow, the extraterrestrial journey is an all time classic—not only as a TV theme song, but just as great music.

2. Doctor Who

The Doctor Who theme music is a masterpiece. Australian composer Ron Grainer wrote the score in 1963, creating one of the first television themes that was considered electronic music. Over the years the theme has evolved, although the bass-line and melody have generally stayed the same. It is worth reading about how this music was produced, because at the time there were no commercially available synthesisers.

3. Survivor

The Survivor theme song is an epic, inspiring tribal number. Scored by composer Russ Landau, the lyrics are in fact based on a Russian folk song. Some people say it sends chills down their spine. The best thing about the Survivor theme is that it gets viewers joining in the chant at the start of the show. There is also an extended edit available on the original soundtrack CD and iTunes.

4. Round The Twist

Round the Twist was an Australian children’s show about 3 kids and their father living in a lighthouse who experienced a range of peculiar adventures. Just like the stories, the intro to the show was twisted. Tamsin West, who played the role of Linda Twist in the first series also provides the signature vocal line "Have you ever... ever felt like this?".

5. House

The House theme song is the first on this list that uses already well-known commercially released music. The choice of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” here was clinical. Released in 1998 on their album Mezzanine, the vocals on the full version of the song were written and performed by the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. The haunting vocals don’t appear on the House intro, but the instrumental still works well.

6. True Detective

Husband and wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks, aka The Handsome Family, delivered a classic TV show theme song with their recording “Far From Any Road”. The track was released on Handsome's 2003 album Singing Bones. I must admit, I didn’t think much of this song the first time, but it’s creepy sound suits the show perfectly. One youtube fan sums up the growth of the song beautifully here:


7. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Many readers I’m sure will have fond memories singing along to this theme song after school. In Australia at least, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air always aired in those hours of freedom between the last school bell and when you have to site down with the family for dinner. "Yo Home to Bel-Air", which is the official title, was written by Quincy Jones and performed by DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey Townes) & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith).

It was released as a single in the Netherlands by Jive Records in 1992, and can also be found on the DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's Greatest Hits album.

8. Full House

The Full House theme song ("Everywhere You Look"), is a well-recognised family anthem that gives people a warm and fuzzy feeling. Movie and TV scoring geniuses Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay certainly knew how to strike a chord with viewers, and they did a fantastic job for Full House. "Everywhere You Look" is upbeat, catchy and heavy on the family-oriented lyrics. Cheesy but good.

9. Friends

It was the American duo The Rembrandts who are credited as the artist behind the Friends theme song "I'll Be There for You". In addition to the Rembrandts (Phil Sōlem and Danny Wilde), the song was co-written by Friends producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman, songwriter Allee Willis and composer Michael Skloff. The Rembrandts released the song as the first single from their third studio album, after being compelled record a full version due to the theme’s popularity.

10. Charmed

Lets be honest, any guy who watched Charmed did so because the sister witches were hot. With the line “I am human and I need to be loved”, I imagined the theme song to mean that the witches were crying for love and acceptance... and I’m sure many were willing to provide that. Anyway, back to the music. The Charmed opener is performed by Love Spit Love, and is a cover of The Smiths song “How Soon Is Now?”. While I prefer the original, it was watching Charmed as a kid that brought me to it.

More Top 10 Music Lists from Charlie Hunter