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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

There are many elements that come together to make a great television show.  The writing, the right actors and actresses are just a few.  There is one extremely crucial area that is such a staple that you might not even consider it at first: the theme song.  Without a great, catchy theme song, you won’t have much.  These theme songs I will mention over the next few weeks are cornerstones in a lot of our lives.  You might find yourself saying “oh yeah! I love that song”! You may find yourself saying “I’d forgotten about that one.  That’s a good one”.  Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Our first entry is from a show that only ran from 1981-1983.  The song is “The Greatest American Hero” by Joey Scarbury.  Okay, okay I know what most of you are saying.  “What song by who”? The song has been used frequently outside the show.  It even peaked at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100.  Many of you might know the song best as George Costanza’s answering machine greeting.   “Believe it or not, George isn’t at home.  Please leave a message at the beep.  I must be out, or I’d pick up the phone.  Where could I be? Believe it or not, I’m not home”.  ( 

Another iconic theme song is “Thank You For Being a Friend”, the Golden Girls opening theme.  Although the show was an ‘80’s and early ‘90’s staple, the song dates back much further.  “Thank You For Being A Friend” was recorded by Andrew Gold.  It appears on Gold’s third album All This and Heaven Too.  The song reached #25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978,  On the Cashnox chart, the song spent two weeks at #11.  Trivia time: Gold’s original wasn’t the one that was the Golden Girls theme.  A cover by Cynthia Fee was the theme.  According to Gold, the song was “just this little throwaway thing that took about an hour to write”.  (

Pual Williams wrote the lyrics to the opening theme of the television show The Love Boat.  The song was originally sung by Jack Jones and later by Dionne Warwick.  Williams had a variety of high-profile acting roles: Little Enos Burdette in 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit and the villainous Swan in Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise(1974), which Williams also co-scored, receiving an Oscar nomination in the process.  Since 2009, Williams has been president and chairman of the American Songwriting Society ASCAP. (

Gary Portnoy co-wrote and performed our final song of the week, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” from the iconic Cheers.  He was just 25 when he co-wrote the song in 1982.  Did you know it was used for an Applebee’s commercial as well? Neither did I! (

That’s it for this week.  Come back next week where I’ll have more television theme songs.  Until then, check out my podcast Blendertainment: or 


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