While a lot of modern TV shows have a sung theme song (there's music and words, and you hear them both in the song), a lot of the older shows (think: Nick At Nite and TV Land) opened with simply an instrumental number. Many of these theme songs were never written with words in the first place, but some were actually the instrumental versions of songs that had lyrics but weren't used for some reason. Still others were written as instrumental pieces, but lyrics were added later for various reasons.
Here are 10 classic TV show theme songs that you're probably very familiar with, but never knew that the songs actually had lyrics. Enjoy!
1) I Dream Of Jeannie ~ It's probably a good thing they never used this one, as the lyrics are a tad sexist. Case in point, the first two lines: "Jeannie, fresh as a daisy / Just love how she obeys me..."
2) The Young And The Restless ~ The instrumental song called "Nadia's Theme" that many people would recognize as the theme music for The Young And The Restless was originally composed by Henry Mancini as part of the soundtrack for the movie Bless The Beasts And The Children. An alternate version of the song on that same soundtrack called "Lost" actually had lyrics. The song was sung by Renee Armand. The movie is long forgotten now, but the song lives on...every weekday at 12:30.
3) I Love Lucy ~ This is actually a sweet little song. Why they never used it in the opening of the show I'll never know. "Ricky" did, however, sing the vocal version of the song on one episode, as seen here...
4) The Dick Van Dyke Show ~ When the theme song for this classic show was written, no lyrics were penned. Later, one of the stars of the show, Morey Amsterdam ("Buddy"), came up with his own lyrics to the theme song, which Dick Van Dyke himself sings in the video below.
5) Bonanza ~ This is another good one, sung by one of the show's stars, Lorne Greene. I think they could've easily used the vocal version for the show's opening. But for some reason, they chose not to. Here it is, though, for your enjoyment.
6) Bewitched ~ Stumbling across this sung theme song by accident on YouTube is what prompted this post in the first. Nice swingin' tune! Maybe the lyrics were too "witch"-heavy for 1960s TV?
7) Leave It To Beaver ~ The theme song for this classic show is called "The Toy Parade." It's all right, but I think I like the equally plucky instrumental version a little bit better.
8) Roseanne ~ This show's not nearly as old as some of the others on this list, but it's no less classic in my opinion. Roseanne ran for eight seasons with the same theme song – a sax-heavy, bluesy instrumental number – until the guys from the popular band Blues Traveler (who were friends of Roseanne) decided to pen some lyrics to the familiar tune. For the ninth and final season, this version was the show's theme song, sung – appropriately enough – by Blues Traveler.
9) MASH ~ Okay, fair warning here...once you listen to the vocal version of this classic TV theme song, you'll never think of it in exactly the same way. Because the lyrics to this song – actually entitled "Suicide Is Painless" – are extremely dark and depressing. Apparently, the song was written for a scene in the movie M*A*S*H in which a dentist commits suicide. The tune was catchy enough that the producers of the TV show decided to use it as the theme, minus the gloomy lyrics. Here it is, in all its melancholy...
10) The Andy Griffith Show ~ Now back to our regularly scheduled happy post. Here's Andy Griffith himself singing the rarely-heard lyrics to the theme song of the classic TV show that bears his name. This is fun to listen to and actually has some pretty cool lyrics, but the whistling version of "The Fishin' Hole" is far superior in my opinion.