Movie Poll: Which ’70s Drama Had the Coolest Theme Song?

MovieFanfare Movie Poll of the Week

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  • Bill Pentland

    The Rockford Files had a great theme song; especially on the longer version where they let the guitar player loose a bit – awesome! Baretta was great, too! “Keep your eye on the sparrow!”

  • Susan

    There were so many cool themes that every once in a while they even showed up on the pop charts. What are we going to say about today’s themes. “They pounded me into submission so memorably, AH THOSE WERE THE DAYS”? What happened to music? In general it’s awful.

  • Doug

    In the UK there was a series starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore called the Persuaders – the theme tune was written (by the now sadly departed) John Barry – if you haven’t heard the theme check it out and enjoy!!

  • Warren Gumeson

    Really dating myself — but Peter Gunn beats ‘em all!

  • A. Bowdoin Van Riper


    Mostly there isn’t anything to say about today’s TV themes, since they’ve been eliminated entirely in favor of cold openings, or reduced to tiny snippets. Off-hand, “Law and Order” and “Friends” are the last shows with a (respectively) truly memorable instrumental themes or theme song, and they were already outliers when they premiered in the 90′s.

  • Dana Rich

    Although it started in the 60′s it was still on in the 70′s… Mission Impossible’s theme would beat any of the ones listed in the poll. And, again, not of the 70′s but very early 80′s’ St. Elsewhere was a great theme. Rockford files was not bad.

  • MissKitty

    Not to forget M*A*S*H…Susan, you sound like our folks! ‘What happened to Music?!?’ I think it happens each generation…but, true, there’s really no ‘theme’ music on television any more. In fact, most of the programming is being streamed now anyway. They want it in bites…Sad, nothing like a lingering murder or suspense! And who could forget the haunting Inspector Morse (sorry, jumped the puddle)!


    I had a crush on Rockford, but who can forget that neat line in Baretta lyrics “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”……some gr8 advice

  • Barb

    I too had a crush on Jim Gardner, I though the series was great! I do agree with Warren also Peter Gun, I still have the 33 album

  • BG

    Those WERE the days….50′s 60′s 70′s……the banging noise nowadays is nothing but GARBAGE

  • gloee

    None of the above!!! Hawaii Five O had the best ever theme song..Book ‘em Danno!! I still get that tune stuck in my head sometimes..a little too catchy…I guess it has stuck for years…

  • Lenny

    My favorite theme song was on Welcome Back Kotter

  • tlynette

    DANG! This one was hard!! SWAT, and Streets of SF were cool and jazzy. Starsky & Hutch’s 2nd theme was better than its first season’s. Sammy Davis sang Baretta’s theme in the first 2 seasons, I think, and that was TOO COOL! (“Well, well, well, well, WELL!”) LOL!

    I agree with Susan and BG — the TV themes from back in the day were WAAAAAAY better. It’s like every drama these days has to wrap up with some chick singing louder than the dialogue, and no closing theme at all. And the comedies don’t even bother — what’s that about? Nobody’s interested in going for what worked, huh?

  • Scott

    The Dukes of Hazzard was drama???

  • R.D.Cochran

    Sunday Monday Happy Days…Tuesday Wednesday Happy Days….Thursday Friday Happy Days…..and so on.

  • Chester

    I’m with Doug, above, who says The Persuaders was the best theme. Come to think of it, the 70s were, as a whole, a little light on good TV music. Back in the 60s however, Man In a Suitcase, 5-O, Avengers, 12 O’Clock High, gosh there was tons of good music.

  • Rick

    That is hard to pick. Most of the 70s TV shows a great theme songs, not just the dramas. As I recall, several of them even got regular radio play when I was young.

  • Jim

    I liked Hardcastle and McCormick. It was a really catchy tune. The opening theme song during season one of this series was entitled “Drive”. It was composed by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer and sung by David Morgan.

  • John Small

    Since when is “The Dukes of Hazzard” a drama?

  • Fred

    ADAM-12 ALL DAY with SWAT as a close 2nd. I just love the cop shows of the 70′s…

  • Ray

    Wow, I watched most of these regularly, all of them at least occasionally, but I can’t remember one of the theme songs. I guess I would have to say “none of the above”

  • Gene Carnicom

    Going way back to 1959-1962, “Adventures in Paradise” had a great theme. Many would recognize it if they heard it.

  • Jazz

    What about 77 Sunset Strip??? Yes I am old.

  • Cat

    Peter Gunn, 77 Sunset Strip and the theme to Route 66 all pre-date the 70′s.

    Dukes of Hazzard doesn’t come close to qualifying as a drama.

    From the 70′s, Rockford Files was probably the best theme. Henry Mancini’s theme for the short-lived series “The Invisible Man” was really good, too.

  • gary day

    im surprised that no one has mentioned KOJAK still gets me going. mind you the visuals dovetailed into it made for me a perfect combination.

  • Mary

    Any music by Henry Mancini! A true musician.

  • Mary Anna

    First off…..Happy B-day to me!I share my day with Charlton Heston and Buster Keaton(Love him)Ok,got that out of the way lol.
    I agree with Dana,Mission Impossible had the coolest theme song…it’s so damned catchy that I can recall it more than a lot of the others.

  • Debbie Coley

    Why wasn’t Hawaii Five-0 included? It ran from 1968-1980, so I would consider it a ’70s series. Also, I agree that Henry Mancini wrote some of the greatest theme songs! He composed one on this list, The NBC Mystery Movie.

  • Ellen Urie

    Debbie! Hawaii 5-0 was included in the last theme song poll. I think it got the most votes – I know I voted for it! I picked Rockford Files for this poll. Baretta would have been second choice. I also think Welcome Back Kotter had a great theme song, but it was a comedy. I loved that show! I watched Kojak all the time, but cannot remember the song. I don’t watch any sitcoms that are on today. No good stories & anything goes. I’m another of the “old days were so much better” club.

  • Patrick

    I always dug the NBC Mystery Movie theme with its creepy whistle and creepier Shadowy Man on the Horizon with a Flashlight, searching for YOU. That gave me a real frisson as a kid, I must say. One of my great faves of that era, though not on your list, has to be Dominic Frontiere’s theme music for Probe, later known as Search. TV will never have great theme music like that again.

  • jpp452

    … There was a ’70s????

  • Michael J.

    First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY ANNA!! now, as for the poll, I loved the Rockford theme because it was so simple to hum along and because of the harmonica being played, but I also liked very much the NBC Mystery theme, and even today, almost 40 years later it still pops into my mind.

  • richard finn

    I couldn’t vote for any of the selections. I’m too old and can’t even recall those music themes now. But I still remember Peter Gunn, it has to be the best. My other favorite has to be Perry Mason, simple but immediately recognizable. 3rd, The Twilight Zone!

  • jodie

    Wonder woman

  • David George

    What about “Hill Street Blues”?

  • Alfie

    There are so many greats, with terrific lyricists and songwriters. A couple of hold-overs from the 60′s that every one always remembers – both of which didn’t end until 1971) are “Green Acres” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Who can foreget those tunes? Like Perry Mason and Gilligan’s Island in the decade before – maybe not the favorites, but certainly among the most difficult-to-forget.

  • Alfie

    Scratch all of the above, except Perry. I overlooked the ‘drama’ part. There weren’t many memorable theme songs in the 70s, compared to earlier times. Gunsmoke (ending in ’75) and Bonanza(ending in ’73) were easily recalled. In decades past, one could hear the beginning of a theme song from another room and immediately recognize the show. Seems TV producers have turned to anything they can get cheaper – which usually means a great loss of quality.

  • Jim

    Drama huh. How about Alfred Hitchcock, Perry Mason, Peter Gunn, The Medic, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Have gun, will travel, Wyatt Earp; and a thousand other Westerns all instantly recognized as to what show it represented. Who doesn’t recognize the original Star Trek theme or Bonanza.

  • Anne

    Mission Impossible, without doubt.

  • stephen Farris

    Didn’t we just have a theme quiz? And Hawaii Five-o won. Or was that a pre-70′s quiz???

    I Favor the “Good Ole Boys theme …” Dukes Rule!!!

  • TomG

    The Wild Wild West…..anyone ?

  • Dom Bardi

    The best theme and one of the best shows-HARRY-O

  • Al

    Ok I believe it said 70′s Theme songs and Cool. S.W.A.T was the coolest theme of the 70′s . Example of cool is the theme from Peter Gunn not so much for the theme from Leave it to Beaver. nuff said.

  • E J Says

    This is one of the best TV themes written, Sammy Davis Vocal is what sets it apart.

    Other Great Tv Themes worthy of note, is Earl Hagen’s Mod Squad and I Spy. The I Spy TV Soundtrack is now available, this is an outstanding double CD album, Earl consider this to be his best work.

  • Mika

    Peter Gunn is best ALL TIME! (was it sixties?)

  • Susan

    I guess it was on the cusp of the 60′s-70′s but the sadly short lived Then Came Bronson would be my favorite Theme song, Show and Star, nobody stirred a young teen girls heart more than Michael Parks….going down that long lonesome highway…..gonna live life my way ahhhhh swoon.

  • sugarpussoshea

    The only music I heard in my head B4 I looked at the choices was Hawaii-5 Oh!!! Especially loved the drums at the end. Can still hear it nd enjoy it with or without Dano……….
    Book ‘m~~~murder 1.

  • David in LA

    One of my favorites is the Land of the Giants second season theme by Johnny (John) Williams. This show was cancelled in 1970.

  • DIRK

    I have to go with MANNIX !! Now that was a cool instrumental!!!

  • THman

    Hawaii 5 O by the Ventures!!!!

    Wasn’t that ’70s?
    Or am I having a senior moment

  • nells

    What about Cannon’s?