We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
8/21/2008 02:01:00 PM
Top Five Television Sports Theme Songs
John Tesh will always be known for hosting "Entertainment Tonight" and creating the NBA on NBC theme song.
Gene Blevins /Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
On Tuesday, Hot Clicks linked to a video of John Tesh performing a live concert. Aside from the fact that it was a video OF A JOHN TESH CONCERT, it briefly allowed me to revisit the time when theme music mattered for sports on TV. These days, many networks (OK, mostly ESPN) seem to just slap some generic music on their events. But there was a time when the theme music actually added to the happenings. Here are my top five television sports theme songs...
1. The NBA on NBC -- A tour de force. At least NBC brought it back for the basketball at the Olympics.
2. The Olympics on NBC -- I know ESPN/ABC has been making noise about wanting to purchase the rights to the Olympics, but if they can't import John Williams' theme music, don't bother.
Also, it crossed over into the hip-hop world, courtesy of Cam'Ron.
4. College Football on CBS -- Another great one. Though I can't really imagine Verne Lundquist getting as pumped up by the song as I do.
5. Football Night In America on NBC -- While almost everything else about NBC's coverage is overproduced, I've caught myself whistling the theme song more than once.
What's your favorite sports on TV theme song? Let us know below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
what about the "Hockey Night in Canada" on CBC, now moving to TSN - that theme is so embedded in Canadians, there will be a huge loss of words across the country for the first CBC broadcast without it...I know I'll be watching TSN now so that my boy learns the song
I know it's not big in the US but you should see all the commotion around CBC's Hockey Night in Canada theme song. The rights to the song lapsed and CBC's competitor swooped in and purchased the rights and now CBC is offering a large cash prize for whoever comes up with a theme song to replace it. CBC had used that song for 40 + years
JT Says: You know everyone from Canada is going to be rattled because you didnt mention the second national anthem..Hockey Night In Canada Theme, which doesnt surprise me because hockey doesnt really matter in America anyways
I still have a soft spot for ABC's Wide World of Sports. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8VPHUvCHHI It has that unique "SuperFriends" quality. As a kid, I started my Saturday Morning cartoon watching with the SuperFriends song, and would end it with this one.
Your current crop is good, but there are some classics that have been left out.
1. ABC's Wide World of Sports - the human drama of athletic competition, with the trumpets increasing pace. 2. The Superstars (70's version) - they used the instrumental protion of "Superstar" from "Jesus Christ Superstar" 3. CBS - The NFL Today - Brent Musberger, Phyllis George, Irv Cross, and the robot player dodging their names in the 1983 intro. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vMA22xJEcQ&feature=related 4. AUGUSTA - the instrumental used as the theme music for The Masters' broadcast. 4a. Love's Theme - Love Unlimited Orchestra's instrumental used as the golf theme for ABC. 5. Meet the Mets (okay, I'm a little biased on that one) 6. The silly piano tune used on the Albert Achievement Awards.
I mean it's hard to appreciate since they are so prevalent, but FOX's NFL theme and MLB theme are terrific, especially when used at the opening of a telecast. Great energy, heavy attitude, perfect for their sports.
ESPN, for all its coverage, doesn't have any inspiring stuff now, but their old NHL theme was awesome.
Finally, a sentimental favorite of mine is the old NFL on CBS theme, a tune that brings back memories of Summerall and Madden doing a Cowboys/49ers game.
How about the sound of the trumpets of the theme song of "ABC's Wide World of Sports", which seemed to come to a climax as the ski jumper 'crashed and burned'. ABC seemed to get the hi-lite and the music together just right.
Seriously? No HNIC Theme? And the choice of the NBA on NBC as your #1? It is by far the worst on your list, and inspires nothing other than an extreme urge to change the channel. Badness. That is being kind.
I don't know how many of you have ever seen hockey on Canadian CBC, but that is by far the best theme song for sports. I have it downloaded as a ringtone for my phone (I'm in Detroit - HOCKEYTOWN) and everyone here always asks me where i got it.
Lang, being a canadian reader, and i'm sure that many will attest to what i'm going to say, we all have to say that number one to us is the hockey night in canada theme. there was a rather large uproar about it a couple of months ago when CBC (the channel that had the rights to the song and played it every saturday night) wasn't going to renew the contract to play the song and many canadians were outraged. needless to say, it is almost viewed as a canadian staple, and can be on the same boat as the canadian anthem!
I know this is Canadian and about hockey, so most readers won't know or care. But the theme song of "Hockey Night in Canada" on CBC has been around for decades, and is referred to as Canada's 2nd National Anthem. It was just bought by TSN (Canada's ESPN equivalent) after CBC failed to renegotiate the rights with the composer. Now there's a contest to replace it that's receiving national attention.
MLB on FOX and NFL on FOX themes are far better then the Sunday Night football but probably got left off because they are very prevalent. I think this list should be ten items long because there are a lot of really good themes. Regardless NBA on NBC is absolutely and with no equivocation number 1. That much can't be argued. I get chills just listening to it sometimes. BRING BACK NBA ON NBC.
Without a doubt, the NBA on NBC theme song is my #1. Not only is it a great song (starts off slow, and then picks up (great for intros)), but it brings up so much nostalgia when I think about the Bulls' championship runs.
Totally agree with NBA on NBC (although the full version is a bit repetitive) and any of the Williams Olympic themes (I prefer the 1988 Seoul theme to the 1984 LA theme, but that's splitting hairs). The one I think you left out is the old NFL on NBC theme, from back in the day of OJ Simpson and Bob Costas on the sidelines. Maybe it just makes me nostalgic for the good ol' days of my Buffalo Bills, but I still hum that song sometimes on game days.