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10 totally '80s forgotten theme songs from the early '80s

Like, oh my god! Do you remember the tunes for 'Square Pegs' and 'Just Our Luck'?

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There was plenty in the budget for synthisizers and hairspray. The 1980s was a golden era for television theme songs, from its sing-along sitcom pop to the over-the-top action instrumentals. We can still sing every word to Cheers and hum along to The A-Team. "Believe It Or Not" from The Greatest American Hero reached No. 2 on the pop charts. When's the last time a TV theme did that?

Of course, for every hit show there was a slew of short-lived series. The following titles may have lasted mere months — if not weeks — but it certainly wasn't the fault of the theme songs. 

Here are ten TV theme songs that will might make you start saying "tubular" again.

1

Darkroom

1981

David Shire, composer behind scores for films like The Conversation and Saturday Night Fever, ratchets up the suspense with spine-tingling piano. James Coburn, host of the creepy anthology series, lends his creaking voice.

Image: ABC / Universal Television

2

Gloria

1982–83

Maybe it's because we grew up with the Banana Splits, but there's something so appealing about simple La La Las. Or, La La La La La La Da La Di Da, as the opening to this All in the Family spin-off goes. Fans of upbeat scat singing will also enjoy the theme to the short-lived We Got It Made.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

3

Square Pegs

1982

Two-hit wonders the Waitresses, the giddy new-wave band behind "I Know What Boys Like" and "Christmas Wrapping," provided this nerd anthem. "Don't wanna wear my glasses / I have to wear my glasses," singer Patty Donahue sings.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

4

Teachers Only

1982–83

The Commodores give a funky start to this Normal Fell sitcom with their 1982 single "Reach High."

Image: NBC

5

Just Our Luck

1983

No, that is not Michael Jackson. Shalamar is the group singing, "My life was all in order, when they tossed a hand grenade," over Thriller-esque synth-soul. The "hand grenade" here is a genie, who shakes up the world in this sort of I Dream of Jeannie update.

Image: Warner Bros. Television


6

Whiz Kids

1983–84

Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major goes electronic — with added drum fills.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

7

Cover Up

1984–85

Yes, this is the same "Holding Out for a Hero" made famous in the Footloose soundtrack early that same year. However, in this case, it is sung by Elizabeth Daily, who would go on to voice Tommy Pickles on Rugrats.

Image: 20th Century Fox Television

8

Hawaiian Heat

1984

It's like Miami Vice, only in Hawaii. And intead of "Smuggler's Blues," the two cops have the plastic blues of "Goodbye Blues" by Tom Scott.

Image: Universal Television

9

Street Hawk

1985

Sure, it was basically Knight Rider, but a motorcycle. Tangerine Dream gave the show serious electro-pop clout with its epitome-of-the-'80s track "Le Parc."

Image: Universal Television

10

Extra Cheese: Mama Malone

1984

Few theme songs have tried so hard for such awkward results. Chef Boyardee has more authenticity than the Mama Malone ditty. A cliched Italian folk strain strums along as some fellow gives directions like "saute a little wisdom and combine it with the sharpness of a scallion" and "take some temper and some tenderness and stir it until it's definitely Italian." Sounds like a recipe for swift cancelation!

Image: Sony Pictures Television

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