The A-Team theme song directly ripped off this rock song
The same composers were behind everything from The Rockford Files to The Andy Griffith Show.
Everyone who read The A-Team pilot script knew that the show was going to be something special.
Iconic theme song composer Mike Post told the Television Academy, "That script, I laughed till I cried."
He’d been approached to write the theme song after winning Grammys for his work on The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues themes.
Partnering with Pete Carpenter — a veteran arranger who got his start teaming up with Earle Hagen to do music for Bewitched, The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. — Post said the theme song came together "really easily."
He and Carpenter agreed on how to start the theme song: "It’s got to be military, because that’s where these guys all met."
But when it came to the middle section of the theme song, Post had a very specific idea in mind.
He was not just inspired by the biggest song released by the rock band Cream — a song many critics credit for fully merging blues with rock and roll. He said he decided to directly "rip it off."
"The middle section’s gotta be: let’s rip off Cream," Post recalled telling Carpenter. "Let’s rip off ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ in the middle section."
If you listen to "Sunshine of Your Love," then The A-Team theme back-to-back, you won’t be able to unhear the distinct riff that made the song so hugely popular for Cream.
That riff did the same thing for The A-Team, with people all around the world rocking out to its theme song, episode after episode.
"Sunshine of Your Love" may not have been as familiar to The A-Team fans, though, as the song was released in 1967, 15 years before The A-Team premiered.
A whole new generation of kids tuning in to cheer on Mr. T were more likely bopping to bands like Duran Duran or Styx, not spinning old Cream records.
It’s likely, though, that Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce had no hard feelings over Post’s derivative use of his riff. Bruce said he kinda ripped the riff off, too — crediting Jimi Hendrix for putting the riff in his head after Bruce attended one of his sensational concerts.
However, in 1968, "Sunshine of Your Love" was one of the most popular singles, and its popularity has endured in the hearts of critics, if not also in the hearts of casual music fans.
It’s frequently cited among the greatest songs of all time, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even listed it as one of "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll."
Now we know it was also one of the greatest songs to shape TV theme song music, too.