Channeling Charted TV Themes

Glee: The Billboard Cover Story

McKinley High School's most musical students began their sophomore year Tuesday (Sept. 21), as Fox's "Glee" began its second season (and drew grade-A ratings).

The "Glee" troupe performed versions of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone," Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," "Listen," from "Dreamgirls," and "What I Did for Love," from "A Chorus Line."

"Season two begins with more budget cuts looming and the 'Glee' kids reeling from their loss at Regionals," Columbia Records, which releases and promotes the show's music, touted prior to the airing. "In episode one, 'Audition,' the club is in an 'Empire state of mind,' as there are new members to recruit in order to make it to New York for Nationals.

"This episode introduces Sunshine Corazon (Charice) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) but Rachel and Finn don't see eye to eye on them.

"Meanwhile, McKinley High has a new football coach, Shannon Beiste (Dot Marie Jones), who immediately shows herself to be a threat to both the 'Glee' club and the Cheerios," the label teased.

Upon the return of "Glee" - and a week before the "Glee" cast will likely extend its sum of Hot 100 entries past 64, the seventh-best total in the chart's history - Chart Beat looks back at 30 TV theme songs that have impacted Billboard charts in the past 30 years. (Even if "Glee" itself, a TV series that has revolutionized the way the medium has spotlighted music, features only an approximately two-second a capella vocal stab for its theme ...)


"Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)," Waylon Jennings

No. 1 (one week) Country Songs, No. 21 Billboard Hot 100, 1980

"Theme From Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)," Joey Scarbury
No. 2 Hot 100, 1981

"Theme From Hill St. Blues," Mike Post
No. 10 Hot 100, 1981

"Theme From Magnum P.I.," Mike Post
No. 25 Hot 100, 1982


"Where Everybody Knows Your Name," Gary Portnoy
(theme from "Cheers")
No. 28 Adult Contemporary, No. 83 Hot 100, 1983

"Theme From St. Elsewhere," Dave Grusin
No. 15 Adult Contemporary, 1984

"Miami Vice Theme," Jan Hammer
No. 1 (one week) Hot 100, 1985

"Peter Gunn," the Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy
No. 2 Dance/Club Play Songs, No. 50 Hot 100, 1986 (Eddy had reached No. 27 on the Hot 100 with the theme in 1960, a year after Ray Anthony took his version to No. 8.)

"Moonlighting (Theme)," Al Jarreau
No. 1 (one week) Adult Contemporary, No. 23 Hot 100, 1987

Upon the return of "Glee" on Fox - and a week before the show's cast will likely extend its sum of Hot 100 entries past 64, the seventh-best total in the chart's history - Chart Beat looks back at 30 TV theme songs that have impacted Billboard charts in the past 30 years.


"Theme From L.A. Law," Mike Post
No. 13 Adult Contemporary, 1988


"As Long As We Got Each Other," Steve Dorff & Friends
(theme from "Growing Pains")
No. 7 Adult Contemporary, 1989

"Sesame's Treet," Smart E's
No. 1 Hot Dance Singles Sales, No. 60 Hot 100, 1992 (a dance reworking of the famed "Sesame Street" theme song)

"How Do You Talk to an Angel," the Heights (theme from "The Heights")
No. 1 (two weeks) Hot 100, 1992

"Theme From Northern Exposure," David Schwartz
No. 15 Adult Contemporary, 1993


"Bad Boys (Theme from "Cops")," Inner Circle
No. 8 Hot 100, 1993

"(Meet) the Flintstones," B.C. 52's
No. 33 Hot 100, 1994 (from the movie "The Flintstones")

"I'll Be There for You," the Rembrandts (theme from "Friends")
No. 1 (eight weeks) Radio Songs, 1995


"Closer to Free," Bodeans (theme from "Party of Five")
No. 16 Hot 100, 1996

"Theme From Mission: Impossible," Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen
No. 7 Hot 100, 1996 (from the movie "Mission: Impossible," starring Tom Cruise)


"Nothin' on Me," Shawn Colvin (theme from "Suddenly Susan")
No. 24 Adult Pop Songs, 1998

Upon the return of "Glee" on Fox - and a week before the show's cast will likely extend its sum of Hot 100 entries past 64, the seventh-best total in the chart's history - Chart Beat looks back at 30 TV theme songs that have impacted Billboard charts in the past 30 years.


"Searchin' My Soul," Vonda Shepard (theme from "Ally McBeal")
No. 16 Radio Songs, 1998

"Teardrop," Massive Attack (theme from "House")
No. 10 Bubbling Under Hot 100, 1998 (the haunting instrumental would not become familiar as the series' theme until the program's premiere six years later.)

"Woke Up This Morning," A3 (theme from "The Sopranos")
No. 11 Triple A, 2000

"Boss of Me," They Might Be Giants (theme from "Malcolm in the Middle")
No. 40, Modern Adult Contemporary, 2001

"Save Me," Remy Zero (theme from "Smallville")
No. 27 Alternative Songs, 2001

"California," Phantom Planet (theme from "The OC")
No. 35 Alternative Songs, 2002

"All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)," Widelife with Simone Denny (theme from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")
No. 5, Dance/Club Play Songs, 2004

"Best of Both Worlds," Hannah Montana (theme from "Hannah Montana")
No. 92 Hot 100, 2006

"The Simpsons Theme," Green Day
No. 54, Digital Songs, 2007 (from "The Simpsons Movie")

"Leave It to Me (iCarly Theme Song)," Miranda Cosgrove
No. 100 Hot 100, 2008