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'Laverne And Shirley' To 'Growing Pains': Inspiring TV Theme Songs

Posted: 04/26/2012 2:18 pm

Laverne And Shirley Tv Theme Songs
"Laverne & Shirley's" inspiring theme song.

TV theme songs can be good for more than just introducing a show; sometimes, they can inspire you.

Take "Laverne & Shirley" for instance. The show ended 29 years ago, but the iconic theme song lives on -- and not just for the "Schlemiel! Schlimazel!" -- but because of its message. Nothing was going to stand in those ladies' way; they were going to make their dreams come true.

From songs with lyrical messages, like the theme song of "The Golden Girls," to opening tracks with inspiring cords, like "Friday Night Lights," TV theme songs have a way of sticking with viewers years after the show meets its fate.

Who hasn't imagined throwing a beret up into the air while twirling in a circle after realizing you're going to make it after all? From "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" theme song to the opening tune of "The Hills," these are HuffPost TV's most inspiring TV theme songs.

If your favorite didn't make the list, let us know in the comments below!

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  • "Laverne & Shirley"

    Lyrically, the theme song to "Laverne & Shirley" is by far one of the most inspiring to ever grace TV. The message of following dreams, along with your best friend, will make you feel like you can take on the world, just like Laverne and Shirley did for eight seasons.

  • "Gilmore Girls"

    If you're out on the road, feeling lonely and so cold ... the over-caffeinated, dynamic mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore will remind you of the importance of friends and family. Carole King's "Where You Lead" perfectly encompasses the close-knit, small town feel of the show, and kind of makes you want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with your mom.

  • "The Wonder Years"

    This theme song ("With A Little Help From My Friends" by Joe Cocker, originally written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) is a touching tribute to days gone by and friends from our youth. It's perfectly appropriate for the volatile '60s "Wonder Years" culture Kevin is growing up in.

  • "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

    Who can turn the world on with her smile? After enough listens, you'll be convinced you can and that you can do anything, just like Mary Richards. Hang in there, you're going to make it after all.

  • "The Golden Girls"

    With all but one of "The Golden Girls" gone, the nostalgia factor of this theme song is through the roof. Basically a testament to friendship, the song is heartfelt and sweet. It makes you want to pull your girlfriends into a group hug on the couch so you can all watch together.

  • "Full House"

    The minute you saw that red convertible cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge in the "Full House" opening credits, it was hard not to smile. Danny Tanner's family was unconventional -- his wife Pam died shortly after childbirth, leaving Danny to raise his three daughters (pre-teen DJ, precocious Stephanie and newborn Michelle) with the help of Pam's brother, Jesse and his best friend, Joey. But as hokey as the three men and three babies storyline may have been, it was still sweet -- as was the message in its theme song that "everywhere you look," "there's a heart, a hand to hold onto" [see Joey's] and "a face of somebody who needs you" [see Michelle's]. Plus, it's good to know that "when you're lost out there and you're all alone, a light is waiting to carry you home." [See Danny.] Thanks, Bob Saget.

  • "Felicity"

    As she waded her way through difficult coursework, family drama and endless boy problems, Felicity helped lost souls everywhere realize they weren't alone. The show's theme song, "New Version Of You," serves as an important reminder that there's always room to change and grow.

  • "Friday Night Lights"

    Heartbreak, triumph, sadness, love: Big emotions coursed through the day-to-day lives of the residents of Dillon, Texas, and W.G. Snuffy Walden's lyrical theme evoked those bittersweet moments and feelings beautifully. OK, we'll admit it, the show itself made us cry so often that hearing the theme provokes a Panthers/Pavlovian response: Even now, we get a little choked up when we hear the opening notes of this lovely instrumental.

  • "Friends"

    When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year, your friends will be there for you, just like the Rembrandts' catchy theme song says. And if you want to hop into a fountain and dance around with them too, go for it.

  • "Growing Pains"

    The opening lyrics to "As Long As We've Got Each Other" implore the listener to "show me that smile again," and it's pretty hard not to. With lyrics that stress family togetherness, killer vocal harmonies and that classic '80s guitar, this theme song evokes instant warm fuzzies.

  • "The Jeffersons"

    "The Jeffersons" theme song is an uplifting and aspirational anthem that reflects the racially inclusive spirit of the '70s. With lyrics about "movin' on up ... to a deluxe apartment in the sky," complemented by a gospel choir, the song has endured for decades as a celebratory jam for anyone taking the next big step in the their lives, a.k.a. when they "finally got a piece of the pie."

  • "The Hills"

    Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" explains that life is "undefined" and endings are "unplanned." Despite the negative prefixes abounding in her song, the lyrics ask those listening -- and those watching MTV's "The Hills," which used a portion of Bedingfield's track as its theme song -- to "feel the rain on your skin [because] no on else can feel it for you; only you can let it in." Clearly, it's some sort of metaphor far deeper than anything that went on throughout the six seasons of "The Hills," featuring "Laguna Beach" alumna Lauren Conrad and her then-new L.A. then-friends: Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge and Whitney Port. Sure, the moments of dripping mascara, drunken fights, desires to "forgive and forget" and lunches where no one ate were not the most inspiring TV moments, but thanks to Bedingfield, we felt good watching "The Hills" for those 30-ish seconds of the opening credits.

  • "Family Ties"

    What would we do, baby, without the Keatons? Even when they hit rough patches, the "Family Ties" theme song reminded viewers that "there ain't no nothing we can't love each other through." Sha-la-la-la, indeed.

  • "Hawaii Five-0"

    It's one of the most recognizable TV themes of all time, and for good reason: Just listening to it makes you feel badass. When that unforgettable riff plays and the horns and drums kick in, you feel as though you could kick down doors, race your car all over the islands and generally be the coolest law-enforcement person in Hawaii's history. The theme is such a classic that the CBS reboot of the show didn't even attempt to change it -- it was rerecorded note for note (with some of the same musicians who worked on the original).

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Filed by Chris Harnick  |