TV Theme Songs: Cops
"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale" of a time when television shows began with awesome TV Theme Songs. "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name" and sometimes you want to go back to when TV Theme songs were special. "Here's a story... of a lovely" time when TV Theme Songs served to identify, distinguish and set the stage for the television program that followed. "You take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have" what unfortunately has become a lost artform. "Believe it or not", sadly it seems no effort or pride is taken in the TV Theme Song ever since Seinfeld proved a short synth-bass riff could be used instead. “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” This regular feature may not "make all our dreams come true", but it will remember some of the best TV Theme Songs from years past (with a focus on the '80s decade). "Come aboard, we're expecting you."
This time we will cover the theme song for Cops. "Bad boys, bad bows, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you". Cops debuted on Fox in March of 1989 and is still running (in its 33rd season with over 1,100 episodes as of this posting). The series followed real police officers without any script or narration. Cops ran on Fox until 2013 when it moved to Spike TV (now known as Paramount Network) and ran there until 2020 and is now broadcast on Fox Nation as of 2021.
Cops was created by John Langley and Malcolm Barbour, who tried unsuccessfully for several years to get a network to carry the program. When the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike forced them to find other kinds of programming, the young Fox Television network picked up the low-cost Cops, which had no union writers. Based on the show's longevity, it is not surprising that Cops was relatively popular and profitable for the network. Even if you did not watch the show regularly, most people recognized the show's theme song.
All episodes of Cops began with a disclaimer, "Cops is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." The theme song "Bad Boys" was written and performed by the reggae group Inner Circle. The group was not new to the scene, Inner Circle started off in Jamaica in the late ‘60s but had been based in Miami since the mid-'80s. "Bad Boys" was selected as the theme song to Cops because a field producer for the show happened to be a fan of Inner Circle. The song was originally released in 1987 on their album One Way and re-recorded again in 1989 on their album Identified, but to very little attention. After it was used on Cops, "Bad Boys" was re-released in 1993 to much greater success even peaking at #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1993.
Here are the opening credits for Cops featuring "Bad Boys" performed by Inner Circle...
Most people know the chorus, but don't even realize there are other lyrics. The song would go on to be featured in the Bad Boys movie franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence which started in 1995 and the Grand Theft Auto video game series which started in 1997. It just barely qualifies as an '80s television theme since Cops began in 1989, but now there are not too many people that wouldn't recognize this song. "Bad boys, bad bows, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you".
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!