TV Theme Songs: Empty Nest
"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 Empty Nest. "Life goes on and so do we. Just how we do it is no mystery. One by one one by one we fill the days. We find a thousand different ways." Empty Nest debuted in October 1988 as a spin-off of The Golden Girls running for seven seasons and 170 episodes.
The show's theme song, "Life Goes On", was written by John Bettis and George Tipton. If you didn’t know already, you might also be interested that Bettis is the lyricist for other '80s hits like Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”, Madonna’s “Crazy For You”, The Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hand” and Whitney Houston’s Olympic theme “One Moment in Time”. Bettis also co-wrote the theme songs to Growing Pains and its spin-off Just the Ten of Us. Tipton was a composer/arranger/conductor who worked in pop music, but also extensively in television including co-writing theme songs for Soap and its spinoff Benson, It's a Living, and I'm a Big Girl Now in addition to Empty Nest.
They chose the amazing Billy Vera to perform "Life Goes On". Vera's career began back in the '60s, but hit a high in 1985 when his song "At This Moment" was used in an episode of Family Ties and then continued as the romantic theme for Alex and Ellen on the show. The song re-entered the charts in late 1986 and made it all the way to #1 in late January of 1987. Before the second coming of “At This Moment,” Vera tried his hand at acting. He was cast in 1984’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai as “Pinky Carruthers” the bass player in the band led by Dr. Buckaroo Banzai played by Peter Weller and his band was later featured in the 1987 Bruce Willis film Blind Date. In addition to Empty Nest, Vera also performed the theme song for King of Queens in the '90s. For the first three seasons, the song was presented in a slower, more melancholy yet comical arrangement. The original opening titles sequence showed Harry Weston taking his dog Dreyfuss for a walk around town, with still images of the other regular cast members shown as they were credited. For the final four seasons the theme song was updated with a higher, more upbeat arrangement including female backup singers. This video includes both, but you can just focus on the first one since this is the one used during the '80s. Here is the original opening for Empty Nest featuring "Life Goes On" by Billy Vera...
I had the honor of an interview with Billy Vera and, even though I didn't ask him specifically about this theme song, you can find out more about his other work by giving that a read. "Rain or shine, I’ll be the one to share it all as life goes on. We share it all as life goes on."
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!