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TV Theme Songs: Gimme a Break

"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 Gimme a Break!. "Gimme a break! I sure deserve it, it’s time I made it to the top." Gimme a Break! debuted in October of 1981 and ran for six seasons and 137 episodes. It starred Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief and his three daughters. Over its run, the series used two different theme songs, but I believe the one used for the first two seasons is the one I remember best. That version was composed by Bob Christianson with lyrics by Bob Garrett and Marley Sims. The theme song was performed by Nell Carter herself, who had previously won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical in 1978 for her performance in the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin'. She also had originally been cast as as Effie White in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, but departed the production during development to take a television role and was replaced by Jennifer Holliday for the lead when the show debuted in 1981. So Nell Carter was an amazing singer and it was very wise for them to use her to sing the theme song.


Here are the opening credits for season 1 of Gimme a Break! featuring the theme song performed by Nell Carter...



A new theme song, with music by Jay Graydon and lyrics by Richard Page (of Mr. Mister fame), was introduced in the third season and used for the remainder of the show's run. Jay Graydon's work includes the Grammy winners "Turn Your Love Around" (co-written with Steve Lukather and Bill Champlin) as performed by George Benson and "After the Love Has Gone" (co-written with David Foster and Bill Champlin) as performed by Earth, Wind & Fire among lots of other songwriting/producing credits with many other artists. Page was the lead singer of band Mr. Mister and co-writer of hits like "Broken Wings" and "Kyrie". The new theme has similarities to the first version but with a little more positive attitude. They wisely chose to have Nell Carter perform this version as well. Here are the opening credits featuring this second version of the Gimme a Break! theme song performed by Nell Carter...



Like I said, I think I am partial to the original version though both aren't bad. "Gimme A Break! The game is survival! Gimme A Break, and plan my arrival! Gimme A Break for heaven's sake! What happened to my piece of the cake? Gimme A Break!"

Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!

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