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TV Theme Songs: Hardcastle and McCormick

"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 Hardcastle and McCormick titled "Drive". "Drive! Push it to the floor till the engine screams. Drive! Drivin' like the demon that drives your dreams." Hardcastle and McCormick ran for three seasons and 67 episodes debuting in September of 1983. The series was another co-created by Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell's other creations include The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, Hunter, Riptide and 21 Jump Street. Hardcastle and McCormick starred Brian Keith as Judge Milton C. Hardcastle and Daniel Hugh Kelly as ex-con and race car driver Mark "Skid" McCormick. The awesome car he drove, Coyote X, ranks highly on my list of Top Cars/Trucks from '80s Movies and Television.

The original main theme was co-written and composed by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer. The two previously created one of my very favorite TV Theme Songs of all time, The Greatest American Hero. Mike Post is also credited with several other great television theme songs including The Rockford Files, The White Shadow, Magnum, P.I., The A- Team, Hill Street Blues, Hunter, L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, M.D. and Quantum Leap among many others. In addition to The Greatest American Hero, Geyer also worked with Charles Fox and co-wrote the theme song for Valerie/The Hogan Family among his other work.

“Drive” was the original theme song for the series sung by David Morgan. Morgan had worked for many years as a studio session player and singer for commercials, television and film soundtracks. He worked for years with Mike Post, as well as with George Martin, Ray Charles (who recorded his song, “Now I Don’t Believe That Anymore”), Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bruce Hornsby.

"Drive" was used for all of season one, but for the first part of season two, the theme song was replaced by another song also composed by Post and Geyer but sung by Joey Scarbury (who had sang "Believe it Or Not" for The Greatest American Hero). Public demand, however, resulted in the “Drive” theme being reinstated (after 12 episodes) and kept through season three. That is pretty impressive when public sentiment for a theme song on a TV show can make executives change it back. Here are the opening credits for Hardcastle and McCormick featuring the song “Drive” performed by David Morgan…

I had the pleasure of an interview with co-writer Stephen Geyer and here is what he had to say about creating "Drive":

I don’t have a lot to say about “Drive” other than that I thought the metaphors and images I used in the lyrics, such as “Slow motion man, iron and steel in the palm of your hand…” and “hot wired heart, betting your life on the state of the art…” as well as others, were concise, evocative, poetic, and specific all at once, which is about as good as one can hope for, with the incredibly short amount of time one has (or had) to have their theme song heard on network TV.

"You're on a hard road, nobody cares if you hit the breaks. You gotta think fast, keep it in gear, one slip is all it takes. You gotta keep your wheels on the straight and narrow if you wanna survive. Drive!"

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


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