TV Theme Songs: Knight Rider
"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 Knight Rider. Knight Rider debuted in September of 1982 and ran four seasons and 90 episodes. To me, the show was one of my favorites as a kid and K.I.T.T. the car is one of the coolest pop culture icons of the early '80s. See where it ranks on our Top Cars/Trucks from '80s Movies & Television. Knight Rider was created by Glen A. Larson who had previously created other popular shows including Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Quincy, M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B.J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy and Magnum, P.I. Larson actually composed the theme song for Knight Rider along with Stu Phillips. Phillips worked scoring music on several Larson shows including creating the beautiful theme song for Battlestar Galactica in addition to Knight Rider.
Larson has said that they took inspiration for the Knight Rider theme song from classical piece "Marche Et Cortège De Bacchus" Act III – No. 14 from the ballet Sylvia written by French composer Léo Delibes. The network pushed them to feature synthesizers which makes total sense based on what was happening in music in 1982. Larson claims that they used five or six synthesizers, drums and a Fender bass to create the Knight Rider theme song.
Then you also have the speech setting up the premise of the show spoken over the theme song: "Knight Rider. A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight. A young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law." This narration is provided by actor Richard Basehart, who also played Wilton Knight (the founder of FLAG) who dies in the pilot episode. Here are the opening credits for Knight Rider featuring the theme song (and Basehart's narration)...
As mentioned here before, I generally prefer television theme songs with lyrics/vocals, but there are definitely a handful of them that are just instrumentals which I also consider truly special. I personally used the Knight Rider theme song as my phone ringtone for many years and still continue to use it within my rotation. So it is not surprising that I consider the Knight Rider theme song as one of those special ones and I probably always will.
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!