TV Theme Songs: Miami Vice

"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 Miami Vice aptly titled "Miami Vice Theme". Miami Vice debuted in September of 1984 and ran for 5 seasons and 112 episodes ending in 1990. The instrumental theme song which set the tone perfectly for this iconic '80s series was composed and performed by Czech-born keyboardist Jan Hammer. It is reported that the "Miami Vice Theme" was originally something Hammer had been just experimenting with on a sequencer, trying to get something that felt rhythmic and driving. He played it for the show's producer, Michael Mann, and as a result didn't just get the show's theme, but was hired to provide the music for the series. So Hammer also scored and provided more of his distinctive, synthesized instrumental music each episode while also innovatively featuring real pop and rock hits by original artists. This is one of the ways Miami Vice really stood out and felt fresh at the time. While other television shows used made-for-TV music, Miami Vice would spend $10,000 or more per episode to buy the rights to original recordings.


The Miami Vice Soundtrack and the single "Miami Vice Theme" were released in October of 1985. As evidence of the show's power and popularity, the soundtrack hit #1 on the U.S. album chart on November 2, 1985 and "Miami Vice Theme" hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 the following week on November 9. This made chart history, as it was the first time a TV show had generated both the U.S. #1 single and album. It is also quite rare for an instrumental song to reach the top of the pop charts (and there has only been one occurrence since 1985) not to mention a TV Theme Song. "Miami Vice Theme" only stayed at #1 for one week, but the soundtrack remained at the top of the album chart for 11 weeks thanks to the theme song as well as hits like "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins and "You Belong to the City" by Glenn Frey. In 1986, Hammer's theme song won Grammy Awards both for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Here are the opening credits of Miami Vice featuring “Miami Vice Theme” performed by Jan Hammer…



"Miami Vice Theme" is definitely one of the most successful TV Theme Songs as well as instrumental songs of all time. Even without a single lyric, just hearing that song makes me think of pastel fashion, wearing shoes with no socks, neon lights, Ferraris, speed boats and the mid-to-late-80s. Demonstrates the magic of a truly special TV Theme Song and this one definitely qualifies.


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

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