TV Theme Songs: Moonlighting

"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 Moonlighting aptly titled "Moonlighting". "Some walk by night, some fly by day..." This is another of my very favorite theme songs and favorite television shows of the decade. Moonlighting debuted in March of 1985 and ran for five seasons and 66 episodes starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. It was one of the first successful comedy-dramas or "dramedy" shows on television. The theme song was co-written and performed by jazz singer Al Jarreau who had been best know for his 1981 hit "We're In This Love Together". The music was written by Lee Holdridge, a composer who scored a number of TV series and movies, including Mr. Mom and Splash. Holdridge had already written the music when he asked Jarreau to write the lyrics and sing it. It was not made into a single until 1987 and that extended version was produced by the outstanding Nile Rodgers.


Likely at least partially driven off of the popularity of the show, "Moonlighting" had some commercial success as a single as well. It only peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, but actually reached #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in July of 1987. It is somewhat rare for TV Theme Songs to receive radio airplay and find success on the charts like that. "Moonlighting" also received two Grammy nominations in 1988 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. Jarreau's lyrics and vocals are so smooth and the perfect combination to create this exceptional theme song. Here are the opening credits of Moonlighting featuring “Moonlighting” performed by Al Jarreau…



Reminds me of how much I enjoyed Moonlighting as a show. 1985 was a great year for Jarreau who, in addition to providing the theme song for a hit television show, was a featured singer on the "We Are the World" charity single by USA for Africa. He sang the line, "...and so we all must lend a helping hand". Al Jarreau would have other singles reach the R&B Chart, but he would not have another song on the pop charts after "Moonlighting". He passed away in 2017 at the age of 76 and is considered one of the more well-respected jazz/soul singers of his generation. I will always remember him best though for "Moonlighting strangers, who just met on the way".


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

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