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TV Theme Songs: Murder, She Wrote

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

"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 Murder, She Wrote. The series debuted in September of 1984 running for twelve seasons and 264 episodes on CBS plus four TV movies all starring Angela Lansbury as "Jessica Fletcher", a mystery writer and amateur detective living in the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine. Murder, She Wrote went on to become one of the most successful and longest-running shows in the history of television, averaging over 25 million viewers in its prime. The show finished in the top 15 for eleven of its 12 seasons and eight of those it was in the top 10 holding down that Sunday night 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central time slot for most of its run.

The theme song for Murder, She Wrote was composed by John Addison. The British composer, Addison is best known for his film scores. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award in the Best Original Score from a Motion Picture or Television Show category for the music to the 1963 film, Tom Jones. Most of his other notable work was in the '60s and '70s as well as some classical compositions. In addition to composing the theme song, Addison won an Emmy Award in 1985 for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for a particular episode of Murder, She Wrote titled "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes". I am not sure how Mr. Addison was chosen to provide the sprightly instrumental theme song, but it was a perfect choice. The piano intro in particular is very memorable as it kind of goes along with the typewriter typing while the horns and strings help fill out the rest. They used the same theme song for all seasons, though the opening montage changed slightly over the years (even switching from a typewriter to a computer later in its run).

Here is the opening for season 4 of Murder, She Wrote featuring the instrumental theme song by John Addison...

Murder, She Wrote has continued to be relatively successful in syndication to this day making its theme song likely recognizable to multiple generations.

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


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