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TV Theme Songs: Remington Steele

"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 Remington Steele. The show debuted in October of 1982 and ran for five seasons and 94 episodes on NBC. Remington Steele starred Pierce Brosnan in the title role and Stephanie Zimbalist as a private investigator that uses him as her front with the premise that many potential clients refuse to hire a woman for this work. The theme song for the show was composed by the great Henry Mancini.

In his career, Mancini won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Some of his earlier work includes the theme and soundtrack for the Peter Gunn television series as well as the music for The Pink Panther film series including the iconic "The Pink Panther Theme" as well as "Moon River" from the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. He composed a personal favorite of mine with the 1976 What's Happening theme song. In the '80s, in addition to Remington Steele, Mancini also composed the theme songs for Newhart, Ripley's Believe it Or Not and Hotel as well as the 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds. He even composed the "Viewer Mail" theme for Late Night with David Letterman.

For the Remington Steele theme song, Mancini created a very subtle, unassuming instrumental featuring some horns. It features Zimbalist's "Laura Holt" character narrating over almost the entire song explaining the premise to the show. Here is what she says:

"Try this for a deep, dark secret: the great detective, Remington Steele? He doesn't exist. I invented him. Follow. I always loved excitement, so I studied, and apprenticed, and put my name on an office. But absolutely nobody knocked down my door. A female private investigator seemed so... 'feminine'. So I invented a superior. A decidedly 'masculine' superior. Suddenly, there were cases around the block. It was working like a charm... until the day HE walked in, with his blue eyes and mysterious past. And before I knew it, he assumed Remington Steele's identity. Now I do the work and he takes the bows. It's a dangerous way to live, but as long as people buy it, I can get the job done. We never mixed business with pleasure. Well, almost never. I don't even know his real name!"

Here are the opening credits for season 1 of Remington Steele with the "Remington Steele Opening Theme" composed by Henry Mancini...

In most cases, I prefer theme songs with lyrics over instrumentals, but in this case the instrumental allows the narration and it works well for this particular show. And it is pretty special if your show's theme song happens to be composed by the great Henry Mancini.

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


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