"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 Solid Gold. "The music has magic, you know you can catch it, if you let the songs take control. The sound starts to glisten, the more that you listen, and slowly it turns into gold..." Solid Gold debuted in September of 1980 running for eight seasons and 332 episodes. It was first-run syndication usually airing on Saturday nights in most markets. It was a show similar to American Bandstand or Soul Train highlighting the popular music of that time with some artists performing their songs or just having the Solid Gold dancers performing to a song being played. The original host of Solid Gold was Dionne Warwick for the first season and she also performed the theme song which was used during the opening and closing of every episode.
The Solid Gold theme song was co-written by the show's musical director Michael Miller along with lyrics by Dean Pitchford. Miller would remain as musical director for Solid Gold for the show's entire run. Miller also composed the theme song for the 1982-83 sitcom Madame's Place and the 1984 Winter Olympics opening theme song, "Just A Dream Away" sung by John Denver. Pitchford is an award-winning songwriter whose songs, many from the '80s, are included on albums that have sold over 70 million copies. The multi-talented Pitchford also wrote the screenplay for 1984's Footloose and co-wrote all nine songs from the film's hugely successful soundtrack.
I had the honor of an interview with Dean Pitchford and you should definitely check it out to find out about his amazing work. Here is part of what he said about creating the Solid Gold theme song:
To be honest, I was so strung out by then - splitting my writing time between NY, LA and Nashville (while secretly working on a film script that would turn out to be Footloose) - that I almost said no. But then Michael told me that they were talking to Dionne Warwick about hosting the show, in which case she would sing the theme song. Being a huge fan of hers, I couldn't say no.
If I'm remembering correctly, I wrote only a verse and a chorus at first, since that's all the time they'd need over the show's opening credits. But Dionne and everyone on the production team liked the theme so much that it was decided to go into the studio and cut it twice - once as the opening of the show, and a second time as a record-length track. So I wrote a second verse. That version came in handy when - at the end of the seasons, for instance - the producers would cut together a highlights reel of the season's performances and play the record-length song over it.
Here is the opening from a 1985 episode of Solid Gold featuring the theme song performed by Dionne Warwick...
Warwick would leave the show after the first season and be replaced by Marilyn McCoo and Andy Gibb and hosts would change multiple times over the course of the show's run. Other hosts would include Rex Smith, Rick Dees, Nina Blackwood and Arsenio Hall with Warwick returning for another season herself. The Solid Gold theme song would also be re-recorded various time to reflect current music trends and performed by the show's current host (with the exception of the 1984–85 season, which was performed by session singer, Deborah Ludwig Davis).
Here are some end credits from a 1982 episode featuring the theme song performed by Marilyn McCoo and Andy Gibb...
I definitely remember watching Solid Gold on many Saturday nights as a youngster and it was a way to get exposed to pop music before MTV.
"Solid gold! Filling up my life with music. Solid gold! Putting rhythm in my soul. There's a song that's unreeling, to fit the way that I'm feeling. My head keeps spinning to music, spinning to gold..." Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!