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TV Theme Songs: Taxi

"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 Taxi titled "Angela". Taxi debuted in September of 1978 and ran a total of five seasons and 114 episodes crossing into the '80s. The show was a critical and commercial success, having been nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and winning 13, including three straight years (from 1979-1981) winning Outstanding Comedy. After the ratings slipped in season 4, it was dropped by ABC and picked up by NBC for one more season, before being cancelled for good in 1983. Taxi featured an outstanding ensemble cast including Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Conaway and Andy Kaufman all working for the Sunshine Cab Company located in Manhattan, New York.

The opening theme song, "Angela", was written and performed by jazz keyboardist/arranger/producer Bob James. "Angela" had originally been intended for a sequence in episode 3, but producers liked this slower, more melancholic tune better than the up-tempo opening theme they had originally chosen (called "Touchdown"), and were able to make the switch before the first episode aired. You might wonder why the song is titled "Angela". Well, it was named after a guest character in that third episode of the first season in which it was supposed to be used and James decided not to change it. Most people probably don't know the song's title and just refer to it as the them song from Taxi. It was certainly an unusual choice for a sitcom, but now I cannot imagine any other theme song for the show. The opening titles show a cab (actually being driven by cast-member Tony Danza) heading east across the Queensboro Bridge and, once again, this was not originally intended for the opening credits. This footage originally going to be used as a "bridge" between scenes and is only about fifteen seconds long. With some creative editing, parts of it are repeated to fill the opening sequence. Here are the opening credits for Taxi featuring "Angela" performed by Bob James...

As mentioned here before, I generally prefer television theme songs with lyrics/vocals, but there are definitely a handful of them that are just instrumentals which I also consider truly special. Taxi's "Angela" is another one of those special ones in my opinion.

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

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Michael Fox
Michael Fox
Apr 18, 2023

Funny thing Angela was the name of Judith Light's character in who's the boss and tony danza is driving the cab to the tune here called Angela 😁

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