"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 The Dukes of Hazzard titled "Good Ol' Boys". "Just two good ol' boys, never meaning no harm..." The Dukes of Hazzard debuted in January of 1979 and ran seven seasons and 147 episodes on CBS until February of 1985. The show was created by Gy Waldron based on his 1975 movie called Moonrunners. Country singer Waylon Jennings was the narrator in Moonrunners, so he was chosen to serve in the same capacity for The Dukes of Hazzard as well as to write and sing the show's theme song.
I had the pleasure of an interview with Gy Waldron and asked him about Waylon Jennings' role in The Dukes of Hazzard:
A producer at Warner Bros. TV asked if there was any way I could re-write Moonrunners into a one-hour series action comedy. (There had never been a one-hour action comedy back then; either it was a half-hour comedy or an hour of action.) There was absolutely nothing on the air like it. I said that I would love to try. I wrote a twenty page pilot and series concept and then re-cut scenes from Moonrunners with a comedy narration by Waylon Jennings simply to give an idea of how the TV show would look and sound - including some Country music by Waylon's band. We pitched it to the network; they loved it and ordered five shows to shoot as a test and a dozen scripts as backup. I never considered anyone else [other than Waylon] for Dukes.
Narration by Waylon Jennings, credited as "The Balladeer", was always a key element of the show as was the theme song. "Good Ol' Boys" is another example of a perfect TV Theme Song both setting up the premise and tone of the show. Here are the opening credits of The Dukes of Hazzard featuring “Good Ol' Boys” performed by Waylon Jennings…
Waylon Jennings released a slightly variated version title "Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" as a single in August of 1980. In November 1980, it became Jennings' twelfth #1 country hit overall (tenth as a solo recording act) and spent 17 weeks on the Billboard country singles chart. It also had a little success on the pop charts and became Jennings' biggest hit ever on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #21. I absolutely loved The Dukes of Hazzard as a kid and I can still sing along every word of the theme song. Friday night television was awesome in the early '80s with The Incredible Hulk followed by The Dukes of Hazzard on CBS and my brother and I were there almost every week to watch them both. "Fightin' the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods... Yee-Haw!"
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!