"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 Hogan Family titled "Together Through the Years". "Life is such a sweet insanity. The more you learn, the less you know." The Hogan Family ran for six seasons from 1986 to 1991 though the series name changed from Valerie (after the original star Valerie Harper) to Valerie’s Family: The Hogans (after Harper left and was replaced by Sandy Duncan) to The Hogan Family for the final three seasons. In addition to featuring Valerie Harper at first and then Sandy Duncan, the show is also notable for starring Jason Bateman as the oldest brother for the entire run.
The theme song was sung by multi-Grammy winning artist Roberta Flack. "Together Through the Years" was written by Charles Fox and Stephen Geyer. Charles Fox had written theme music for many memorable TV theme songs including The Love Boat, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, ABC's Wide World of Sports and the original Monday Night Football theme among many others. Fox also co-wrote the song "Killing Me Softly With His Song" which was his connection to Roberta Flack who had released it back in 1973. Stephen Geyer had worked quite a bit with Mike Post and co-wrote "Believe It Or Not" the theme to The Greatest American Hero among other work. Whether the show was called Valerie or The Hogan Family, it is another one of the great TV theme songs from the '80s and features that great lyric "The more you learn, the less you know." Here are the opening credits for each season of the show all featuring “Together Through The Years” performed by Roberta Flack…
I had the pleasure of an interview with co-writer Stephen Geyer and here is what he had to say about creating "Together Through the Years":
The song was written specifically for the show and with Roberta Flack in mind as the singer. This was a joy for me, as I had been a big fan of Ms. Flack’s and loved her rendition of Charles’ and Norman Gimble’s song, “Killing Me Softly.” I was also honored to have gotten the call to work with Charles, whose reputation and work throughout the music industry was well known to me by then. My main recollection of “Together Through The Years” is of meeting both Valerie Harper and Roberta Flack in the studio on the day the track was recorded. They were both extremely forthcoming in their praise for my contribution to the song, and Ms. Flack was very keen on turning the song into a single, as were we all. Unfortunately, though understandably, that didn’t work out. But I still have a copy of the lead sheet with everyone’s signatures and well wishes on it, like a page from a high school year book. Good times.
You can find out more about Geyer's other work in that interview if interested. He really had an incredible talent for writing these theme songs and it doesn't hurt when you get someone like Roberta Flack to sing them for you. "Step by step and day by day. Reaching out along the way. Hand in hand, we face our fears. Together through the years."
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!