TV Theme Songs: The Jeffersons
"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 Jeffersons titled "Movin' On Up". "Well we're movin' on up, to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky." The Jeffersons debuted in January of 1975 and ran eleven seasons and 253 episodes crossing over into the '80s (ending in 1985). The show has what has to be considered one of the most memorable theme songs of all time. That song was co-written by Ja'net DuBois and Jeff Barry and performed by DuBois herself with the backing of a 35-member gospel choir.
Jeff Barry had co-written many huge hits of the '60s including "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", "Chapel of Love", "River Deep - Mountain High", "Leader of the Pack" and "Sugar, Sugar" among many others. Later on he co-wrote some television theme songs including One Day at a Time and Family Ties in addition to The Jeffersons. Ja'net DuBois may be best remembered for her acting role on the series Good Times, another show developed by Norman Lear. It is reported that DuBois was asked to work on the theme song for The Jeffersons by Lear himself. Somewhat surprisingly, she never made an appearance as a character on the show. The theme song features so many great aspects including the joyful hand-claps and gospel choir as well as the lyrics. Who doesn't remember...
Fish don't fry in the kitchen Beans don't burn on the grill Took a whole lotta tryin' Just to get up that hill Now we're up in the big leagues Gettin' our turn at bat As long as we live It's you and me, baby There ain't nothin' wrong with that
Here are the opening credits for The Jeffersons featuring "Movin' On Up" performed by Jan'et Du'Bois...
The theme song had been re-recorded a couple times with very little variation over the course of the eleven seasons. In the original version of theme song, during the second verse on the line "Now we up in the big leagues," you can hear a male voice singing along with DuBois. That would be Oren Waters, a veteran backup singer with credits on 260 gold and over 100 platinum albums. Often alongside his siblings, Waters sang on tracks by Neil Diamond, Johnny Rivers, Patti LaBelle, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Paul Simon, Pet Shop Boys, Don Henley, John Fogerty and many others. Of particular note would have to be Michael Jackson's Thriller where he is one of the backup singers on the hit "Wanna Be Startin' Something".
Even though it started in the '70s, the series ran into the middle of the next decade, so that qualifies it as one of the best theme songs of the '80s and really all television history. "We finally got a piece of the pie."
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!