TV Theme Songs: The Love Boat
"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 Love Boat aptly titled "Love Boat Theme". "Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. we're expecting you." The Love Boat debuted in September of 1977 and ran nine seasons and 250 episodes (plus five specials) crossing over into the '80s on ABC. The cruise ship featured the same Captain and crew each episode, but welcomed new celebrity guests to play passengers setting their course for adventure and their minds on a new romance each week. The theme song has to be considered one of the most iconic and well-recognized TV Theme Songs of all time.
The Love Boat theme song was composed by Charles Fox who co-wrote the 1973 Roberta Flack hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song". Fox also composed the themes to several other memorable TV Theme Songs including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Wonder Woman, Love American Style and the original Monday Night Football theme among others. The lyrics were written by Paul Williams who is a successful songwriter in his own right. Williams wrote several '70s hits including Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song" as well as the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays". He also wrote Kermit the Frog's amazing song "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie as well as the lyrics to Barbra Streisand's chart-topping song "Evergreen" from the film A Star Is Born (for which he won a Grammy for Song of the Year and an Academy Award for Best Original Song).
Based on the late '70s debut, it is not surprising that Charles Fox gave the theme a disco beat. Producers chose Jack Jones, a singer with several '60s hits, to sing the "Love Boat Theme". His "lounge singer" voice over that beat was perfect to make you feel like you were enjoying a drink on the Lido Deck or a dance on the Riviera Deck of the Pacific Princess. The Jack Jones rendition remained the theme song for the first eight seasons of the show and an extended version was even released as a single in 1979. That single actually made it on to the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart peaking at #37 in February of 1980. Dionne Warwick then recorded a version of the "Love Boat Theme" which was used for the final season in 1985-86, but the Jack Jones version is the song that most people remember best. Here are the opening credits from an episode of The Love Boat featuring “Love Boat” performed by Jack Jones…
What a memorable TV Theme Song, but who would have thought the show would have such longevity? Paul Williams himself was quoted saying, "We honestly didn't think it was going to last 6 weeks. We thought, who's going to watch a series about a cruise ship?" For its first seven years, The Love Boat was very popular in the ratings. During that time, it consistently ranked among the top 20 shows on television. Some years it even made the top 10 and for the 1980–81 season it ranked as the fifth most-watched in primetime. Each week millions of viewers tuned in and were greeted by that awesome TV Theme Song. I also remember it fondly when Rip Torn's "Scully" sings it with John Candy in the 1985 film Summer Rental. "Love, life's sweetest reward. Let it flow, it floats back to you."
Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!