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TV Theme Songs: What's Happening Now

"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 What's Happening Now. The series debuted in September of 1985 running three seasons and 66 episodes in first run syndication. What's Happening Now!! was a sequel to the original What's Happening sitcom which aired from 1976 to 1979. I watched the original series in syndication during the '80s as well. The new series followed the characters as adults with Raj, Dwayne and Rerun all returning as well as Shirley (though Fred Berry who played Rerun was let go after season 1).

What's Happening Now!! used the same awesome theme song as the original show did. The instrumental What's Happening Theme was written by the great Henry Mancini. In his career, Mancini won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Some of his earlier work includes the theme and soundtrack for the Peter Gunn television series as well as the music for The Pink Panther film series including the iconic "The Pink Panther Theme" as well as "Moon River" from the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. After What's Happening, in the '80s, Mancini also composed the theme songs for Remington Steele, Newhart, Ripley's Believe it Or Not and Hotel as well as the 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds. He even composed the "Viewer Mail" theme for Late Night with David Letterman.

Here is the opening for season1 of What's Happening Now!! featuring the theme song...

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. Henry Mancini's What's Happening 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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