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TV Theme Songs: WKRP in Cincinnati

"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 WKRP in Cincinnati aptly titled "WKRP in Cincinnati Main Theme". "Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me." WKRP in Cincinnati debuted in September of 1978 and ran four seasons and 90 episodes crossing into the '80s on CBS. It was a very funny show with an outstanding cast that was also critically acclaimed receiving Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series in three of its four seasons, but ratings were never where they deserved to be which led to cancellation in 1982. Interesting to note that when WKRP went into syndication, it became an unexpected success and, for at least the next decade, it was one of the most popular sitcoms in syndication.

The opening theme was composed by Tom Wells with lyrics by series creator Hugh Wilson. The song had a soft rock feel and was performed by Steve Carlisle. An urban legend circulated at the time that Richard Sanders (who played the character "Les Nessman" on the show) was actually the one singing the theme song, but that has been refuted by all involved. An extended version of the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song was released in 1979 as a single and did receive some radio airplay during the show's run. It peaked at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 and reached #29 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1982. Anytime a TV Theme Song can crack the pop charts, that's an impressive accomplishment. It is another of my very favorites of all-time and just makes me feel good every time I hear it. Here are the opening credits of WKRP in Cincinnati featuring “WKRP in Cincinnati Main Theme” performed by Steve Carlisle…

In 1982, Carlisle actually released an album called Steve Carlisle sings WKRP in Cincinnati which contained ten songs including this theme, but did not have much success beyond the theme song. I watch the episode from season one titled "Turkeys Away" every Thanksgiving as a tradition and it cracks me up each and every year, but the rest of the series is very entertaining as well. "Maybe you and me were never meant to be. Just maybe think of me once in awhile. I’m at WKRP in Cincinnati."

Hope you enjoyed tuning in for another "episode" of TV Theme Songs!


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Photog Smurf
Photog Smurf
Mar 22, 2021

A friend of mine claims this theme as one of his all-time favorite songs. He sometimes performs in coffee shops and the like, and he ends his gigs with this tune.

I enjoyed this show while it was in syndication in the '80s. I always thought I was more attracted to Loni Anderson's character as a kid, but as an adult, I find I prefer Bailey since she has far more depth.

I always enjoyed the back and forth between Les and Herb.


Steve Savicki
Steve Savicki
Mar 21, 2021

Ah yes, I did one video on a TV theme song: My first from an animation series, this is a non-fictional version. I thought it would be fun to remember what real wheels and vehicles were during those years. I use plural because I had already made a 1985 video for cars. Fearing I would run out of pics focusing on just one year, I decided to remember the whole run: 1. Some sites say ’85 was the release of the toy, others indicate the year before. 2. With December 16, 1985 being the original last episode date, the shelved movie for animation, if it had taken place, would have obviously at least entered the next year. The…

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