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Some of the best TV themes are songs that existed before a show premiered. The best TV themes are the ones that set the tone for a show. They paint that picture of the world in which a show takes place and help transport you there alongside the characters.

In the history of television, there have truly been countless memorable theme songs that are just as important as the shows themselves. Here’s a look at ten great existing songs used as TV themes.

  • "Superhero" - 'Entourage'

    Few shows captured the energy of the aughts quite like HBO’s Entourage. Even fewer shows can say that Jane’s Addiction — one of the coolest, most influential bands of all time — helped set the tone for their show with a song like “Superhero.”

  • "Forever Young" - 'Parenthood'

    Before This is Us and the Pearsons, there was Parenthood and the Bravermans, an equally emotional rollercoaster of a family. Dylan’s “Forever Young” often brought some much-needed levity to the show.

  • "A Little Help From My Friends" - 'The Wonder Years'

    Between the iconic Joe Cocker cover and the home video imagery, this might be one of the best opening title sequences in TV history. It’s hard not to feel the tug on the heartstrings with this one.

  • "My Life" - 'Bosom Buddies'

    Who could forget about Bosom Buddies?! Not only was it Tom Hanks’ first big acting gig, but it also featured Billy Joel’s “My Life” as the theme. Like Hanks, The Piano Man was just dying for his big break in 1980. (Kidding, of course!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UI_JwF3cnA

  • "Bad Reputation" - 'Freaks & Geeks'

    A cult classic that was criminally canceled after one season, Joan Jett & the Blackheart’s “Bad Reputation” helped set the tone for this coming-of-age series. Just looking at the opening credits and seeing this young cast of future stars is really incredible.

  • "Love and Marriage" - 'Married...with Children'

    This is probably the best example of a TV theme song/TV series juxtaposition. For that, we say, “Whoa, Bundy!”

  • "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" - 'Chuck'

    A spy romp that also highlights a classic tune from Cake? Oh yeah, this had “cult classic” written all over it from day one.

  • "Boss of Me" - 'Malcolm in the Middle'

    A sort of Married…with Children for the new millennium, Malcolm in the Middle has quite the earworm of a theme song with this tune from They Might Be Giants. Plus, any excuse to shout out the show that really gave the world the first major look at Bryan Cranston is a great excuse.

  • "C'mon C'mon" - 'Rescue Me'

    A tense show needs a tense theme song. Rescue Me was about New York City firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11. While the show had plenty of humorous moments, the underlying PTSD theme is perfectly soundtracked by this song from The Von Bondies.

  • "Woke Up This Morning" - 'The Sopranos'

    It’s only fitting that one of the greatest, most-beloved TV shows of all time has an utter banger of a theme song. Alabama 3 may still be a cult band, but we sincerely hope they’re still collecting solid residuals off of this song for its use as the theme for The Sopranos.

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