Required Listenings Top 5: Favorite Game Show Themes

(Ed. Note: This is both the first of a 3-part series on game shows that will continue Wednesday with my Top 5 Favorite Game Show Hosts and conclude next Wednesday with the Top 5 Most Important Game Shows of All Time, and what I think is the 7 billionth post I’ve done on the topic of TV theme songs.)

As always with these posts, we begin with the standard introduction:

As a fervent viewer of television, one thing  I love to discuss is the TV theme songs. A great show can be made better (or sometimes worse) because of a great theme. This is still true with theme music for game shows – which may have an even more indelible mark than themes from scripted television. It can not only set the tone for that show, it can also be an exemplar for the genre. Here are my 5 favorites:

5. Pyramid (composed by Bob Cobert)

It’s not a terribly well-known theme, but it gets the job done – it’s clean, and somewhat regal, much like Dick Clark himself. (Oh, and here it is on piano.)

 

4. Match Game (composed by Bob Israel)

 

Every time I hear this one I think of Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly and, oddly enough, Gene Rayburn dancing goofily. That last one I can’t explain. (And here this one is on piano.)

 

3. Card Sharks (composed by Edd Kalehoff)

 

Kind of the “wild card” of this Top 5 (pun definitely intended), I’m not sure why I like it so much. I only got into watching Card Sharks, much like Match Game, in the late-morning block of shows on the Game Show Network a few summers ago. I think it’s the clapping in the background at the beginning.

 

These final two are the true front-runners – the ones people immediately remember when they think game show themes, the ones people here the most at sporting arenas across the country. Here they are:

2. The Price Is Right (composed by Edd Kalehoff)

The first thing I think when I hear this theme is Bob Barker and the phrase “Come on Down!” Even though Bob stepped down as host of the show four years ago. (Sorry Drew.)

1. Jeopardy! “Think Music” (composed by Merv Griffin)

I’m pretty sure that the “Think Music” is not just an exemplar of game show themes, but a symbol representing  human thought (right up there with the lightbulb above the head). When there’s a conference at the mound with the pitching coach and fans are waiting on it to end, or there’s a replay challenge at a football or hockey game, we hear the “Think Music,” which – bit of trivia – was composed by show creator Merv Griffin as a lullaby for his son. (And here it is on Radio City Music Hall’s organ during Celebrity Jeopardy week a few years back.)

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