Jack White Maya Rudolph Martin Short

The 5 Best TV Themes Written By Musicians

Jack White, aka the only man in the world who can pull off a fedora, has penned a theme song for Maya and Marty, a new variety show starring your faves Maya Rudolph and Martin Short. It would be an understatement to say we’re going to watch the hell out of this, but White isn’t the only contemporary artist to write a theme song for a TV show. We take a look at the five best TV themes written by musicians below.

5. Timbaland, Dog On Fire, The Daily Show

Okay, so Timbaland didn’t actually write Dog On Fire (that was Bob Mould), but he did rework it for new host Trevor Noah’s debut. It’s a fresh take on a theme that has been given new life plenty of times, but never felt quite this modern before. Timbaland arranged the track with the help of King Logan (Beyoncé, Mario), and it’s performed by none other than They Might Be Giants, who you might recognise from…

4. They Might Be Giants, Boss Of MeMalcolm In The Middle

This theme is so iconic that it won a damn Grammy. The whingey sing-song tone of frontman John Flansburgh inspired any kid who watched this show to torment their parents with the same. Sorry mum and dad, but y’know… life is unfair.

3. Jack WhiteMaya and Marty ThemeMaya and Marty

Obviously we had to include this. It’s the first time White has written for a TV show, and it seems like the man might have a gift (surprise surprise). The cut has that trademark Jack White syncopated groove we all know and love, and honestly the theme itself is just downright damn delightful. It was laid down with the help of fellow Third Man Records musicians Lillie Mae Rische, Dean Fertita, Fats Kaplin and Dominic Davis, with White himself on the drums. The show also includes Keenan Thompson and premieres in the US tonight on NBC. If you can find *some* way to watch it over here then more bloody power to you. Not that we encourage piracy…

2. Primus, South Park Theme, South Park

Primus are sort of masters of writing irreverant, quirky theme songs for cartoons aimed at adults: they’ve done it for Robot Chicken as well as South Park. It’s an extremely specific niche to fill, but god dammit, someone had to do it – and we’re glad they did.

1. Will Smith with DJ Jazzy Jeff & Quincy Jones, Yo Home To Bel Air, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Press play and you’re guaranteed to suddenly start rapping along, because if you say you don’t know every single word to this then you are a LIAR. This is the big kahuna, the pinnacle of all musician-written TV themes, and the anthem for a generation. Which is a little odd, considering we doubt many people have actually experienced the turn of events the song describes, but whatever. It’s a fire theme so everyone loves it, co-written by three absolute masters: Will Smith himself, his long-time collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the one and only Quincy Jones.

Image: Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty, Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC via Rolling Stone