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  #1  
Old 05-11-2005, 01:35 PM
Meeko Meeko is offline
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Most Memorable Riffs

I'm pretty sure a "Riff" is what I am after. You know, a 5 second or so clip of MUSIC you have engrained in your head. What are your favorite / most memorable riffs and why?

1. The Law and order "Doink doink"

Gets a Head Bolting turn from me every time I hear it. If it plays about 12 times per episode, and you get 4 episodes a week....

2. The Nickelodeon "Theme"

This is more or less Nick's Audio Logo the first part (and most common) is just 8 notes, and gets a LOT of air play on Nick self-promotional spots. The longer version has 6 additional notes that commplement the original 8 perfectly.
You know its ""THAT"" piece of nickelodeon music.

3. Pitfall! rope swing music. The piece of music that would play when Harry would grab the rope in the Classic Atari game. For me this will always mean "Atari".

4.Numerous Riffs that span the Zelda Mythology. Hard to pick just one from here. Its any piece that needs to be played just long enough to let you know that it is a Zelda game.

5.Arkanoid Vaus Ship start. Each time a Level starts, or another Vaus ship (The Paddle) enters play, the piece of music provided. I just love Arkanoid. Breakout may have been the first, but as Cugnot's Fardier made way for Ford's Model T, Arkanoid remains the best Brick-break game.
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2005, 02:01 PM
CandidGamera CandidGamera is offline
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From Zelda : The "I found something" tune.

From 'You Can Call Me Al' by Paul Simon - the Trumpet riff. You know the one.

Similarly, War's 'Low Rider' has a repeated memorable trumpet riff.

I like trumpets.
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2005, 02:09 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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The opening to Layla

The opening to Purple Haze

The opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

"Hallelujah" from Handel's Messiah

The 10-note leadup to the cannon fire from the 1812 Overture

The 8-note opening of the Star Trek theme.
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  #4  
Old 05-11-2005, 02:18 PM
Tracy Lord Tracy Lord is offline
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The opening guitar riff of "Day Tripper".
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2005, 02:41 PM
Labdad Labdad is offline
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The opening riff to "(I Can't No) Satisfaction."
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2005, 02:44 PM
Genghis Bob Genghis Bob is offline
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The bass opening to the Barney Miller show theme.

Yep - I'm that old.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2005, 03:13 PM
dotchan dotchan is offline
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The Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare
The Metroid Item Pickup Fanfare
The Megaman/Megaman X Post-Level Select Fanfare (when the robot master/maverick poses dramatically and that music plays)

Who, me, play too much video games?
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2005, 09:27 PM
Mr. Blue Sky Mr. Blue Sky is offline
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Opening guitar riff of "Smoke on the Water" and "Iron Man".
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2005, 10:02 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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One that's going through my mind right now is the opening to the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'?"
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2005, 10:14 PM
Khan Khan is offline
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The first few notes of the Super Mario Brothers theme. I agree that Zelda and Megaman should be on the list, without a doubt, but Mario paved the way. As such it should be on there before either of those two. All the same, I agree with the inclusion of every single bit from classic Nintendo mentioned so far.

The first few measures of the Star Wars title theme, we can't forget that.
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  #11  
Old 05-12-2005, 10:19 PM
sulamith sulamith is offline
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The most memorable guitar riff ever, of course, Sweet Home Alabama, as over-played as it is.

And the opening riff to Edge of 17 by La Nicks, which was bastardized recently by Beyonce & Co. as the dreaded Bootylicious.

Oh, and No Rain by Blind Melon
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  #12  
Old 05-12-2005, 10:39 PM
want2know want2know is offline
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Johnny Marr's riff from The Smiths' "How Soon is Now?"--ripped off in the 90's in a song called "Hippie Chick".
The opening guitar riff from "Train in Vain" by The Clash.
Mason Williams' "Classical Gas"
AND, to expand it past guitars, how about the opening keyboard sequence from "Baba O'Riley"?
Lynyrd WHO?
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  #13  
Old 05-12-2005, 10:41 PM
Rufus Xavier Rufus Xavier is offline
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The one I've got stuck in my head right now is the opening riff to Steely Dan's Reelin' In the Years. Man that's smokin'.
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2005, 11:48 PM
Oslo Ostragoth Oslo Ostragoth is offline
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Great thread. My meager contribution is that I can be transported in time and space by many, many riffs in about 1.7 seconds.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2005, 09:20 AM
Spiff Spiff is offline
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If a Clash riff is to be mentioned, want2know, I'd nominatre the opening riff of "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" instead of "Train in Vain" (which everyone always thinks is called "Stand by Me" BTW).

Especially now since the SISOSIG riff is featured in a heavy rotation Pontiac commercial here in the States.

D-D-D-D-G-G-G-G-D

Pure rock 'n' roll.
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2005, 09:25 AM
fishbicycle fishbicycle is offline
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The opening of The Beatles' "I Dig A Pony" is a great riff!

Also, The Stones' "Brown Sugar", Rare Earth's "I Just Want To Celebrate" and The Five Man Electrical Band's "Julianna" are built on amazing riffs.
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  #17  
Old 05-13-2005, 01:08 PM
wolf_meister wolf_meister is offline
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Even though it is being overused in a TV commercial, the Yardbirds' "Over Under Sideways Down" is a good one.

"Crazy On You" by Heart.
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  #18  
Old 05-13-2005, 03:10 PM
Madd Maxx Madd Maxx is offline
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"Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie, or if you are too young to remember that you will probably recognize it as "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice.

I'm sure you all hate me now. My job here is done, and I'm going home.
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  #19  
Old 05-13-2005, 04:54 PM
AThingWithFeathers AThingWithFeathers is offline
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Play That Funky Music White Boy, obviously. And My Girl, those are the only two I can actually play. I can recognize the riff to Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl pretty wuickly, but I don't know if the song counts as memorable. Enter the Sandman is legendary as well.
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  #20  
Old 05-13-2005, 05:15 PM
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How about the opening riff to Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman"?
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  #21  
Old 05-13-2005, 05:16 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Also, the opening riff of "Wild Thing" by The Trogs.
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  #22  
Old 05-13-2005, 09:43 PM
Mr. Blue Sky Mr. Blue Sky is offline
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The killer synth riff from Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio".
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  #23  
Old 05-13-2005, 11:06 PM
Dark Side of the Floyd Dark Side of the Floyd is offline
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The 'Floyd's "Money" and that theme song from Perry Mason.
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  #24  
Old 05-13-2005, 11:16 PM
Antivenin Antivenin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiff
If a Clash riff is to be mentioned, want2know, I'd nominatre the opening riff of "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" instead of "Train in Vain" (which everyone always thinks is called "Stand by Me" BTW).

Especially now since the SISOSIG riff is featured in a heavy rotation Pontiac commercial here in the States.

D-D-D-D-G-G-G-G-D

Pure rock 'n' roll.
I SISOSIG--I came of age in the 80s. However, my parents were rockers, so I have to include In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby. of ye ol' Iron Butterfly, and, of course, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry.

Also love Gimme Three Steps and Things Goin' On by Lynyrd Synyrd, oh yeah, Ballad of Curtis Lowe (somehow that title doesn't sound right, but ya know what I mean)

Great thread
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  #25  
Old 05-14-2005, 09:09 AM
John Carter of Mars John Carter of Mars is offline
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Originally Posted by Antivenin
.... and, of course, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry.
Yeah, THAT one!
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  #26  
Old 05-14-2005, 09:32 AM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
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Opening to Dragnet Theme: dumm da dum dum...dumm da dum dum DUMM!

Jaws : duh dum....duh dum.....dumdumdumdumDUMDUMDUMDUM....AAAGHHH!

Star Wars Theme: duh duh DUHH DAHH duhduhduh DAHH DAHH duhduhduh DAHH DAHH DUHDUHDUH DAHHHH!

Superman Theme: Bah dahdah dah dahhh bah dah dahh bah dahdah dah dahhh DAH DAHDAHHHH!

(tip o' the hat to that ripoff artist John Williams)

That slap-base synth riff from "Seinfeld"

Rockford Files(!!): (buhduh da DUM) bweeedee dededeee dede dede dee deee deee (buhduh da DUM) bweeedee de de deee de de deee...oh, you know how it goes. Probably the most memorable analog synth riff of all time.

Gawd, the earworms!!!
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  #27  
Old 05-14-2005, 10:38 AM
SlyFrog SlyFrog is offline
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I know it's here already, but as soon as I read this thread title "Purple Haze's" riff popped into my head.
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  #28  
Old 05-14-2005, 02:11 PM
want2know want2know is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiff
If a Clash riff is to be mentioned, want2know, I'd nominatre the opening riff of "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" instead of "Train in Vain" (which everyone always thinks is called "Stand by Me" BTW).

Especially now since the SISOSIG riff is featured in a heavy rotation Pontiac commercial here in the States.

D-D-D-D-G-G-G-G-D

Pure rock 'n' roll.
While I agree that SISOSIG is a great riff, I purposely didn't mention it because of the aforementioned ads. While I have nothing per se against popular music being used in ads, hearing it day after day kinda takes away a good riff's charm.
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  #29  
Old 05-14-2005, 02:26 PM
Gail Gail is offline
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Here's an obscure one that came to me...."Tales of Brave Ulysses" by Cream.

Waaaow Waaow Wah uh Waaow......

Also "My Sharona" by the Knack

"Mainline Florida" by Eric Clapton
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  #30  
Old 05-14-2005, 03:02 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Dah, dah, DAAAAAHHHH. Dah, dah, DAAAAH DAAAAAAAHHHH. Dah, dah, DAAAAHHHH. DAAAAAHHHHH da da. Probably the easiest riff to write down as humming. And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is nor even if it's been mentioned yet, but it's the first thing that popped into my head.
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  #31  
Old 05-14-2005, 07:38 PM
Made in Macau Made in Macau is offline
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Stupidly Happy by XTC.
On writing it, Andy Partridge repeatedly played it to friends asking which Stones song he had nicked it from only to repeatedly be told that he hadn't.
I love XTC and paid homage to it in my song 'I'll Be Your Dog'. Seek and ye shall find.

MiM
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  #32  
Old 05-14-2005, 08:14 PM
Oregon sunshine Oregon sunshine is offline
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"Here comes the bride"!
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  #33  
Old 05-14-2005, 09:24 PM
feppytweed feppytweed is offline
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Rocky...and Indiana Jones themes.
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  #34  
Old 05-14-2005, 10:33 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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I'm not a big Led Zeppelin fan, but how about Heartbreaker?
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  #35  
Old 05-15-2005, 01:51 AM
rjung rjung is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
The first few notes of the Super Mario Brothers theme. I agree that Zelda and Megaman should be on the list, without a doubt, but Mario paved the way.
Pah. The Pac-Man startup tune preceded Mario easily.

Though the mushroom power-up sound from SMB, now there's a worthy video-game riff.
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  #36  
Old 05-15-2005, 05:34 AM
A qui profite le crime? A qui profite le crime? is offline
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I second Black Sabbath's Iron Man.

One of my personnal favorites is Judas Priest's Breaking the Law. One of the most recognizable riffs I've ever heard.
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  #37  
Old 05-15-2005, 09:40 AM
Caricci Caricci is offline
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That riff in Sympathy for the Devil is pretty cool and pretty memorable.
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  #38  
Old 05-20-2005, 06:08 AM
Rilchiam Rilchiam is offline
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The Imperial March, from Star Wars.

The opening of the X-Files theme.

The organ riff from "Light My Fire".

The guitar lead-in to "I Want To Hold Your Hand".
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  #39  
Old 05-20-2005, 09:41 AM
Small Clanger Small Clanger is offline
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There seems to be some confusion here about what a riff is. Anyway my candidates:

Whole Lotta Love. Am I really the first person to name this?

The Peter Gunn theme. Even if you've never seem the show (and who has) you do know this one.

The into of Tubular Bells

TV themes:

Mission Impossible. (not the f**ked up film version).

Stingray.

Any CSI.

Doctor Who

Roobarb

Loopydude I love the Rockford Files but that's more of a tune than a riff innit?

I refuse to mention Bob the Builder, oh, oops.
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  #40  
Old 05-20-2005, 12:33 PM
TheBoneyKingofNowhere TheBoneyKingofNowhere is offline
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How about Sportscenter's "DA-da-DA! DA-da-DA!"

anybody with me on this one?
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  #41  
Old 05-20-2005, 12:58 PM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Small Clanger
Loopydude I love the Rockford Files but that's more of a tune than a riff innit?
Yeah, you're probably right.

Another nominee:

The bass riff from "Got To Be Real" by Cheryl Lynn. Bum buh-bum buhDUH bum bum budumm bum (repeat endlessly).

Not a big disco fan, but that one I love to play.
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  #42  
Old 05-20-2005, 01:23 PM
Kythereia Kythereia is offline
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Not so much memorable as an earworm, I think, but sing the old Spiderman tune to yourself and you'll find yourself humming it all day long. Not kidding, I'm serious.

Has anyone said the opening to "Hockey Night in Canada"?
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  #43  
Old 05-20-2005, 04:07 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Wait, "O Fortuna" is too long to be a riff....

That bit of "When Doves Cry" that MC Hammer right royally offended me by sampling in "Pray."
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  #44  
Old 05-20-2005, 04:13 PM
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Speaking of MC Hammer, how about the riff from "Superfreak" by Rick James. ("Can't Touch This")

And speaking of stolen riffs, how about the riff from "Under Pressure." ("Ice, Ice, Baby")
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  #45  
Old 05-20-2005, 04:17 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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The opening riff to "Rockin' Down the Highway"/"China Grove".
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  #46  
Old 05-20-2005, 05:52 PM
Millit the Frail Millit the Frail is offline
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Everybody knows and recognizes the guitar riff from "Sweet Child O' Mine." Wa-nanana wow wow! Wa-nanana wow wow!
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  #47  
Old 05-30-2005, 04:44 AM
PETERFI PETERFI is offline
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Riff's vs. Songhead

To me this splits into two categories:

Favorite Riff's:

That is bars, sections or whole songs that just make you thrill with an-tici-pa-tion every time you here them begin. and,

Song-headers:

Those innoccuous and not so innoccuous tunes, often but not exclusively children's songs that are so deeply ingrained that, once they start on auto-play in your head, you can't get them out no matter how hard you try! (Spelling CHcecking services provided by Busjh Spelld 2000, verdon 2.0 Copuwrgit 2004)

I think you meant only the former, and probably true riffs, which are just sections of songs, but I will answer as I will there, and will conclude with a bit of the latter, just to get them off my chest. If I'm wrong, oh well, merrilly I go along.....

My favorite, oddly, is the Johnny Quest Theme Song. For a cartoon that highly orchestrated rumble rumble beat beat with horns and swelling creshendo's of danger has to rank as one of the all time great TV theme songs - of course a few extra production values may have been added as this was essentially network T.V.'s first attempt at a Prime Time TV adventure cartoon series and so they wanted the Johnny Quest Theme Song to be competative with other songs. It also had two mood changes, and the excitement of underscoring, if you will excuse the pun scenes of excitment like shooting giant eight-ball like creatures on spider legs, Johnny, Hadji, Dr. Quest, Frank Bannon and the Dog fling around in floaters and that sort of thing (O.K. I was 9, OK?).

For those interested, this Interview with Johnny Quest Theme Composer Hoyt Curtin is well worth the read. Curtain was Hanna-Barbera's chief composer in the glory years and did most of the composing so if you have a favorite tune Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, even the Smurf's, Hoyt is probably your guy.

Of course The Batman TV theme is seminal. So much so that I hardly need find a link to it. Just to spell out Da da da da da da da da, should be enough for anyone who remembers it to go back in time. Again, we have the benefit of an actual talent, Nelson Riddle as composer, who went on, Riddle me this if I am wrong, to work with many stars, but especially the Queen of the Blue Bayou, Linda Rhonstat.

Batman, btw, is back on every night in Chicago, two episodes a night between 6 and 7pm on channel 23 and I think also late in the evening on Channel 26. For those who missed the kitch, double entendre's and wacky humor in the first days of color TV, where they did their best to use EVERY color possible just because they could, you should check it out if you have time.

Who could resist the Scarecrow & Mrs. King Theme song, Kate Jackson with guns nonwithstanding. Again heavily orchestrated to fit the Washington DC setting, but even if the episode was to be a dud, which they weren't until Kate was battling cancer and had to be moved to the background of every episode so low was her energy, the opening was worth turning the dial to it was enjoyable enough to hear.

Then, as openings go, switching now to my teens, the driving opening of Taking Care of Business by BTO is an immediate starter. And what about the driving first bars of Alice Cooper's da-da-dah da-da=dah da-da-da-da Schooools Out For Summer now that was an anthem.

Yes, the delicate openings of Wonderboy, that tease you gently into a rock Frenzy of Excitement have recently entered my consciousness - no its no Mrs. Robinson but then this isn't the 60's.

Speaking of seminal themes, The Brazilian/English versions of The Girl From Ipanema have a way of salza-ing into your subconscious at night and dancing the night away. Its a very good idea not to have too good an image in mind if you want to get any sleep. Cause she doesn't care - she just doesn't caaaare.

For me, as a singer, Mack the Knife has one of those special meanings, because I like to go to karaoke land, take Bobby D's version, and in the small ways possible given the limits of karoke technology, bring back some of the dark grit that Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill intended in the Threepenny Opera's opening from which it comes, while adding some Jazz riffs to it that Bobby didn't. I don't add it all back. Today's date night musical audiences just don't want to know that maybe Macheath raped Jennie diver ("Wonder what got into her...). But boy that song has a lilt.

Speaking of murders - Sondheim is the king of Riffs. I suppose by going outside of Rock I am cheating but check out: Joanna, Pretty Women, These Are My Friends and No One's Gonna Harm You from Sweeney Todd for examples of achingly beautiful songs in the midst of horror, perhaps made more beautiful because of it.

Closer to Fine - by The Indigo Girls
Do You Feel Like I Do - Peter Frampton
On Broadway and Masquerade by George Benson
Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers by Jerry Jeff Walker
Sweet Home Alabama by LS
Psychadelic Shack by the Temptations
Skater 'Boi by Avril
Sugar Mountain - Neil Young
Impossible Dream - Me
Virtue - Molly & The Tinker
Chicago IX - Most of the Album especially 25 or 6 to 4 and Color my World
Chicago - Dialoges part I & II especially how it merges into "We can make it happen, yeah, we can make it happen" The 70's - had to be there.

Well those are a few of them. The problem with being a songhead such as myself is that the iHead never quite stops once I get it going.

The Dreaded Songhead Songs

I really ought no to do this. It's very naughty. For some the very mention of these songs will have them rollng around in their heads for hours and hours and hours. The worst part is, you don't have to know the words, just the music to have the song rolling around in there for hours, and hours and hours.

BRA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

The Barney Song
I love you - you love me - we're a......

[B]The Band Aid Song[/B]
I am Stuck on Band Aids and Band Aids Are Stuck on Me(2x)

[COLOR=Dark Orange]The Song That Never Ends[/COLOR]
(Shari Lewis, Lamb Chop and Charley Horse)


This is the song that never ends
yes it goes on and on my friend
some people started singing it
not knowing what it was
but we'll continue singing it forever just because
this is the song that never ends
yes it goes on and on my friends.... (ad infinitum)

Sesame Street
Sunny Day, Sweeping the clouds away...

Zoom
We're gonna zooma zooma zooma zoom
We're gonna zooma zooma zooma zoom
come on give us a try.....

Thomas the Tank Engine
He's a very useful engine you know...

Little People (Arron Neville - shame, shame, shame)
Little people, with little hands
little people, who can't understand
little people, they're stuck on tv
Little people songs makes us crazy

Announcer:"In this episode Eddie accidentally jumps up and gets caught in a cloud
and our children learn incorrect rules of physics that will take years to correct."


But by the end of the tape, every toy in the Little People line will be in the Parade to thank Walter and his friend for fixing all of the little people wheels!

The United Airlines Theme Song
Copeland is beautiful, but if you know it, once it starts, you are stuck with it to the end. Though all in all, better to be stuck with this than Barney.

√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
√ Check it to Cash!
Not a song but one of the single most annoying commercials in TV history, making Timmy the TV Ford Boy ("Extra Extra Read All About It") Seem like a sweet and endearing youth.

The Jeopardy Theme Song
Fun at first, but if it takes hold of you it doesn't let go.....

I'm a little Teapot Short and Stout THIS is My Handle THIS is My Spout
Does not help if you have a toddler around singing it constantly WITH the motions .

I saw MOMMIE kissing SANTA CLAUS underneath the CHRISTMAS tree last NIGHT
what a LAUGH IT WOULD have BEAN if daddy had only SEEEN, Mommy KISSSING
Sandy CLAWS Last NIIIIIIGHT


Thank you Annie Mc. for the memory from when you were 4 or 5 and sang that over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until I can never ever forget it as long as I live.

At least you had a nice voice.


Well that's enough torture for all concerned.


Click on my link below for some recovery humor.

Peter, The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Fun
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  #48  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:21 AM
Labtrash Labtrash is online now
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AC/DC has a few

Highway to Hell

You Shook Me

Hells Bells (not so much the riff as the bells)

For Those About to Rock
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  #49  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:29 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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The Rydells, "Dirty Water"

The Muppet Shpw, "Mahna Mahna"

Chocolate, "Mayonesa" (the trumpet riff). It's a Uruguayan cumbia band popular throughout Latin America about two years ago.
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  #50  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:32 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Peter Files
The United Airlines Theme Song

Copeland is beautiful...


Gershwin?
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