WKRP In Cincinnati's Closing Theme Song

Hi Everybody: I am a regular reader of the Straight Dope but new to posting so please forgive any awkwardness that I may display here; computers and technology are not my strong points. That being said, does anybody here know the actual lyrics of the closing theme song to WKRP In Cincinnati? There are numerous sites on You Tube that claim to show them, but nobody seems to know for sure. In fact supposedly the musicians improvised the whole thing, but I assume that there must be some real words to the song. Any ideas? Also, who are the recording artists and did they ever record or compose anything else?

This will probably be moved to another forum. We have one specifically for topics like music and TV.

According to Wikipedia, the guy who composed and performed the closing theme was Jim Ellis.

Moved to Cafe Society from ATMB.

Hi, Hottius Maximus. Welcome to the Dope.
According to Wikipedia, the closing theme was written by an Atlanta musician named Jim Ellis, who also wrote incidental music for WKRP. He didn’t have any lyrics for the tune yet, so he sang a bunch of gibberish to give a feel for the song. Hugh Wilson, the series producer, decided to use it anyway, as he decided it would be a humorous commentary on the incomprehensibility of many rock lyrics. He also figured since network announcers usually talked over the closing credits, that viewers wouldn’t be able to hear the lyrics anyway.

Damn, this thread reminded me to look for the series on Netflix streaming, and it’s not available… grumble…grumble…

Hi Cochrane: Thanks for the post. I have to wonder if Jim Ellis even remembers what he sang.

Link to closing theme song, with lyrics.

A link to a different interpretation of the closing theme song, with lyrics and illustrations.

Funny that they both have almost the same interpretation of the poodle line. I always thought that the only intelligible words in the whole song were “rock ‘n’ roll” in the second line, but after seeing that transcribed as “microphone” and “whack-a-mole,” I have to admit that it actually sounds more like “racquetball.”

Ellis has a website. He’s primarily a composer and musician. He says the WKRP closing theme is his only professional credit as a singer. Composing and performing the closing theme was one of his earliest jobs. It was written to have a saxophone playing the melody. But Ellis was in the studio recording other tracks for the song and he sang gibberish lyrics to the melody as a joke. The producers like his singing and decided to use it instead of the saxophone track. Ellis doesn’t post his lyrics nor does he say whether or not he remembers them.

In contrast, we all know what was said by the lead singer on Louie, Louie, but no one really cares.

I had no idea it was purposely gibberish. I figured I just couldn’t make out the lyrics.

I don’t think they’ve settled a long outstanding dispute with the recording companies of the songs used in the episodes. I think they (WKRP) re-released season one with generic music, but the dispute for the rights remains: I believe.

Maybe not, but following the links in this thread for the end credit song, I discovered a lot of full episodes available for free at YouTube.

Whoo hoo!



Mama Carlson


The same thing happened with Northern Exposure. They released the DVDs without the original music. It was a strange experience because I remember how appropriate the music was when I originally saw it.