One thing I like the most about the internet is the immense volume of free down loadable MIDI music from various locations. Also, the variety of MIDI music available in the web is almost limitless. They range from classical to pop to rock music. Think of any song or music and chances are you’ll find one lurking somewhere in the web. Thanks to the musicians who took effort in arranging these music and uploading them to the Internet.
My favorites of course, are the wide selection of movie and TV themes available in MIDI format. Ever since we were little boys me and my brothers love to hum, sing or play our favorite TV or movie themes. We even played this game where one of us hum or play the theme and we guess the TV show or movie it was taken.
Most of the themes I will feature here are 1980’s classic. Maybe one reason for this is that, during my teenage years (which is in the 1990’s), they stopped making the type of shows that I came to love during my childhood days – which is the 1980’s. (I was really disappointed when they stopped airing McGyver.) Of course, they tried to revive some of the classic TV shows, like Star Trek (I lost count of the versions they have made), but I thought none could surpass the glory of the classics and I totally lost interest in the newer releases. Another reason was that, as my thinking started to mature, I became interested in shows which had more mature and intellectual themes such as L.A. Law, which has theme songs that I do not find appealing in MIDI form.
So much for the nostalgia, and let us start examining each of my featured TV themes. I realized it was hard to trim down my choices to 10. But after much consideration, I finally did it. Sorry for those who’s favorites I did not include. But then, these are my personal choices.
- Knight Rider – Need I say more?. Surely, most of us who already had consciousness before 1986 know about KITT, a highly sophisticated, autonomic car, ridden by none other than David Hasselhoff, AKA Michael Knight. In fact, the connection between Hasselhoff and this show was so impressed on me that until now, I still call him Knight Rider. The theme music was composed by Glen Larson and Stu Philips. The arrangement featured here was that of Don Peake who did the show’s music when Stu Philips left the series. This is the arrangement that I came to know about. It’s more electronic sounding (as against Philips’ symphonic style), which, I think, is a more appropriate style for the series’ hightech-ness.
- Battlestar Galactica – As a child, I was fascinated with sci-fci series. The earliest intergalactic series that I could remember was Battlestar Galactica. Although I don’t quite remember its plot, and I cannot recall any of the episodes (all I remember was the big battleship gliding through the vastness of space), its theme song, with its sonorous french horn ensemble, still reverberates in my mind. This arrangement that I downloaded, closely resembles the original theme.
- Star Trek, The Next Generation – I considered myself to be lucky being able to witness the revival of the Star Trek series on September 28, 1987. Although, I was able to watch re-runs of the original series, I didn’t quite liked it as much as Next Generation. The reason is that the new series has far better special effects. And of course, I love the majestic, marching sound of its theme song.
- Jeopardy – I love to watch game shows. Some of the many shows that I came to love are The Prize is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Name that Tune, Deal or No Deal, Family Feud, and of course Jeopardy. As a student, I used to join (and at times win) inter school quiz competitions. That’s why I came to love Jeopardy and its theme music. The theme featured here is the “Think!” music, played during the final jeopardy when the contestants write their final answer. Interestingly, it lasts for exactly 30 seconds, the time limit given to the contestants. “Think!”(written by Merv Grifin as “A Time For Tony” as a lullaby for his son Tony) was first played in 1964 when the original Jeopardy debuted (I didn’t know that Jeopardy was that old). When Jeopardy was revived in 1984, the electronic version of “Think!” was used as its theme. However, the original is still used in the Final Jeopardy round.
- Perfect Strangers – I had vague memories of the sitcoms I watched as a child, which include Different Strokes and Mork and Mindy. But not one of them were engraved in my mind as much as the antics of Balki Bartokomous and Larry Appleton in Perfect Stranger. I looked forward to every episode, and each one is sure to make your tummy ache with laughter. I felt sad when they stopped airing it in 1993. Succeeding sitcoms like Friends never quite captured my interest since Perfect Strangers ended. Equally memorable was the shows theme entitled Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now written by Jesse Frederick and Bennet Salvay, and was performed by none other than David Pomeranz. I consider it one of the most inspirational TV theme I’ve ever heard (with lyrics like: Standing tall on the wings of my dream, Rise and fall on the wings of my dream…) The voice version of the song is far superior, and better listened to than the instrumental (MIDI) version available here. But then, this MIDI version is enough to give you an idea of how melodious this song is.
- Doogie Howser M.D. – It was during my early teens when Doogie Howser was aired.(1989 – 1993) Naturally, I came to love the TV comedy-drama because it tackled teenage issues. Yes, Doogie Howser was a genius(a 16-year-old doctor), but he lives a very normal teenage life, thanks to his friend Vinnie Delpino, a typical teenager, who keeps him grounded in life outside his profession. As a young musician, I was also drawn to the show’s theme song. Interestingly, the theme song feature’s the sound of the YAMAHA DX-7 synthesizer which was popular in the mid to late 1990’s. Sadly, I was not able to find a MIDI version that closely resembles the original. Are there only few musician’s out there who are also Doogie Howser fans? (One of these days, I may publish here my own version of the Doogie Howser theme. I remembered during my high school days that I became instantly popular in my school just by performing the Doogie Howser theme.)
- The X-files – “The truth is out there”, “Trust no one”, “I wan’t to believe”. These are the slogans featured in X-files – a show that tackles paranormal phenomena, government mistrust, conspiracy theories, and the belief in extraterrestrial life. The enigmatic sound of the X Files theme song (featured here) accurately captures the show’s mysterious nature.
- MacGyver – Again, anyone who developed consciousness before 1992 (the year the show ended) knows MacGyver, a laid-back, extremely resourceful secret agent, played by Richard Dean Anderson. We are awed at how MacGyver escaped from extreme situations just by using simple and ordinary day to day things, and his most trusted swiss army knife. He was so well known at this that we sometimes say the phrase, “we macgyvered our way out of a situation”. Although most recently, the Mythbusters (another one of my favorite shows) tried to test some of MacGygers tactics and found that some, like the ultralight airplane made of bamboo, plastic bags, and concrete mixer engine, are completely untrue (but that’s another story and outside of this blog’s main theme). Along with a popular show comes a popular theme song. I still remember how the girls freaked when I performed the MacGyver Theme in my high school. Some trivia: McGyver’s first name is Angus. Teri Hatcher appeared on the show as Penny Parker. (I knew it. A quiz show was wrong when it said that Hatcher’s first appearance in TV was in Lois and Clark).
- The Simpson’s – As a child I loved cartoons. But when I stepped into teenage life and started outgrowing my interest in them, The Simpsons came into the scene. It was a new breed of animated show, tackling mostly more mature issues, not typical for cartoons. It was the first adult-oriented animated sitcoms. Needless to say, the Simpsons became so popular, that it is by now the longest running American sitcom, and longest-running American animated program. Its main theme song is equally interesting. Did you notice that Liza’s saxophone solo (aside from Bart’s blackboard lines, and the sofa scene) is different from show to show? Another trivia: Did you know that Homer’s annoyed grunt “D’oh!” has been adopted into the English lexicon?
- Mission Impossible – Last on my list, but definitely not the least, is the Mission Impossible Theme song. It was composed by Lalo Schrifrin. The version featured here was from the 1966 show. It was given a fresh and modern arrangement when the show was revived in 1988. The film version of the Mission Impossible theme has an even more powerful arrangement. So while Mission Impossible series as well as the films (although I didn’t like how they messed up the IMF team) became very successful, so thus it’s theme song which is widely considered to be one of the most iconic television themes of all time.
So that concludes my list of my 10 best TV MIDI themes. I hope you enjoyed downloading these music and bring fond memories of the past.