Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Top Ten 80s Cartoon Theme Songs

Music is incredibly important to me. I hear it in my head on a near constant basis, which weirds some people out because I will be dancing to literally no music they can hear. A lot of what I love about music was influenced heavily by my first experiences as a child, which were Abba songs, heavy metal, and the sickest synth beats the 80s could offer. Yes, I did say Abba. Seriously, I like their music so much as a child that I distinctly remember my entire family arguing that I must like them simply because of the two female members. Here's a little secret: no, I just really liked the songs. I still like the songs. I will dance to Dancing Queen until entropy envelops all things. I even discovered a band I like because they did a cover of that song.

With a bit of rock music, everything is fine.

But we're not here to talk about how much I love Swedish pop from the 70s that still got played in the 80s and 90s, we're here to talk cartoons. Specifically, 80s cartoons and their many amazing theme songs which captured our attentions and ears, pulling us into the show via catchy hooks and great beats. Why the 80s and not just the top ten cartoon theme songs period? Well, probably because I grew up in the 80s and 90s, meaning my earliest memories of music often go back to the cartoons of the 1980s. The songs from the shows I watched back then had a major impact on my taste in music, to the point where I can actually trace my current musical tastes back to them quite easily. Now, before we dive into the list remember: these are my personal choices. If you don't like my choices, feel free to make your own list. You came here to see my choices and that's what you're gonna get. Also, despite my love for it, The Real Ghostbusters will not show up on the list because it's song is from a movie first. Sorry, but that's the way it goes. Oh, and the links to the songs are available by clicking on the name of the show, so feel free to give them a proper listen. So, let's do this!

Solving a mystery is fine, but I'm fairly certain rewriting history could cause a time paradox.
#10, DuckTales

Oh, here come the angry e-mails... Look, there's a very valid reason why this classic theme is coming in at the bottom. This song drills into your head so infectiously that it is almost impossible to escape and it's almost unfair to hold any other song up against it because of that. But, I also cannot deny that it is a great theme song and does belong on this list above many others. Rather than excise it from the list entirely, I made the decision to put it here so other songs could get a fair shake.

Which is cooler? A dinosaur with pink shades and opposable thumbs or one who won't murder you?
 #9, Denver: The Last Dinosaur

This show is one I cannot deny was incredibly silly, both in concept and execution. It's teenage guys befriending a baby dinosaur who acts like a more believable 80s teen than they do. But man, that theme song is so much fun. It sets the mood for the show perfectly, promising dinosaur shenanigans with a fun scale-covered buddy who will not rip out your jugular. What's not to love about that? Sure, I wouldn't have minded him killing some of the douches they ultimately had to deal with, but it is what it is. I watched this show a lot and a lot of that is based solely on that strong intro song. Here's hoping that it doesn't get remade at some point with a far less entertaining intro theme.

It is not a zone full of those tasty spiral lollipops.
#8, Spiral Zone

Back then, writers for shows would take some chances when writing shows, because there was a general dismissive attitude towards them anyway that guaranteed most executives would never watch a single episode. It resulted in some shows coming out that had some pretty heavy drama to them and plots involving complex themes, almost like they're getting the kids ready for movies. Spiral Zone was one of those shows, giving us a future where most of humanity has been infected with a plague-like disease that is under the control of the villain. It touched on death, addiction, the horrors of war, and political ideals. It also had a really epic theme song that got you pumped up for this saga that was about to unfold before your eyes. This song was really hard to rank and if I thought about it any longer...I'd probably change my mind about where it should go. I'll just say it's a great theme for an amazing show and move on.

Apparently he's a year younger than me.
#7, Ulysses 31

This one feels like a cheat because I never once watched this show as a kid. I don't remember it ever being on any of the channels I had access to and there were no VHS tapes of it at my local video stores, so I missed out on it entirely. That's a shame too because it has a stellar theme song. Like wow, I heard and knew I could not in good conscience not include it on this list because it simply is too damn good. Apparently this show has quite following too which has lead me to the decision that I actually will give it a watch. After all, if I can watch trash Bat Pussy, surely I can give this my time too.

The extra D is there to remind you they're supposed to be cool.
#6, Kidd Video

Not the first cartoon series to use the music band going on adventures formula, this one stands out on this list and with me for a very particular reason: I kind of hated this show. It just didn't really pull me into it at all, which is probably shocking for people who know me and cartoons from my youth. To put it in perspective for the rest of you: I liked Lady Lovely Locks and the Pixietails...yeah. But what I cannot deny to this very day is the fact that Kidd Video had a damn good theme that really outshined my dislike of the show itself. The damn intro to the show had crappy narration over a big chunk of it too, which annoyed me even more back then because I just wanted to hear the music. Luckily, as you probably noticed if you clicked the link already, a full version is available on YouTube. Awful show but a fine theme that stuck with me despite everything else.

With 100% less Michael Bay produced CGI horror!
#5, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When making this list I tried to avoid the usual suspects, I really did. There are so many great shows from back then with great songs...but dammit, I can't deny how great this song is. It's such a strong theme that almost anyone who has heard it can sing along with it easily. It sets up the story of the main characters, gets you ready for their adventures, and just honestly puts you in a good mood. It's a perfect example of what theme song should aspire to be. Classic and unforgettable. I'd rather listen to this on a 2 hour loop than ever sit through Megan Fox's "contribution" to the franchise ever again.

I do not recommend attempting eat them as you may get mauled.
#4, Adventures of the Gummi Bears

While I will always love the infectious melodies and adventure of Uncle Scrooge and crew, I must admit that as a kid I actually watched this show more. You've probably heard me mention more than once that Conan was my first comic so I had this fascination with fantasy and medieval themed things. The 80s were full of that stuff too, with barbarians aplenty and swords always finding them to sorcery to swing at. And nothing pulled me into such a concept quicker than a song that was so upbeat and full of adventure as this one. Just listening to that intro theme makes me want to go find some magical creature to duel. One of the lesser appreciated shows from Disney, this song has always left me wondering why it isn't more well known. Regardless of popularity, it's a great epic theme that appropriately gets you ready for the show itself. Just try not to bounce everywhere...Disney will not cover those hospital bills.

Not Jim Carrey or zoot suits here. Just transforming vehicles that surprisingly are not alive.
#3, M.A.S.K.

Here in the home stretch I am going to come right out and say it: these last three are not going to be the most famous cartoons of the 80s, so don't expect obvious choices. For example, an obvious choice would be G.I. Joe, but while I love me some 1980s red and blue laser-based patriotism, this show has a much better theme. It starts off slow and builds, kicking into gear and really nailing that 80s feel you want out of a song from that era. It's just so cool and fits the show itself, as the song changes as goes, changing from rock to synth and back, building to the show that follows. There's a reason people often look back fondly on this show and I will call you an outright liar if you say this song isn't a part of that. Easily one of the best themes the 80s gave us.

That logo is so 80s that I can taste cocaine.
#2, SilverHawks

Of all my choices, the choice to leave ThunderCats off of this list is probably the one that will get me the most grief. But, here's the thing...I think this song is just a whole lot better. Sorry, but that's how I legitimately feel. Sure, ThunderCats is more popular and famous but it doesn't hit me like this one does. Even as a child, I was that guy who liked SilverHawks more, with its smooth futuristic synth sound and metallic sounds. I even liked the show more too, which is another unpopular opinion. Crucify me if you must, but I stand by the opinion that SilverHawks has a better theme song and it was close to being the number one on this list. But no, that honour went to something that will probably come straight out of left field for a lot of you.

"And in that moment, I could feel a thousand readers clicking to Google all at once...confusedly searching."
#1, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

Easily one of the least remembered "boy" cartoons of the time, I will never forget this one. Even when I'm old and I have forgotten how to wipe properly, I will remember this show. Because that fucking theme kicks so much ass that I can barely keep my mouth from falling open when I listen to it. It's so damn pitch perfect and has this feel of gravity to it. It fascinates, pulls me in, and makes me want to know more. I want to see the saga it represents unfold to its conclusion. But, sadly, the show never got a conclusion. It got close but the executives put the kibosh on it and Jayce's tale never wrapped up properly. Of all the songs on this list, this song is one I actually listen to on my MP3 player because it's just that damn good. I know we'll never get that proper ending but at least I can listen to that theme and imagine one. Ultimately, that will have to be enough. Oh, and for the full experience, I recommend listening to the full version here.

If you don't, he might fondle your lunchmeat.
That's my list. The ten 1980s cartoon theme songs that I personally think are the best. You don't have to agree with me, but you knew you were getting a biased list when you clicked that link. Feel free to make your own lists and share it. Who knows, maybe you'll convert some others to a show they never knew of previously. Me, I'm gonna go fix a bowl of ice cream and relax. I mean, I did just spend most of the last two days watching every single cartoon intro from the 1980s. Yeah, my left eye really hurts. Later days, bleeders.

And if there's something strange in your neighborhood, I hear there's someone you can call for that.

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