Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jace Everett "Bad Things"

Can you sing the theme song to “Facts Of Life”? How about “Welcome Back, Kotter”?

If I tell you that “The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum . . .” or if I ask you “Wouldn’t you like to get away?” would you be able to complete the 1980s TV Theme song?

How about the theme to the Tom Hanks/Peter Scolari show “Bosom Buddies”? Do you remember that one?

That one stuck out like a sore thumb (which was hard to do in the gaudy, day-glo 80s). Why? Because the “Bosom Buddies” theme song was Billy Joel’s “My Life.”

Of course, in 1981, it was unthinkable that a legitimate recording artist like Billy Joel would record some crappy TV Sitcom theme. And he certainly wouldn’t allow one of his hits to be befouled in such a scenario.

And anyway, back in that era, there were guys who did that as a career. Artists (Hacks!) who crafted songs for every show. The first 60 seconds of a show were a chance to, in song, give a little exposition, run some credits and build excitement for the wacky hi-jinks about to ensue.

Times have changed. Original theme are rare, and if a show does have one, the songs are either kitschy or ironic. Many TV shows don’t even bother, or at the very least just use an instrumental.

But the biggest ideological shift, is to view the theme song as a money-making opportunity.

Where Billy Joel wouldn’t even consider using “My Life,” for a show in the 1980s, now The Who reaps the major financial rewards of licensing three of their songs to the CSI franchise.

And it works even better for unknown and up-and-coming artists.

You’ve probably already forgotten about the band The Refreshments, and their wonderful 1996 alterna-pop hit “Banditos.” But the mailbox money will arrive by post to their home, every month, because they provided a tune to be used as the theme to “King Of The Hill.”

Bands that would take years to turn a profit solely through selling CDs, are quickly in the black when they license a song for TV.

Which brings us to today’s song. Would you have any idea who Jace Everett is, if he didn’t provide the theme to a hit show like “True Blood”? Not bloody likely.

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