Now this list is not the “Best 80’s Cartoons,” “Best Produced 80’s Cartoons,” or even “Most Popular 80’s Cartoons,” but how catchy the opening themes are.
A catchy opening theme can make or break a cartoon. Many children of the attention span of a squirrel in an oak forrest, if the opening theme doesn’t catch their fancy, you are done for.
We are scoring (all puns intended) this list strictly by how catchy the opening theme song was.
Criteria such as:
- Could you identify the cartoon after hearing just the first couple bars of the theme song?
- Do you find yourself singing the theme song while stuck in traffic for no particular reason?
- Do certain trigger words cause you to extemporaneously belt out the theme song at inappropriate moments? (EXAMPLE: The other day, someone mentioned that they saw a squashed duck tail on the side of the road and I uncontrollably belted out “Ducktales! Wa hoo!”
Here are Geeky Daddy’s Top Ten Catchiest 80’s Cartoon Theme Songs!
10. Danger Mouse
“He’s the greatest! He’s Fantastic! Wherever there is danger, he’ll be there!”
My older brother and I used to repeatedly sing this song to no one in-particular as kids. I don’t even remember how we were introduced to the British animation (probably USA Cartoon Express or the Canadian Broadcasting Company we picked up out of Windsor),
9. Inspector Gadget
It is nearly impossible to hear some one say “Inspector Gadget” without hearing “doo bee doo bee doo boop boop” in your head immediately afterwards.
The tune has that light hearted goofiness to it that really sets the mood for the cartoon.
Great mix of ahead of its time auto-tuned lyrics, transforming sounds and guitar music. By far the most “80’s” mix of sounds on this list.
7. Thunder Cats
Not a ton of dialog (basically just “Thundercats are loose” over and over again) but that has never stopped music from being popular before!
The initial Thundercats series was awesome. The 2nd anime-inspired series was really good but unfortunately. The 3rd series….I have no idea what the hell they were thinking
6. Disney’s Gummi Bears
Not the most masculine of 80’s cartoons, I know, but this list is just about the “Catchiest Theme Songs”, not “Most Entertaining Show”. And good thing to, because this cartoon kinda sucked.
I am also mentally scarred by this song because a physical trainer I used to work out with would crank this tune as a finisher to grueling P. T. classes as a sadistic way to mess with our heads. (Miss you John Carra!)
5. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
The theme song for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe didn’t have a whole lot of lyrics after announcing his name. Mostly just himself speaking directly into the camera as if he were giving a testimonial in reality TV program.
4. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
G.I. Joe was my favorite cartoon as a kid. I loved following the adventures of ‘America’s daring highly trained special missions force!’
I mean their marksmanship was so precise that they could shoot down every Cobra aircraft in a way that always gave the Cobra pilot enough time to safely bail out. That takes some serious skillz!
As a child, I always thought of the show as strictly military based, but in hindsight, The M.A.S.S. Device, The Weather Dominator, Pyramid of Darkness, creating a new villain from stolen DNA of past conquerors..that’s some serious science fiction.
Bonus Points to anyone who still jams out to Cold Slither!
Probably the best produced song on the list, the theme song to Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (German?) was one of the few shows where I would never fast forward through the opening credits.
The lyrics, the guitar, the rifts. This track sounded more like it belonged on the Top Gun soundtrack as opposed to a syndicated children’s cartoon.
2. Duck Tales
This iconic theme song probably did the best job of mixing visuals with lyrics and the sound effects. Uncle Scrooge literally grabbing someone by the duck tails as the lyric is sung, him getting shocked at the moment the lyrics call for a “duck blur” and the well timed ending of Uncle Scrooge grabbing the lamp at the same time as his rival Flintheart Glomgold (love that name).
Watch the clip and I guarantee you will be singing it to yourself the rest of the day.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Was there any doubt? By far the catchiest tune on this list of toons, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ‘Heroes in a Half Shell theme was actually written by future 2 and 1/2 Men and Big Bang Theory producer Chuck Lorre.
Which makes you wonder how much of the jingle writing Charlie Harper’s character was based on Charlie Lorre, as opposed to Charlie Sheen…
Honorable Mention 1: Fraggle Rock (Not a Cartoon)
A catchy tune for sure that left many kids wanting to head on ‘Down In Fraggle Rock’, I left it off our list of 80’s Catchiest Cartoon Theme Songs for the simple technicality that Fraggle Rock was not a cartoon.
Honorable Mention 2: JEM and the Holograms
Full disclosure: I have never seen this show, however Geeky Mommie found out I left it off my list and threatened to chase me out of the house with a steak knife.
What did you think of our list?
Comment below with your thoughts or suggestions you think I might have missed that are worthy of spot on the list.
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