For Emily, whenever he may find her

Patrick Williams wrote tons of TV and movie music, including the theme song to The Bob Newhart Show, which ran for six seasons on CBS in the 1970s. As the years progressed, Williams regularly updated his 59 seconds of the opening-title sequence, and each season the theme got just a trifle funkier, to the extent that anything that makes you think of Bob Newhart can be said to be funky. By season six, one lousy minute just wasn’t enough.

Somehow I managed to miss it, but in 1978, Newhart’s last year as Dr. Bob Hartley, Williams and his orchestra recorded an album called Theme, and side two led off with a six-minute version, which turned out to be titled “Home to Emily.” Manning the electric piano is the reliable Sonny Burke. Here we go:

You half expect to see Marcia Wallace and Peter Bonerz standing by the elevator.


  1. nightfly »

    20 February 2018 · 3:25 pm

    This seems to have been a 70s/80s trend – there are full versions of “Welcome Back Kotter, Taxi (“Angela’s Theme” I think it’s called), “Hill Street Blues,” Cheers (“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”), “the Greatest American Hero,” and of course songs that started out as radio songs and were shortened specifically for theme use (“My Life” for Bosom Buddies among others).

    Things have gotten so far away from that standard that some shows barely have proper themes at all, and those that prove popular wind up being artificially puffed up to singles length, such as the execrable “I’ll Be There For You.”

  2. fillyjonk »

    20 February 2018 · 4:23 pm

    I figure the cutting down of show theme songs is just another way to shoehorn in more commercials. Wasn’t there some mini-scandal about some 90s sitcoms being *just barely* sped up in recent re-runs so another ad or two could be stuffed in there?

    Eventually, we’ll have 22 minutes of ads and 8 minutes of show per half hour, I think.

  3. CGHill »

    20 February 2018 · 5:08 pm

    “Weird Al” Yankovic wrote up a parody of “I’ll Be There for You,” which he called “I’ll Repair For You,” ostensibly the theme song of Home Improvement. The producers of Friends put their collective foot down. Yankovic, as is his custom, did not put the parody out as a recording.

    Doesn’t mean he left it in the vault, though:

  4. Brian J. »

    20 February 2018 · 5:26 pm

    Not only did they make “full” versions of television theme songs–they actually charted.

    “Believe It Or Not” from The Greatest American Hero went to #2.

    “Welcome Back” from Welcome Back, Kotter went to #1.

    Mike Post also charted the themes from Hill Street Blues and Magnum, P.I.. Mancini charted the theme from Charlies’ Angels.

    Those were simpler days, indeed.

  5. Brian J. »

    20 February 2018 · 5:28 pm

    And, in a timely fashion, WSIE radio is playing “Moonlighting” by Al Jarreau.

    How did you do that, Charles?

  6. WSIE Will Not Let Me Forget Al Jarreau – Musings from Brian J. Noggle »

    20 February 2018 · 5:44 pm

    […] … a post about the theme song from The Bob Newhart Show that appeared in a longer form on an album; playing off of another user’s comment, I gave a partial list of television theme songs that […]

  7. CGHill »

    20 February 2018 · 7:19 pm

    Then there was Frank Sinatra’s 1955 ht “Love and Marriage,” which resurfaced in 1987 as the theme to the Fox sitcom Married… with Children, credited to the two songwriters (Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen),

  8. nightfly »

    21 February 2018 · 1:22 pm

    This plus fillyjonk’s comment are making me think of the Homestar Runner episode about theme music, where Strong Bad basically trashes the whole concept: “It’s just an excuse for showmakers to make less show!” The whole thing is hysterical.

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