10 incredible cover versions of TV themes | Virgin Media
10 incredible cover versions of TV themes

10 incredible cover versions of TV themes



If you’ve ever been a guitar player of even the most rank amateur status, you’ll have spent some time trying to figure out how to play some classic rock-based TV themes. Like the one for the BBC’s snooker coverage, or The Bill or Taggart. Don’t worry, you’re in good company. Some of the foremost guitar acts of our generation (as well as some slightly ropey ones) have turned their hands to covering the themes from TV shows. 

With axe-thrashingly good talent show Guitar Star returning to Sky Arts (don’t miss it – set record here with TV Anywhere), we’re taking a look at some of the best TV theme song covers. For those about to rock, we salute you, or something.

The Simpsons - Green Day

Everyone loves The Simpsons, but US pop-punk types Green Day decided they loved it so much they’d have a bash at the theme tune. Features a saxophone solo by Bleeding Gums Murphy. (It doesn’t.)

Suicide is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H) – Manic Street Preachers

The theme from US Korean War sitcom M*A*S*H is not all that cheery, as the title suggests, and its lyrics are weirdly in-keeping with the Manics’ style. Their version is fairly guitary, until the extended wig-out at the end when it gets VERY guitary.

Spider-Man – The Ramones

If it’s short and can reasonably be played very fast indeed, it can probably be repurposed as a Ramones song. Here the boys ran through the opening theme from the 1960s animated series, keeping it down to an uncomplicated two minutes, leaving them enough time to record another three or four albums in the morning of studio time they had booked.

I Could Be So Good For You – the Bluetones

Write the feem toon, sing the feem toon, etc: Dennis Waterman’s take on his show Minder’s theme goes down in TV history among the greats, and evergreen Britpoppers The Bluetones, in typically jaunty throwaway style, have included it in their live sets a few times.

Batman - The Jam

It’s not a massive challenge for professional musicians to play the old “dinner dinner dinner dinner” riff over and over and sing “Batman!” every now and then, but it seemed to keep The Jam happy enough, so who are we to argue?

Spongebob SquarePants – Newton Faulkner

No, seriously. Ginger axe-merchant Faulkner is fond of this one, and happily responds to audience requests for it. It shows a sense of humour not found everywhere in the singer-songwriter field: you can’t imagine Van Morrison playing this quite so cheerily.

Mission Impossible - Pantera

Big of hair and big of riff, Pantera had this stab at the Mission: Impossible theme, in which they totally shredded. Yes, that’s a thing people say.

X-Men – Powerglove

Powerglove are a metal covers band who mainly knock out versions of video game and TV themes. They seem preoccupied with Saturday morning kids’ cartoons from the eighties, which is just fine by us.

The Munsters – Rob Zombie

Here was a theme just crying out for the metal cover treatment, and God/Satan bless Rob Zombie for wheeling it out at this concert while a giant devil stalked around the stage.

Gummi Bears – Alicia Keys

OK, as you’d expect it’s not very guitary. Fine, it doesn’t contain any guitars. But it is Alicia Keys having made the decision, presumably when sober, to sing “Gummi bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere” at an actual concert where people had paid to see her, which you’ve got to admit is nuts enough to make you curious.

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