The 10 Best '80s Cartoon Theme Songs
Remember the days when you'd set your beeping alarm watch to 6 a.m. on Saturday morning to wake up in time to catch your cartoons? Man, nothing compared to the stillness of the house in the early hours, where you could sit in peace while an animated, pizza-obsessed turtle and a rat ninja set off on a new adventure.
Yep, life in the '80s was awesome. Cartoons were mind-warped, confusing and chaotic, and the plot twists often went where children's shows should never, ever go. But that's what made them so damn fantastic. They were works of art and madness, and so worth getting up at the ass-crack of dawn for.
And really, the world didn't even need to make sense in the '80s. It just needed to be rainbow-colored and slightly scary, and everything would be all right.
10. The Smurfs The Smurfs was a bit confusing, what with them being these fictional, tiny little blue creatures who lived in mushroom houses in the forest and all. And it was a bit disconcerting that Gargamel wanted to freakin' eat the Smurfs, but whatever. It was the '80s; shit didn't need to make any sense. Or be not scary and murderous or whatever.
But even if the creepy wizard Smurf-hunter and the plot line were confusing, the one thing that did make sense about The Smurfs was the theme song. Mainly because it was just a bunch of la, la, la, la, la, la's and some dramatic dragon action. (Okay, so that was confusing too, but tell us you didn't like it. We dare you.)
9. Transformers Listen, when the Autobots have got to kick the Decepticons in their wicked little asses, you need a sweet theme song to go with it. Luckily, the folks who brought us this song -- and this cartoon -- knew that rule, and served it up right.
We don't need some stupid Linkin Park theme song remake for our '80s Transformers, no siree. We'll take ours as original -- and not shitty -- as possible. Transformers...more than meets the eye.
8. Muppet Babies Hey, remember Nanny? Eh, there's a good chance you'll only remember her legs. But you'll remember this entire Muppet Babies theme song, because it a) was awesome; and b) contained a line by every character on the show. Miss Piggy? Check. Kermit? Check. Fozzie Gonzo, and Beaker? Check, check and check. Man, the cartoons of today's generation are sorely lacking.
7. ThunderCats All we really need to say on this one is "ThunderCats, hoooooooooooooooooo!" You all know the call.
6. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers What is it with the '80s obsession with cartoon dragons? This theme song, performed by the '80s pop group The Jets, is also a dramatic tune about chipmunks who are gumshoe detectives with tiny Hawaiian shirts and crime-solving gear. Dale was even modeled after another great Hawaiian shirt-sporting detective, a dude known as Magnum P.I.. That should tell you everything you need to know.
5. DuckTales This cartoon intro inspired many an '80s kid to think that if he or she were just able to make enough money to have a room full of gold coins, he or she could swim in that ho. It's not true, guys. Don't try it. It was totally limited to Scrooge McDuck's fancy money, not your pennies. You cannot swim in pennies.
Still awesome, though.
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4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The poor TMNT have been ripped off and revamped so many times since the '80s. We're not sure when people will start to realize that you cannot recreate '80s cartoon magic, but perhaps they'll figure it out soon enough. Or right about the time that the new TMNT live-action movie comes out and freakin' flops.
You also cannot recreate '80s theme song magic, either. And that's because this cartoon (and Michaelangelo, on whom we totally had a cartoon crush for a shamefully long time), cannot be touched. And Master Splinter will probably kick your pizza-hating ass if you try.
3. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero G.I. Joe, the cartoon and the theme song, was everything that was tough and loyal and straight 'Murica. Well, it was until the Joe action figures fell in love with our Barbies and left the Army to have babies and work in insurance, where they'd carry one of Barbie's purses as a briefcase.
But that was way, way later. And also not part of the killer theme song.
2. Inspector Gadget When your theme song has been sampled by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, you know you've reached the pinnacle of cartoon-theme success. That's exactly what happened to which Inspector Gadget, which the duo, along with the Get Fresh Crew, sampled on 1985 crossover hit "The Show."
But even if that little factoid doesn't ring your '80s bell, remembering what a badass Dr Claw was should help. His Persian cat and the creepy robot arm were the shit. Bad guys and their cats, am I right?
1. Jem and the Holograms Nobody, dare we say nobody, did rock-star hair and '80s pumps quite like Jem and the Holograms. Jem was Starlight Records owner Jerrica's alter ego, whose hologram-summoning hoop earrings helped her to disguise her identity, since she was all famous and shit.
Keyboards, animal-print dresses, and ridiculous songs from the Holograms -- her multicultural, punk-haired backup band -- all made Jem untouchable. Theme songs, and cartoons, just don't come along at this caliber every day. Or since the '80s, really. She was truly, truly, truly outrageous, bein' anyone she wanted to be.
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