With catchy beats and memorable lyrics it’s no wonder that '80s cartoon theme songs are practically ingrained within our heads. The passionate surge of instrumental solos and synthesizers, emotional ballads of storytelling, and that inevitable excitement of diving right into an '80s montage scene are only a few of the glorious and satisfying feelings I get when listening to the wave of these prominent nostalgic tunes.
The 1980s truly had the best cartoon theme songs of all time (sorry '90s kids). Here are the top 10 '80s cartoon theme songs ... OF ALL TIME.
10. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo - 1988
Whether it's the original theme song of "Scooby-Doo Where Are You?" or the '80s spin-off cartoon of the Mystery Inc. Gang as teenagers, the theme song for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo has super catchy lyrics, killer drumming, and let's not forget the sounds of hand-clapping that will be forever embedded in the deep subconscious of our minds along with the original '70s version.
Tom Ruegger, the creator of the animated series, also wrote the lyrics and composed the music alongside John Debney.
9. Jem and the Holograms - 1985
The statement “Glamour and Glitter, Fashion and Fame” is all you really need to live by, to be honest.
With a pinch of '80s glam, battle of the bands rock and roll vibes, and of course Jem herself, this theme song is absolutely fabulous. Maybe it was just me during my adolescence, but jamming along to this theme song made me feel like I was right on the stage with the Holograms.
Jem and the Holograms theme song is performed by Britta Phillips. Robert J. Walsh composed the music.
8. Inspector Gadget - 1983
From the moment the sirens start, it’s obvious to anyone who knows anything about anything that the Inspector Gadget theme song is playing. With the funky synthesizer sounds and the chants of “Woo hoo!” we are all instantly enchanted. If you're not cheering “Go Gadget Go!” right now, I don't even know you anymore.
This song is so catchy that even Inspector Gadget himself can be heard humming it during a few episodes. For a song that only has a few repetitive verses, which are "Inspector Gadget", "Woo hoo!" and "Go Gadget Go!" it's had impressive staying power over the decades.
7. Disney’s Adventure of the Gummi Bears - 1985
Although the cartoon Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears wasn't the most popular show of its time, it truly is incredible how unforgettable the lyrics are. From the moment we are "dashing and daring" while being “courageous and caring”, we are absolutely shouting out and singing in unison: “bouncing here and there and everywhere!”
Pretending to drink that magical Gummiberry Juice while wishing we were back in the '80s adventuring in the Gummi Glen forest with all the Gummi Bears is definitely a nostalgic feeling that will last a lifetime. And yes, that juice would be illegal in today's cartoons.
Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears' theme song was composed by Michael Silversher and Patricia Silversher. Joseph William performed the song. Alicia Keys performed her own version back in 2012.
6. Thundercats - 1985
It’s time to feel the magic and hear the roar with feline and tomcat pride listening to the iconic song of the Thundercats. With the infamous instrumental sequence and guitar riff that surely signifies that the Thundercats are on the move, loose and ready for action-packed action, this theme song is definitely an essential melody that is incredibly recognizable and unforgettable. The style of '80s Japanese animation within the cartoon is very prominent and makes the animated series distinguished between the art and the glorious song.
The Thundercats theme song was composed by Bernard Hoffer who also created the music and leitmotifs in the animated series. Jules Bass, from Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, wrote the lyrics.
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - 1987
It’s time to party while chanting the radical theme song of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Grab a slice of pizza because every day is a pizza party day while listening to this memorable song! The best part of this tune is how the ninja turtles (and Splinter!) are described within the lyrics to really give them their individualized personality and acknowledge their skills. So whether you are a leader, an engineer of sorts, a cool but rude (or crude!) being, someone who loves to party, or a master sensei, there is always a character to relate to.!
Chuck Lorre created the infamous theme song. There is speculation with the lyrics "cool but rude". Is it "cool but rude?" Or "cool but crude", or even "cool but brute" which is all presented on many different official Teenage Mutant Ninja sources! Which one do you hear? Rude, Crude, or Brute?
4. (The Real) Ghostbusters - 1986
With the iconic introduction along with the unforgettable bop of the synthesizers, Ghostbusters is truly one of the most memorable themes that came from the '80s decade. Although the song debuted for the live-action film, an animated film rendition was quickly created a few years later using the same theme song, which was called “The Real Ghostbusters”. Forever a staple tune at Halloween parties and comforting the fear of the paranormal to most, we all can confidently know who to call during supernatural situations. The proud shouting in unison “Ghostbusters!” will always be a superior joyous declaration. There’s no wonder why it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the 57th Academy Awards.! It’s always a spooktacular time jamming out to Ghostbusters with the assured statement of “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
Ray Parker Jr. wrote and performed the Ghostbuster theme song.
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks - 1983
From the moment our favorite chipmunks say "Watch out!" to the ending when they sing "Do do do do do dooo!" The song "We're the Chipmunks" has always been an unforgettable and popular song to sing along to. And for those who were young enough, learning how to spell chipmunk during the song also brought some academic value to it. "C-H-I-P-M-U-N-K!"
"We're the Chipmunks" was written by Ross Bagsardarian and Janice Karman. Bagsardarian was the singing voice of all the chipmunks. Sadly, when Bagsardian passed away, his son Ross Bagsardian Jr. along with Karman performed the chipmunks' singing voices.
2. Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers - 1989
If you need help, you know exactly who to call and that is the Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers. Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers is a mix of spectacular lyrics and powerful instrumental harmonies that really give a dramatic sense of adventure and storytelling. With thunder crashing in the introduction, various sound effects, bad guys grunting, and of course the unforgettable "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale!" And who can honestly forget the epic saxophone solo and the smooth ballad in the middle of the extended version of this legendary theme song?
Mark Mueller was the brilliant mind behind composing this theme song. Jeff Pescetto is the artist who performed the song.
1. DuckTales - 1987
Upbeat and infectious, the DuckTales theme song is remembered by many who may or may not have even watched the original animated series. With how poppy and energetic it is, this song has inspired many different variations of remakes from a variety of genres. Life truly is just like a hurricane when you put this jam on.
The DuckTales theme song was created by Mark Mueller, just like Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers. Muller wanted to make this song have a Pop-sounding vibe to it and not a typical “cartoon theme song.” Because of this and DuckTales, in general, being a smash hit with viewers, the DuckTales theme song is deemed one of the most well-known cartoon theme songs composed. This also have Mueller a stepping platform to create Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Ranger song.
There you have it, the top 10 '80s cartoon theme songs. I couldn't name them all – there are so many incredible songs that could have been easily listed like Transformers and Silver Hawks, to name a couple. But we all have to live with our choices.
A Pixie by Day and a Goblin by Night, Brandy can be found waltzing around in bookstores while sipping a vegan chai latte or in bed catching up on Anime series and writing her nerdy articles.