Top 30 Kid’s Cartoon Theme Tunes

inspectorgadgetCompiling this list of the greatest kid’s cartoon theme tunes, you’re on to a loser from the off.

You’re bound to disgust those who feel their first choice was left out. You’ll bloody the noses of those who can’t believe you put their cherished memory so low in the rankings. And you’ll almost certainly suffer the slings and arrows of those who think you’re wallowing in pointless nostalgia.

Well, balls to them. There’s nothing like a trip down memory lane to get those endorphins pumping – so let’s wander idly along, humming the tunes that preceded our infant distractions, recalling with a grin that the opening titles were very often far more enjoyable than the tripe that followed.

Here goes.

30. Gummi Bears

I have no idea why I like this so much. But I do.

29. GI Joe

As American as apple pie and, er, New York.

28. Animaniacs

Annoying as hell, but undeniably catchy.

27. Muppet Babies

Sounds like something Kermit threw up, but is guaranteed to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

26. Henry’s Cat

Scrapes its way into the Top 26 by virtue of some synthesised miaows.

25. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Catchy tune and tells you all you need to know about He-Man, his stupid voice and his weird mates.

24. The Perishers

Is it just us or does it sound a bit like The Smiths’ song Sheila Take A Bow?

23. Dinosaucers

Ludicrous idea for a cartoon, but great song.

22. M.A.S.K

Is there a more Eighties theme tune?

21. Ducktales

It’s almost impossible to not say Ducktales without following it with ‘woo hoo’. An annoyingly catchy tune.

20. Raggy Dolls

Getting Neil Innes in to write and record your theme tune is pure class. But surely the rejected dolls would have been discarded in week one? Or ripped to shreds and recycled…

19. Thundercats

You are singing the tune right now, aren’t you?

18. Transformers

Turns from soft metal into a bizarre trumpet-led fanfare, all in the space of 30 seconds.

17. Astroboy

Astroboy is still curiously watchable, but the dubbing in the show is totally out of synch and the music here goes on for way too long. Timing must have been an issue at Astroboy HQ.

16. Ulysses 31

You have to wait a whopping 50 seconds for the proper song to begin, but when it does it’s a rock classic worthy of Whitesnake. Sung with passion, finished with love.

15. The Mysterious Cities of Gold

A genuinely well-written song heading up one of the most interminably dull cartoons of the period. Once the theme tune was over, the sound of TVs changing stations reverberated throughout the land.

14. Jem and the Holograms

Better than half the rubbish that was in the charts during the Eighties.

13. Top Cat (Boss Cat)

Clever words, a walloping trad jazz tune and a classy lead character. If you sided with Officer Dibble, you had no heart.

12. Battle of the Planets (G-Force)

No idea what was going on half the time, but who cares? Great theme tune.

11. Visionaries

Just magic.

10. Jamie & His Magic Torch

I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering the theme tune note for note, but having forgotten everything that happens in the actual programme? Which boy could resist not playing with his magic torch?

9. Pink Panther

Surely, one of the greatest theme tunes of all time.

8. Dogtanian & The Muskerhounds

When I asked Twitter what should go on this list, this was the overwhelming winner. I’ve no idea why – it’s dreadful.

7. The Smurfs

Anyone who doesn’t agree, can get the Smurf out of here!!

6. Hong Kong Phooey

He was better than a super-guy, and the theme song was better than most.

5. Inspector Gadget


Dum dad dum da dum… this was a singalong classic. Every time the Gadget graced our screens, you had to singalong, reaching a frenzy when it got to the ‘Go, Gadget, go!’ part.

4. Dangermouse

He’s the greatest! And the theme tune was pretty smart too, with that horn section urging the ‘Mouse along, dragging the snivelling Penfold along with him.

3. Scooby Doo

We’re talking Scooby Doo before Scrappy walked onto the scene. As we all know, Scrappy was Satan in the form of a large-headed cartoon pup.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Still cannot believe Shredder was voiced by Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince.

1. Roobarb & Custard

The second it kicks in – instant  anarchy. To an adult, it sounds like a keyboard that’s been distorted a little too much through some kind of wah wah synth. To a child, sounds like a call to arms and causes destruction of the living room. Influential, noisy and the best ever kids TV theme.

This was a guest blog by the mighty Swineshead from Watch With Mothers

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Comments

  1. Lunacloud says

    Cities of gold should be higher. AND I never turned it over. It started a lifelong interest in archeology and cultural anthropology. I bet not many people were that inspired by a cartoon. It really was “dull”

  2. Matt says

    Wow… M.A.S.K., The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and Battle of the Planets.

    Great shows- or at least, that’s how I remember them. Not so interested in seeing if they actually were- pretty sure there’d be some shattered illusions there…

  3. Dabby says

    Where’s Captain Planet? The Raccoons? Sharky ‘N’ George? Samurai Pizza Cats? Count Duckula?

    Listfail.

  4. JoeMomma says

    Another good theme was the Robotech one. All orchestral and everything. Lots on there that I don’t recognize, but they must be Brit cartoons.

  5. PJ says

    Seriously:

    Where’s Earthworm Jim, Pinky and the Brain, and especially, especially, Freakazoid!

  6. Martin says

    Taz, Count Dracula, Trap door, centurians, sharky and george, batman, new He Man wasn’t that bad…………..But still BRAVO, brought back some memories!

  7. says

    Yay! Gummi Bears! That was my favourite cartoon EVER. Still is. Although Thundercats was probably a much better cartoon all round, really. Even though the boys I knew secretly fancied the sexy girl cartoon tiger cat, which is a bit weird.

    But the Captain Planet theme tune was awesome… I mean he was gonna take pollution down to ZERO.

    Great list.

  8. Jerm says

    Wow, I’m sorry but this list is horrible. Where is Chip n Dales or X-men or Duck Tales? Not cool, not cool at all…

  9. Huh?? says

    Ch-ch-ch-chip and dale.. rescue rangers!…
    I can’t see how that song did not make the list… I expected to see it at number 1…

  10. Strangely Gritty says

    Ulysses 31 – There was killing and dying in it, which was odd for a kid’s cartoon. Not masked or shrouded, strangely faithful to the classics on which it was based. I always liked that about it. The incidental music throughout that series is nice and heavy, really crunchy and thrashy guitar\drum work. Hopefully it will come out on CD one day. The vinyl is worth its weight in gold..

    Oh.. and I had a crush something awful on Circe the Enchantress, pure cartoon MILF. Queen Calypso was pretty hot too, as was Eurydice.. and..

  11. Raist420 says

    DUGG big time For Jamie & The Magic Torch!!!!!!!!!!
    i SOOOOO used to love that show !! thanks for the memory

  12. Dave says

    You’re kidding, right? This list is dreadful. Another case of a writer including obscure choices to make themselves seem”Diverse” and “intelligent.”

    Get real.

  13. Ajax414 says

    Glaring ommissions:

    1) Duck Tales

    2) Tiny Toons

    3) Darkwing Duck

    4) Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers

    5) Tale Spin

    6) Pinky and the Brain

    7) Ren & Stimpy

    (in my biased opinion, that is)

  14. Ajax414 says

    Um, self-confessed fail for not noticing Ducktales, and misspelling it. Oops. Great song.

  15. John Manon says

    Where’s the X-men Theme?! One of the greatest guitar riffs Saturday morning ever saw ;)

  16. Mike says

    Hey now. Come on. “Run With Us” from the Raccoons blows all others out of the water. I don’t care if it was played during the end credits.

  17. says

    Kudos for including Hong Kong Phooey, Scooby Doo, Danger Mouse, Muppet Babies, and He Man. But darn, I feel so darn old…most of these shows I never watched cause I was an adult at work by the time these shows were on Saturday mornings. I watched He Man cause it was syndicated and was on in the afternoons when I got home after work!!! LOL

    I was hoping an old fart wrote this list, so I was expecting to see The Flintstones, Popeye, Woody Woodpecker… and especially UNDERDOG on here. The Underdog theme was the BEST!

  18. Anthony says

    Stop the Pigeon? Super Friends?

    Besides those omissions, great list!! Brings back some serious memories…

  19. Llama says

    If you aren’t listing the RoboTech theme song as number 1, then you really don’t have a list.

  20. hammer says

    man that makes me feel old. not one mention of the theme to road runner? and as for astro boy thats not the original. i remember the original song went something like astro boy on your way , on your mission today, flying higher …..thats all i can remember. i’m talking about from the sixtees.

  21. DaveY says

    I’m surprised there wasn’t Speed Racer, or Saber Rider… although Saber Rider is probably less likely to make the list. But, come on… no Speed Racer?

  22. Wyzyrd says

    is “Mysterious Cities of Gold” same as US “Spartakus and the Cities of Gold”? I wondered for years WTF a “flashpig” was…

  23. Where are the XMEN?! says

    FUCK THIS LIST! anything that doesn’t have 90′s Xmen theme song is a shitty list.

    sure it doesn’t have any lyrics… but you know what? it doesn’t need lyrics!

  24. ixum says

    Count Duckula had a baddas intro theme, terrifyng and the end theme was even better, miss, and thundercats should be higher

  25. says

    Inspector Gadget WAS a sing-along with my family. My dad, sister and I would crowd around the TV every single time the show came on, but our favorite part was hollering the “Woohoo!” as in…

    da da da da dum
    Inspector Gadget
    da da da da dum
    dum dum WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Aw, now I’m all misty.

  26. Steve says

    Great to see some old favorites – but you missed my #1 favorite: Underdog !!
    Cool walking bassline, uptempo, 4-part vocal harmonies (catchy too!), loved it!

    Speaking of old cartoons – I don’t remember their theme songs, but anyone else remember The Littles? … Shirt Tails?

  27. Nick says

    What about “Mighty Mouse”? You have to be kidding me, how can you leave that off the list!

  28. Stiletto says

    Good heavens, you’re so wrong on a few of these…

    Smurfs – really should have an even earlier opening that has the full length song

    Pink Panther – what the heck – yes, it has famous music, but you didn’t pick the opening with it…

    Scooby Doo – I think you need an earlier opening on this one too, didn’t sound right.

    I’ll try to come back with links.

  29. Zak says

    Love the list, but wanted to mention two others…”Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea” and “Spiral Zone” Classic ’80′s!

  30. Shooty* says

    ULYSSES 31 FTW!

    Seriously, it’s better than Smells Like Teen Spirit, better than Hoedown Throwdown, it’s simply the best song ever.

  31. Jay says

    If you can’t find themes on YouTube, check out this site, it has them all – televisiontunes.com

  32. Ugzz says

    i think you made a list of shows that hit the nostalgia button for you, because while some were great shows, the themes were not good. the theme from your number one pick was not good, and the pink panther intro sucked even when i was a kid.

    agree chip n dale and talespin should be on the list.
    but judging on awesome THEME alone, Denver the Dinosaur is a MUST: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1fUqSQFdAI

  33. BRUCE says

    Who are the morons who came up with list? The people who put that stupid song at #1 should be dealt with severely. Idiots.

  34. says

    Sorry if your favourite was too low or no included people, but I did say…

    Compiling this list of the greatest kid’s cartoon theme tunes, you’re on to a loser from the off.

    You’re bound to disgust those who feel their first choice was left out. You’ll bloody the noses of those who can’t believe you put their cherished memory so low in the rankings.

    Consider that a disclaimer!

  35. Hitch says

    I was enjoying that list but imagine my surprise when the number 1 spot is a video taken from my very own youtube channel to boot!

    Great choices and yes, Roobarb rules :) I would like to point out though that only the later, modern (and terrible) series had the cats name in it.

    BTW, Battle of the Planets!!! Never missed an episode when I was younger.

  36. says

    Goodness me I just loved that article-took me back I can tell you and no mistake. I love all that cheery music. Hey! The only thing is that you missed out Dangermouse. Come on big boy, get it right next time…

    CY

  37. Silver says

    Hey you guys , can someone pleaaaaaaaaaaaase tell me what’s the show for this song because i’m totally freaking out and i can’t get it out of my head , bottom line here it is : tan tan ta ta ta ta tan tan ta ta ta ta tan tan ta ta ta ta . ta ta ata ata ata ata
    Helllllllp

  38. Reillyawesomepants says

    Speed of Lighting!
    Roar of thunder!!!

    Come on… No Underdog???? And Scooby Doo should be first, underdog following…

  39. PR says

    I was just going through the list and found out that a lot of these have become unavail here is what is not available now on your list: (and yes I went through all of them, I was bored and some I have never heard of before some I vaguely remember)
    #24 Perishers This video is no longer availabe because the account associated with the video has been terminated
    #22 M.A.S.K. This video has been removed by the user
    #20 Raggy Dolls This video has been removed by the user
    #19 Thundercats Embedding disabled by request Watch on YouTube
    #16 Ulysses 31 This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated
    #10 Jamie & His Magic Torch This video has been removed by the user
    #6 Hong Kong Phooey This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringment from claimants including: [Warner Bros. Entertainment]
    #5 Inspector Gadget This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it on copyright grounds
    #2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles This video is no longer available because of the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement from claimants including: [Shogakukan Production Co. Ltd.]
    #1 Roobard & Custard This video is no longer available due to copyright claim by A & B Btv Limited.

  40. jayden says

    oh my god….why air these shows at all (except for scooby-doo) ? What were the writers thinking?

  41. Stephen Rhodes Treadwell says

    Nah! The best cartoon theme song is definitely the one for the 1975 Tom & Jerry!

  42. Stephen Rhodes Treadwell says

    Why did you leave out the theme song for the 1975 version of Tom & Jerry? It’s the best cartoon theme song there is!

  43. Rise Against says

    Bucky O’Hare is my favorite. It’s a great 90s era hip hop (no pun intended) theme that still sounds epic to this day. Check it out!