Best Cartoon Theme Songs Made by Famous Music Artists

One of the biggest challenges for any musical artist is creating a compelling theme. But there’s a whole new level of difficulty in finding theme songs for children’s shows, because kids are the toughest customers on the planet, and finding a way to fit their unique musical sensibilities to a well-established formula is a challenge. . of these tasks which seems much easier than it actually is.

With the premiere of the 25th (and final!) season of the long-running PBS series arthur today (February 21), Result decided to unleash his inner child by watching the many, many times a great animated children’s series received musical help from a well-known artist, starting in the 1990s.

This list includes, therefore, a remarkably eclectic collection of artists with one thing in common: they have all seen their worth in contributing their talents to a genre that may not have much critical respect but that means the world. absolute for the younger generations.

Liz Shannon Miller

Reverend Horton Heat – Ren & Stimpy (1991-1996)

There’s something ineffable about Reverend Horton Heat’s idiosyncratic jazzy theme music, from rockabilly to crass millennial favorite Ren & Stimpy; the frenetic bongos, the surf guitar, the ever-moving bass guitar.

The song, titled “Dog Pound Hop”, is a curiously appropriate contrast to the close adventures of Ren and Stimpy. After all, if you’re about to see an enlarged photo of the bloodshot eyes of an anthropomorphic Chihuahua, you’ll probably seek solace in the tiki-bar warmth of a slide guitar. — Clint Worthington

Mark Mothersbaugh (DEVO) – Rugrats (1991-2006)

Devo singer and keyboardist Mark Mothersbaugh has long distinguished himself as a prodigious composer for film and television, whether for Marvel (Thor: Ragnarok), Wes Anderson (aquatic life) or animated rides like the lego movie and The Mitchells vs. machines.

But he began writing some of Nickelodeon’s most iconic songs of all time in the ’90s, from the lively bassline and catchy lyrics of Clifford the big red dog (co-written with Josh Mancell), the frenetic drumming of 90s dance music from rocket poweror the strangely reggae-inspired theme for the Super Mario World cartoon.

Obviously, however, its greatest contribution to our collective childhood has been the deceptively simple, yet oddly playful synth theme for Rugrats, with its quirky carnival sounds and human sound samples. It’s a work of quiet genius, the kind he would turn into dozens of dozens later. — C.W.

Danny Elfman– Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)

This one almost feels like cheating, as Danny Elfman’s signature theme for the TV show is largely derived from his work on the 1989 Tim Burton classic. But former Oingo frontman Boingo throws still heaps of gothic brass and sweeps up the orchestral performance in this evolution of the theme, expanding it in a way that Shirley Walker would use in her soulful, evocative soundtrack for the series itself. For many kids in the 90s, it’s the definitive theme for the Caped Crusader. — C.W.

The B-52 – Rocko’s modern life (1993-1996)

Between trips to the Love Shack, 80s new wave darlings, the B-52s lent their talents to the vibrant and effervescent theme of Rocko’s modern life. It’s perfect: after all, Rocko, with his breathless exuberance and relentless enthusiasm for life and adventure, feels like Fred Schneider if he a) wore Hawaiian shirts without pants (!) and b) was a kangaroo. (Fun fact: Apparently Kurt Cobain was their second choice to write the theme. We wonder what Grunge Rocko would sound like.) — C.W.

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