Amber Riley already has lots of teen and grown-up fans, thanks to her work on “Glee” and winning appearances on “Dancing With the Stars.” But now she’s going for a whole new demo — with a time-tested method.
Recently, Riley recorded a new version of the theme song for “Doc McStuffins,” the hit Disney Junior animated show about a little girl playing doctor to her toys. Of course, it isn’t the first time that an actor has sung a show’s theme song — sometimes, even their own. Read on for a preview of Riley’s musical moment, as well as a few other favorites from TV series’ past.
Entering its fourth season, “Doc McStuffins” will return with a new theme song (you can hear it in the video below), and Riley is pretty open about why she recorded it. “My niece loves the show,” she tells People magazine. “I think it has such a positive message for kids to dream big and use their imagination.”
In the just-launched new season, 6-year-old Doc is transported to an imaginary town. The residents are all toys and she takes over as chief resident of the Toy Hospital. So, the new theme is appropriately playful.
Arguably the most famous celebrity-sung theme song, Kelsey Grammer’s “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” is notable for multiple reasons. First, Grammer sung the theme to his own show, which quite frankly is awesome. Secondly, the song offers a very different “character” than the buttoned-up Frasier Crane, giving the sitcom star a chance to unwind with some very silly lyrics. Thirdly, does anyone have any idea what the heck it’s about?
“I wrote the song/music itself, but then needed a lyric that would work, so I called my friend Darryl Phinnesse who is really talented and really smart,” music supervisor Bruce Miller said of his inspiration in a 2012 interview.
“I gave him the idea of the show and he called back with the idea of ‘Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs.’ At first I was a bit baffled myself until he explained that these were things that were ‘mixed up’ …. like Frasier Crane’s patients.”
Okay, now it makes a bit more sense. But regardless, it’s just fun to listen to, especially when Grammer starts improv-ing about eggs all over his face.
‘The Fall Guy’
A semi-forgotten classic from a time when every show needed a great theme song, this is another song performed by the show’s star. Lee Majors was still a major star from his ’70s turn as “The Six Million Dollar Man” when “The Fall Guy” cast him as a rugged stuntman who solved crimes in his spare time, and the show was a hit for several seasons.
Now, imagine Chris Hemsworth or Daniel Craig belting out a show’s theme song, and you get an idea of how off-the-wall this was at the time. Nevertheless, the song “Unknown Stuntman” is impossibly catchy — especially when you realize it was written by the show’s creator and sung by its lead actor.
‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’
Yeah, yeah, we know we called “Frasier” the best earlier, but that’s just because not everyone loves rap music — even when it’s this clever and catchy. Long before he was hanging out with the “Suicide Squad,” Will Smith was best known as one half of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. So, when NBC came calling with promises of sitcom superstardom, it made perfect sense that he’d write the theme.
“Now this is a story all about how/My life got flipped-turned upside down/I’d like to take a minute/Just sit right there/I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air.” If reading those words doesn’t automatically force you to sing the rest of them aloud, you need to watch more reruns.
‘Walker, Texas Ranger’
If you’ve ever shared an Internet meme, you know that there’s nothing Chuck Norris can’t do. But perhaps you didn’t realize that not only did he star in, produce and even write several episodes of “Walker, Texas Ranger” over its 10-year run … but he also sang the theme song!
According to Chuck Norris legend, the kung-fu cowboy wanted Randy Travis to perform the theme. But after the network talked him into it, Norris spent 12 hours in a recording booth.
With heavy re-tooling from a sound engineer who had to take the mostly-spoken lines and make them sound tonal, a classic TV theme was born. Because you know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed, you’re not Chuck Norris.