’80s Television Theme Songs: Action/Adventure/Police Shows

Welcome back to our look back at television theme songs. If you missed the previous posts, you can check out some great comedy theme songs in Part 1 and Part 2. Today, we will enjoy some themes of our favorite action/adventure/police shows.

Miami Vice

Obviously, we need to start with the ultimate ’80s TV show. When you mention Television in the ’80s, the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is Miami Vice. It had action, excess, fashion, Don Johnson, and, of course, the soundtrack of the ’80s. Just to name a few music artists who either appeared on the show, provided music, or both were: The Power Station, Glenn Frey, Willie Nelson, The Fat Boys, Gene Simmons, Sheena Easton, and Phil Collins.
So, with all that star power, there needs to be an awesome theme song. And Jan Hammer came through by writing and performing the definitive ’80s theme song. Even though it was an instrumental, the Miami Vice Theme topped the Billboard Charts in 1985. It also garnered two Grammy Awards. I must admit that it’s not my favorite song on today’s list, but there’s no denying it’s place in ’80s history.

My favorite part of Tuesday nights, began with this:

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you can hire… The A-Team.

One other note about this song. If you ever have an earworm (a song stuck in your head), you will get rid of it by listening to the theme from The A-Team. I swear that this really works.

Magnum P.I.
This is another one of my favorite themes of the ’80s. While I enjoy Tom Selleck on Blue Bloods these days, I really miss his Thomas Magnum. What a great show!

The Dukes of Hazzard
Speaking of missing people, I also miss the late, great Waylon Jennings. Not only did he write and perform the theme for The Dukes of Hazzard (“The Good Ol’ Boys”), he also narrated the show. This song reached #1 on the Country chart in 1980, and peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yeeee Haaaaa!!!

The Greatest American Hero
“Believe It or Not”, the hits just keep on coming! Joey Scarbury’s hit would peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was in the Top 40 for 18 weeks. Oh, and the show was pretty awesome too!

The Fall Guy
The Fall Guy‘s theme, “Unknown Stuntman”, is sung by the show’s star, Lee Majors.

Hardcastle & McCormick
We get two awesome songs for the price of one here! The original theme for Hardcastle & McCormick, “Drive”, was composed by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer and sung by David Morgan.
However, for the first part of Season 2, the theme song was changed to “Back to Back”, also composed by Post and Geyer but sung by Joey Scarbury (yes, that Joey Scarbury from The Greatest American Hero).
But, after many complaints, the original “Drive” theme song was brought back. I do prefer “Drive”, but I do like “Back to Back” a lot. I think that it was better than a lot of other theme songs. Take a listen, and see which you prefer. Here is “Drive”:

And here is “Back to Back”:

21 Jump Street

Here is another outstanding theme song. It is performed by Holly Robinson, who also starred in the show.


Just like The Dukes of Hazzard, this was another great show that began in the ’70s and ran through the beginning of the ’80s. It does have a little ’70s sound to it, but I love it.

Hill Street Blues
We have reached the final song for the day, so let’s be careful out there. This critical darling and audience favorite of a show also had an iconic theme song. It was written by Mike Post, and reached #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in November 1981.

And just as in the comedies, we have the “problem” of there being many more theme songs we need to cover. It looks like we will have another round of this in the upcoming weeks. Tomorrow we will cover some evening soap operas and dramas. And Friday, we will check out cartoon theme songs. Geez, I think we could do an entire week with just cartoon theme songs alone!
Well, I hope you enjoyed these songs today. Please let me know what you think, and tell us what some of your favorite shows or theme songs were.

6 thoughts on “’80s Television Theme Songs: Action/Adventure/Police Shows”

  1. “Obviously, we need to start with the ultimate โ€™80s TV show. When you mention Television in the โ€™80s, the first thing that pops into most peopleโ€™s minds is Magnum PI.”
    But I could see your point, too…

    Never watched 21 Jump Street, and I think I mentioned before about not watching Hardcastle and McCormick, but I’m very familliar with the others. My favorite song is the Magnum theme, and my favorite show is probably The Fall Guy. Or is it the other way around?

    Simon and Simon had a couple of good theme songs as well.

    I will take your advice concerning the A-Team song. I get “earworms” all the time, so I hope it works!


    1. I like Magnum P.I. more than Miami Vice – the show and the song. But, I think Miami Vice is more of a time capsule of the ’80s. Magnum P.I. is timeless!! Well, except for his short shorts. The mustache even lives on!! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I don’t think I watched 21 Jump Street too often. I didn’t watch too many shows regularly in the late ’80s-early ’90s.
      Let me know if the A-Team cure for earworms works!


  2. This is driving me crazy….I could swear Donald Fagen’s New Frontier was the intro to some 80s tv show, but I can’t find anything online on it. Anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I got it. It sounds like the Mad About You theme. And this is suspicious. The Mad About You theme is named Final Frontier, and not New Frontier. And Donald Fagen is not mentioned anywhere. I smell a copyright lawsuit! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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