Do you know the songwriters behind the Bonanza theme song?

An unsung duo wrote the famous tune, along with many others!

An unforgettable theme song can stick with you long after a show's credits roll. After all, who among us is impervious to the earworm that is the Andy Griffith Show's whistled opening tune? Folks who have never seen Batman from '66 can still hum along to its catchy music. And, perhaps more than any other classic TV Western, Bonanza sets the tone with a memorable melody that perfectly matches the exciting light-hearted mood of the show.

So who wrote Bonanza's signature song?

It turns out that it takes two musical minds to craft something so indelible. Songwriting partners Jay Livingston and Ray Evans crafted the catchy chord progression, mimicking the cadence of galloping horses to introduce the Cartwrights in each episode. While the theme song from Bonanza is arguably the most of famous tune of all the TV Westerns (save, probably, Rawhide), the song was far from the only famous composition from Livingston and Evans.

Prior to the Ponderosa, Livingston and Evans cemented themselves as songcraft commodities with a string of award-winning tunes. Together, they created songs for more than 100 movies, earning seven Oscar nominations along the way. The duo won Academy Awards for "Buttons and Bows," "Mona Lisa," and "Que Sera, Sera," according to The Los Angeles Times.

You'll likely hear their work each and every holiday season as carolers ring in the season with a rendition of Livingston and Evans' "Silver Bells." By the time Livingston passed away in 2001, that composition alone was netting them royalties from a reported three million copies sold annually. 

Fans of talking horses are in luck, too. While they may not have been able to teach a horse to sing, Livingston and Evans did write the theme music for Mr. Ed!

Watch Bonanza on MeTV!

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Runeshaper 8 months ago
WOW! Jay Livingston and Ray Evans were a very talented duo! Everyone loves Mr. Ed, of course (-:
Bapa1 8 months ago
Saw the Earl Scruggs Revue in concert in 1976 in Gainesville. They opened up with The Bonanza Theme.
justjeff 8 months ago
...and there were lyrics attached to the song! In the first episode of the show, the Cartwrights sing/speak some of those lyrics... Here's a full version sung/spoke by the Patriarch of the family, Lorne Greene...
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