Full House's theme song composer wanted to be the next Bob Dylan

Jesse Frederick wrote basically all of the Nineties' best theme songs.

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When an episode of Full House starts, a chorus of singers comes in sighing "ah-ah-ah-ah" before a groovy voice asks, "Whatever happened to predictability?"

It’s likely that audiences got about this far before wanting to chime in and sing along with the massively popular song.

"Everywhere You Look" is one of the Nineties’ most iconic theme songs, written by Jesse Frederick, one of the late Eighties/early Nineties’ most prolific theme song composers.

Frederick wrote the themes of just about every ABC sitcom featured on its popular TGI Friday lineup, including Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step and Perfect Strangers.

He was on a roll, but according to Frederick, he never planned to pen a single theme song.

Instead, Frederick wanted to be the next Bob Dylan.

In the Sixties, he went so far as hanging around members of The Band just to get close to his goal.

"I used to hang out in Woodstock," Frederick told The Associated Press in 1990. "I was pals with The Band. I was trying to be Bob Dylan."

A young songwriter, there likely was no bigger ambition than to follow in Bob Dylan’s footsteps, and to that end, Frederick even put out a self-titled album in 1971.

That self-titled album was produced by rocker Todd Rundgren, and according to Frederick, we have Rundgren to thank for every note of the catchy Full House theme song.

"Todd Rundgren showed me that there was an art to writing a hit single, an art to condensing a song," Frederick said.

Although Frederick never wrote a hit song, he took what he learned from Rundgren and applied it when TV and movie studios started coming around, looking for theme songs.

"With a theme song, it’s even more challenging," Frederick said, comparing theme songs to hit songs.

By the end of the 1970s, Frederick became known in these circles as someone who could produce a catchy song that really hooked audiences.

At that time he felt that "music is music," and he no longer wanted to be Bob Dylan. He realized he was on a different path, and even though it wasn’t the fame he hoped for, it was still a lot of success for a songwriter.

"Millions of people hear your music every week," Frederick said of writing TV theme songs. "And you’re generously paid. But somehow you’re not quite as cool as you’d be if you did something else."

When writing theme songs, Frederick liked to work closely with producers, who would tell him the style of music they wanted and the general theme of the show.

For example, he said that for Perfect Strangers, producers "wanted the theme to sound contemporary, but not too rock & roll. They wanted something real positive. They said, ‘It’s about winning'."

His Perfect Strangers theme song achieved a cult fandom among TV fans, too, and in 1987, at least one fan decided he loved it so much, he wanted to hear that song at his wedding.

"Do you know where I could get the song that’s sung on Perfect Strangers?" the groom’s best friend wrote into the TV column "Ask Pat" in 1987. "My friend is getting married and would like the tune played at his wedding. As his best man, I’m trying to find it."

The TV writer told the best man that Frederick’s theme song was never recorded and that it wasn’t available on sheet music.

The only way to hear it was to record it from his own TV, or perhaps, "in view of the special circumstances, you might throw yourself on the mercies of Lorimar Telepictures and write its Music Department."

We’ll never know if the groom got his special wish, but it’s clear that Frederick’s theme song was deemed to be a winner by fans who wanted to hear it during their own defining life moments.

After his success in the 1990s, Frederick has continued working in the music department on movies and TV shows. He also went on record in the 2000s expressing his disappointment at a TV trend moving away from original compositions toward TV with soundtracks used to launch independent musicians to fame.

He liked it better when theme songs were hatched just for a TV show, using a process he perfected with the help of Todd Rundgren.

"Ironically, there’s an intense process to come up with these songs, and they all come out sounding kind of the same," Frederick said.

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JHP 25 months ago

why does the station keep pushing this feces?
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texasluva texasluva 25 months ago
With a bottle of Rum Ho-Ho 🤨
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 25 months ago
We should probably keep this valuable link you've provided before. And yes the Fugitive was on in 2017 2:00am.

JHP Pacificsun 25 months ago
correct - its called Data Mining and what rules are ratings - that's why this site exists
ColleneGandy 25 months ago
I'm so tired of seeing articles on F.H. they are here every single week. I could careless about the show.
nd1irish ColleneGandy 25 months ago
Solution: Don’t. Read. The. Full. House. Articles. Problem solved. You’re welcome.
harlow1313 25 months ago
I think my favorite TV theme song may well be the one for WKRP. I think it is because it evokes a free spirited longing that resonates with my weirdo nature.
Pacificsun harlow1313 25 months ago
Well I think it perfectly captured the spirit of the show. I've watched a lot sitcoms in life, but it was/is timeless, one of the beauties about radio. In terms of characters, the show was/is so original that "The Office" *tried* to copy the idea.

And except maybe for Steve Carell and John Krasinski (who we know went on to bigger and better things) the storylines were about as useful as Superstore. I know we're not supposed to complain about shows here, but regarding television only, imitation is the poorest form of flattery.

Viewers have to admit, Fever and Tarlike and Venus and Carlson we're irreplaceable originals. And thankfully they never tried to.
harlow1313 Pacificsun 25 months ago

Well, as you probably know, "The Office" was originally a British show that starred Ricky Gervais. I love the show, and there are three or four poignant moments for me that raise it above sitcom (ie: David pleads for his job, Dawn returns for Tim, David tells Finch to ***k off, etc.). It also has a great theme song.

I also enjoy the American version, though it stayed around too many seasons and declined in quality. I love the first five or so seasons. I think both versions captured something about the awkwardness of human interaction in an office setting, which resonates with me.

I think we have to credit the Brits for "The Office."

Pacificsun harlow1313 25 months ago
I agree about British productions (and quality). I've enjoyed the one with Judy Dench, Doc Martin, and others, Fawlty Towers and on it goes.

But American television does a poor job of imitations, because (IMO) they don't have the same level of sophistication, but do have their eye on revenue. And thus my point.

I'm glad "The Office" worked really well for you. It's great to have favorite shows we really look forward to. So I appreciate you reply.
Jeffrey 25 months ago
Hello. I've seen spots lately for Return To Mayberry on Sunday May 1st. at 8 PM, and I'm hoping that means they're going to stop showing rerun after rerun of The Andy Griffith Show weeknights at 8PM Eastern/7 Central and Sundays at 6PM. I'm sick and tired of it. As well as M*A*S*H, and Leave It To Beaver.
LoveMETV22 Jeffrey 25 months ago
No the "Return to Mayberry" is just that one night. They have done " Month of Mayberry" in the past. Here is the story from last year:


There's nothing advertised for it this year though.
It Doesn't mean they will stop showing the Andy Griffith Show. MeTV shows the first five seasons up to Don Knott's departure. They don't air the color or Mayberry RFD series episodes.
There are viewers that enjoy M*A*S*H and Leave it to Beaver. Well at least one night without Monk.
nd1irish Jeffrey 25 months ago
Also: Get off my lawn you kids !
dodgebob 25 months ago
Best theme for all time:
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small
When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head
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dodgebob Pacificsun 25 months ago
Old enough to enjoy, and to young to enlist, and I did try, but I got caught.
Pacificsun dodgebob 25 months ago
IMO the lyrics are very well done. The White Rabbit thing (as a fairytale) is a complicated allegory. But I was disappointed in the audio quality of what was available on YT. Am hoping the song playback from a quality source makes all the difference.
dodgebob Pacificsun 25 months ago
You Tube has many different versions of White Rabbit and FYI Grace Slick is still living I believe next to "Charlie" in Malibu. lol. The lyrics are great, that's why I dubbed it the "Best Theme of all Time" based on how much it was used in the movie industry. You are correct, the live version was a bit to be desired, but I believe that is the best way to here it for the first time.
AgingDisgracefully 25 months ago
Themes for shows I never watched. Coincidence or just good luck?
Kenner 25 months ago
Just throw the right words together and yer a millionaire. How much did “who let the dogs out oooh oooh” I mean the title is the whole song. Think about it.😉
JHP Kenner 25 months ago
thats how stupid society has gotten - inane song for sure ranks right up there with old navy TV ads
Pacificsun 25 months ago
Bosom Buddies ( much better - thanks BJ! )

Pacificsun 25 months ago
Perfect Strangers

justjeff 25 months ago
If you're lucky enough to nail a gig writing a TV show theme song and the show takes off, you'll be well paid by ASCAP or BMI for the mechanical rights reproductions used for TV licensing... especially if the show goes into reruns and also lands on DVD or streaming product.

Now, if you happen to own the publishing as well... more gravy! In that way you don't have to do a split with the publisher on the royaties... AND... if they tap you to sing the song...performance royalties as well!

Example: "Welcome Back" - John Sebastian... writer, singer... may even have owned his own publishing...
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Pacificsun LoveMETV22 25 months ago
Oh I LOVED this article, thank you!

It confirms what the commenters here have been chipping away at for years. Only the article provides the details we needed.

It too bad the artists can't see past what was put into place so long before entertainment habits changed, and the appreciation for classic TV and music skyrocketed. In some cases, the music has become *even* more noteworthy because of its association with the visual (television). Like, I never would've thought to seek out the Wonder Years theme if I wasn't watching the series. They *should* be looking at as the opportunity that the classic series is providing FREE promotion. Both, both of the song, but for introducing (perhaps) a younger to artist, and his albums.

Outdated laws, restrictions, agreements, create disadvantages just as much as incidental revenue (at least over the long term). And yes I get it. An artist wants to protect his/her creative contribution at all costs.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 25 months ago
My side note. Perhaps you wish to call it "off topic" and for that I earn, 20 strikes today.

When I first started posting videos on YouTube about 4+ years ago, with music telling a lot of the story, it was decent to credit the originator, etc.. Although others would cover themselves saying "no copyright infringement intended." As a result, the term "fair use" got bantered back and forth, although there are distinctive reasons for claiming it.

Eventually YouTube figured out they needed to cover themselves, so when any piece of music is used now, they've automated (in template format) the Credit representing that music. Over time, a person could figure out which publishers (usually consortiums) were the most restrictive to forbidding, meaning a selection would likely fail (UMG was a good example although they've loosened up).

As mentioned slightly in the article (link above) a trick could be in the choice of a subtle alternative to the original music which made no difference in the effect. That was the case with "Fool on the Hill." Some music is just so perfect for matching the mood of a scene, it's worth hunting down whatever it takes, in order to succeed.

Also interesting is that concert music (although the audio quality is the pits) passes more easily than studio music. And that's where my observation (in the comment you referenced) pointed back to sharing the revenue the studio artists replaying it. Also (long ago by our standards) when a series (with a generous enough budget) was produced, music was created around it, by watching the film, and the arranger figuring out the appropriate cues (also what's referenced in the link you provided). *That's* why doing so created such an effective entertainment experience.

Some of us get accused of "living in the past" because of our appreciation for classic TV shows. But there are certainly many reasons for us feeling that way. And require no apology.
texasluva Pacificsun 25 months ago
Mid week movie and entertainment previews. Stay tuned for the following on Friday 29 Apr 2022. Including the secret hidden Movie Quiz.
You can catch Ann Miller in Thumbs Up and V For Victory, 1943.

Also many other vids and movie scenes gathered up through time.

After which comes the bonus movies as seen below.

Identity (2003) John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet.

Bye Bye Birdie (1963)- Dick Van Dyke-Ann-Margret-Janet Leigh-Maureen Stapleton-
Bobby Rydell-Paul Lynde
Telephone hour-

Coming this weekend a special showing of HUD-1963- (See Paul Newman as never before)

So bring out your guessing wares come Friday at: Can you match these rabbits and bunny costumes to the right TV shows?
horribleHDanny justjeff 25 months ago
As should we all!!
Runeshaper 25 months ago
Jesse Frederick sounds like a very talented man. Lots of solid theme songs from his mind to our ears (-:
WordsmithWorks 25 months ago
Call it schmaltzy or sappy, but the song is an earworm. Plus the lyrics are nice. "Everywhere you look there's a heart, a hand to hold on to." You can't not like that.
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Pacificsun LoveMETV22 25 months ago
... pssst, let me know when I'm out of the doghouse! ...
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 25 months ago
LOL. Don't be afraid. I put the 🎣🎣 (Fishing pole and fish emoji) out. Now it's a ✋➕👀 (wait and see) LOL.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 25 months ago
This is the commercial:
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 25 months ago
1st response in. I posted the commercial in reply.
Michael 25 months ago
I can't remember the lyrics to any of the shows mentioned. It was a shift away from lyrics that explained the premise of the show.

Maybe the shows didn't have a complicated setting that needed explanation.
Pacificsun Michael 25 months ago
Yeah, but the shows that worked them into the theme song made them outrageously memorable. You might not be able to watch Gilligan's Island for the 1,000th time. But *everyone* can recite that Song.
Pacificsun Michael 25 months ago
I don't know, while not all of them tell a "story" like Gilligan's Island, there is still something to be picked up in the melodies. It sets the tone, atmosphere for the show. Certainly applies to Hawaii Five-O, and Rockford Files, and Magnum P.I.

Maybe I've just been watching too much TV my whole life (duhh) but I identify with what my hunch says, was the composers "feeling" about the series. Or maybe that comes from associating the titles with the music, like Mannix. And one of the most original opening credits out there.

But even with Dallas (an evening soap opera) doesn't the big feel of the music comply with the big feeling of Dallas, and the expansive family drama.

Just a thought ....
harlow1313 25 months ago
I weep to learn of this connection to the eclectic Todd Rundgren.
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