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The Top 15 Greatest 1990s Cartoon Theme Songs of All Time
There are few decades that can compare to the 1990’s cartoons. Saturday mornings were truly a time of nirvana for kids as they enjoyed their preferred sugary cereal all while watching great animated shows. Even years after viewing these programs, many can’t forget the quality of their favorite cartoons.
One big reason that made a certain cartoon so memorable was in fact the catchy, upbeat and well written theme songs that would introduce the TV show. To celebrate these unforgettable songs from one of the best decades to be a kid, comes: “The Top 15 Greatest Cartoon Theme Songs of the 1990’s”.
To make this list, only cartoon programs that were created in the 1990’s were included (apology to all the DuckTales fans). Although there are plenty of cartoons in history to consider, this list will focus on that particular decade. Also important to remember is these are solely based on the theme songs themselves, not the show overall.
15. Bobby's World
Bobby’s World was a memorable show in general, but the theme song got stuck in your head for days. The tone and flair fit perfectly with the animation’s unique style and atmosphere. The concept of a little 4-year old boy getting into adventures can plainly be seen throughout the opening. The synthesizers playing in the theme are wonderfully done, and takes you back to your childhood. Especially if you grew up in the 1980’s since it could almost be parallel to a Devo song. Interesting to note too, this was a big start for Howie Mandel’s career in the TV business as he created and did some of the voice work for the show.
14. Batman Beyond
Much like today, it was hard to avoid anything related to Batman in the 90’s. Rounding out the decade came Batman Beyond, a show that set the city of Gotham in the future year of 2039. Instead of Bruce Wayne helming the role of the caped cruiser, the mantle is taken up by a 17 year-old boy by the name of Terry McGinnis. Bruce Wayne is now in the mentor role as they work together to take on crime in the cyberpunk era of the future. The theme song is simple but really started off the show with a bang. It captures the dark and Sci-Fi tone of the future very nicely. The beat and guitar lick couldn’t help but get your juices pumped for the show. When you heard the opening, you knew something epic was coming.
13. Eek! The Cat
Some cartoons pushed the limits of how different and silly they could be, and Eek! The Cat was no exception. The introduction didn’t hold back from displaying the sights and sounds of what the makeup of the show was all about. The theme song has a catchy guitar riff that plays over the peril that the poor cat Eek! has to endure. One thing after another happens to the feline for the minute opening of the show, but you can’t help but laugh and enjoy the music that goes along with it. Eek! The Cat may not be as well recognized as other cartoons, but its theme song is brilliantly done.
What do you get when you cross a superhero with the powers of super strength and speed, but has a manic personality? You get Freakazoid! A Steven Spielberg produced cartoon in the mid 90’s of television. Much like Tiny Toon Adventures before it, Freakazoid took a strange and interesting approach to its humor. The theme song captures that perfectly. Wacky and outright silly, it explains the premise of the show by its lyrics like: “Freakazoid! Freakazoid! Runs around in underwear…”, and a random word like “Chimpanzee!” thrown in. If you watched it on a regular basis, you couldn’t help but sing along with its theme song each and every time.
Doug was the very first Nicktoon to air on Nickelodeon back in 1991, along with Rugrats and Ren and Stimpy. Still highly praised today by many, the theme song was simple yet super catchy. Although its lyrics consist of nothing but “dos”, ask anyone who watched the show and they’ll hum the theme easily for you.
Before the now famous X-Men movies in the 2000’s and beyond, there was the animated series of X-Men in the 90's. The charm of the series is best remembered by the opening action and cool music. For something as larger-than-life as X-Men, a certain kind of theme song had to be conceived. Thankfully, we got an awesome theme song to kick off the exciting series each and every episode. As a result among other things, to many it is considered one of the best superhero TV shows of all time.
9. Rocko's Modern Life
It might be remembered for its sometimes gross and weird humor, but Rocko’s Modern Life also had a groovy opening for the show. It has such a pleasant but upbeat sound that you can’t help but enjoy it. Over the years, it went through several changes in recordings but the overall concept stayed the same. It didn’t hurt having one of the versions performed by the B-52’s also.
Some of the songs that were released in the 1990’s had some hard rock from the 1980’s mixed in, and Spider-Man: The Animated Series had plenty of that in its theme song. Most remember the 1981 Spider-Man theme fondly (Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can…), but the 1994 theme is no pushover. Although the lyrics are merely the title said in a robot-kind of voice over and over, it’s the 1980’s rock sound that sets it apart. Clips from the series are sprinkled in throughout and the theme can’t help but mend together beautifully with it. For a kids show, it probably had one of the most action-packed openings ever. Throw in the fact that Joe Perry from Aerosmith composed and performed the guitar parts, and you’ve got one of the greatest cartoon theme songs of all time.
“Spin it!” If that line doesn’t cause you to sing “Oh-ye-ey” and “Oh-ey-oh”, then possibly you missed one of the classic cartoons of the 90’s. Only lasting for a couple seasons, the show still is well remembered by fans of the 90’s. Characters such as Baloo were taken from the timeless 1967 Disney movie: “The Jungle Book”, and given a new, well spin on things. Baloo is set as the main character, taking on the role as a cargo pilot. The opening segment details nicely the different aspects that the show covers from action to comedy. However, the most memorable part is the theme song set in a Jamaican/Reggae style. It’s so catchy, that you’ll find yourself singing along even if you’ve only heard it a few times.
6. Goof Troop
Much like TaleSpin, Disney decided to continue the trend of taking older and popular characters and viewing them in a different perspective with the cartoon Goof Troop. The lovable Goofy was set as an oblivious single-parent father of his son Max, and explored different adventures with slapstick humor. However the theme song is one of the most unforgettable things about the show. The hip hop/funk style can’t help but get you grooving to lyrics such as “Like father, like son. We’re always number one.” It fits nicely with the overall atmosphere, and will have you saying “Yeah!” after hearing it every time.
5. Darkwing Duck
The 1990’s was truly all about Disney and taking over movies and television. They knew what they were doing when it came to giving kids the entertainment they wanted. Darkwing Duck was an animated show loved by kids that enjoyed action and comedy. It was a spin off concept of the popular adventure series DuckTales, but Darkwing Duck instead went the direction of a more superhero theme. The result was an entertaining show with one of the best theme songs. One area that Disney excelled at was getting their theme songs stuck in your head with simple, yet engaging melodies. Darkwing Duck has built a solid fan base since its release, as every fan knows, “when there’s trouble you call D.W.”
4. Captain Planet
“The power is yours!” If you grew up in the 90’s, recycling and saving the environment was starting to catch fire (not literally, it’s not good for the planet). To promote to kids the importance of cutting down on pollution, Captain Planet was conceived with much acclaim. Soon enough most kids wanted to be a part of the Captain Planet and the Planeteers team. One of the best parts was the now classic and epic theme song. The opening segment consisted of explaining the story, characters and perception of the show. But the end credits on the other hand, was where it was really at. Kids who acted out being Captain Planet couldn’t help but sing the theme song as they played. It was that catchy. “Captain Planet he’s a hero! Going to take pollution down to zero!” That's pure gold right there.
3. Tiny Toon Adventures
As timeless as the Looney Toons cartoons were, Warner Bros. understood they could cash in on its universe of characters by giving it a facelift for a newer generation. Although characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig would make appearances, Tiny Toons consisted of new characters based off of them. Babs and Buster Bunny were based off Bugs, and were mostly the center of the show. Still the program had many other characters based off of the well-known cartoons and continued the slapstick comedy of the Looney Tunes. The opening and theme song perfectly captured this. The song introduces the main Toons of the series, yet keeps the fun and excitement present. You knew what you were going to get when you watched that first minute, and found yourself still humming the theme afterward.
Even today it is hard to find children who have never heard of Arthur. Getting its start back in the 90’s, Arthur grew into a huge hit. By its children books, PBS adopted the world of Arthur into an ongoing TV show. What many remember is its super fun and enjoyable opening credits. Taking us through Arthur’s family, friends and imagination, the Reggae melody made you want to get off the couch and start dancing. Even if some of the lyrics can be all over the place, it gives a good message “to learn to work and play, and get along with each other.” Its long run on television is clear proof of its impact on kid’s shows, and its theme song is one of the reasons why.
“It’s time for Animaniacs. And we’re zany to the max.” That first line explains it all. Animaniacs was one of the most entertaining shows in general, but had the best theme song for cartoons in the 1990’s. With a long list of characters that were inspired and produced by Steven Spielberg, we as kids in the 90’s couldn’t have been more entertained. The Warner Bros. Yakko and Wakko and their sister Dot always found a way to get in trouble and led to being locked in the water tower. But as the song explained, they broke out time and again. It was a show that could be enjoyed by kids, but also young adults since some of the humor aimed at a much older audience. To this day, it is a theme song that most can agree never gets old and can still make you laugh.
Agree with this list? What was your favorite cartoon theme song of the 1990s? Comment below and mention your favorites!