Sometimes, a tune previously a theme of a specific character
, setting or otherwise, will become so popular and synonymous
with the series itself that it becomes the accepted Theme Tune
of the series. At this point, the theme will increasingly become prominent in anything related to the source, and, if there is already a theme for it, that theme may be replaced with the popular one.
This is a kind of Recurring Riff
that becomes a straight up theme. If there is already a theme in place that is not as remembered as the Bootstrapped Theme, it can become a form of Title Confusion
or I Am Not Shazam
If you're wondering about the name, "bootstrapping" refers to an old Baron Munchausen story in which the titular character pulls himself and his horse out of a swamp by literally pulling himself up by his own bootstraps
(or his own hair, it depends on the version). You can read more about it at The Other Wiki here
. Thus, these are songs that have taken center stage through their own merits, not because any creator really wanted it to be thus.
This term is also used in fields such as statistics (as a sampling method, more at The Other Wiki here
) and computer processing (where it's usually abbreviated to "booting up" or the like).
Compare Bootstrapped Leitmotif
, where the Recurring Riff
becomes a Leitmotif
rather than a Theme Tune
. See also Level 1 Music Represents
, where the Leitmotif
is derived from the music of a video game's first stage.
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Anime and Manga
- Warner Bros. had a theme for their logo, but it never caught on as the 20th Century Fox theme did. Now they have "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca.
- The original theme had a short comeback in the early 1980s, when Warners ditched the 1970s abstract logo and brought back the shield. It was also the Warner Home Video theme for a while.
- Warner Animation used the last four notes of the Animaniacs theme ("Those are the facts!"), but switched to the last notes of "Merrily We Roll Along" in 2009.
- Casablanca itself is an example, too. The filmmakers wrote a song, specifically to be featured in the movie, which they were absolutely certain would become wildly popular, top all the charts, and become synonymous with the film. And that song was... "Knock on Wood." Seriously.
- Likewise, the studio had high hopes for "Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep" as the Breakaway Pop Hit from Holiday Inn. It actually was a bit of a breakout hit at the time, but nowhere near as big as "White Christmas" (though it's well-documented that Irving Berlin himself recognised the latter's hit potential from the start).
- From 1993-1998, MGM/UA Home Video's fanfare was based on the opening logo from The Wizard of Oz.
- The main theme from Star Wars was actually Luke's theme. John Williams originally wanted to write a new main theme for the prequel trilogy, but Luke's theme was so well-associated with the franchise that they kept it during the opening crawl (and maybe once or twice in the underscore of The Phantom Menace). That said, Luke does get his own theme in the course of the narrative itself: that "longing" tune that is heard as he watches Tatooine's twin suns set outside his farmhouse, which later becomes tragic as he finds his aunt's and uncle's burned skeletons outside that same farmhouse. However, even that theme is recycled at the end of the movie as celebratory fanfare for the Rebel Alliance.
- To a lesser degree, what started out as Obi-Wan's theme in the original movie became the generic Force theme in each of the later movies (Revenge of the Sith kind of switched back and forth with the associations).
- According to John Williams in the Making of Star Wars Book:
Sunset: "George asked for Ben's theme there once he had heard it. I had originally scored that scene with Luke's theme, but when he heard the other, he said 'Could you put Ben's theme in there?' He liked it for some reason or other better for that scene. It is contemplative and reflective, and it works really very well. I think I have to say in the end he was very right."
Throne Room: "The entrance to the throne room has a big fanfare as they come in, and Ben's theme is used in a kind of parade way. In this sense it represents the triumph of the values of the Old Republic."
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, you have to mention that Jack Sparrow's theme and "He's A Pirate," both of which became the extremely recognizable parts of the series - the first within it, the second outside of it.
- It's starting to supplant the Indiana Jones theme as the quintessential adventure theme. It was used in a commercial for a History channel special or some such about Ancient Greece, and Top Gear used it for a car-verses-ice kayak race.
- "He's a Pirate" was already an example of this. The number of people out there who love this piece of music, but think that it is Jack Sparrow's theme, is astonishingly high. Thing is, it isn't Jack Sparrow's theme... its Will Turner's theme.
- What is recognized as the "Harry Potter theme" is actually called "Hedwig's Theme".
- Alexandre Desplat, who scored Parts 1 and 2 of Deathly Hallows, has stated that he decided to associate the theme with the innocence of the early installments, which (to his own regret) meant that it couldn't be used very much. The music is heard and then cuts off abruptly when Hedwig dies, giving it the double association of the death of Hedwig herself and the end of Harry's innocence. In Hallows, Part 2, it is played when Harry returns to Hogwarts and when Hogwarts is saved from Snape's reign.
- "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. While the Oompa-Loompa melody (which turns up four times!) is arguably even catchier and rivals it for popularity, "Pure Imagination" sums up both Willy Wonka's character and the atmosphere of the story so well — and has become so beloved over the years — that it was incorporated into the otherwise all-new stage musical adaptation of the source novel in 2013, serving as The Eleven O'Clock Number. So it's effectively become the theme song of the story itself, not just one adaptation thereof.
- Although Batman's theme in The Dark Knight Saga didn't fully develop until The Dark Knight, the track "Molossus" from Batman Begins seems to have become the main theme of the Nolan movies. It was heavily featured in the trailers for TDK, and the movie itself uses the five-note brass motif in key scenes.
- From 28 Days Later, "In the House, In a Heartbeat," which is used once in the climax of the movie, is frequently treated as the movie's theme. 28 Weeks Later carries on with this and runs the song into the ground.
- Rocky composer Bill Conti had already written a quieter, sadder sounding piano theme for Rocky's character in the contemplative moments of the movie. Director John Avidson then asked Conti to write something inspiring for the training montage. Conti just started off with the fanfare that opens the movie, took the sad theme he had already written and added a beat and some lyrics and it became "Gonna Fly Now" which became Rocky's theme.
- Many consider "The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie to be the theme for the Muppets as a whole. It was even played on the organ at the beginning of Jim Henson's memorial service.
- Although the cast and crew hated the song, "Talk to the Animals," when they made the film Doctor Dolittle, it is now inseparable with the title character.
- In Madagascar, Sacha Baron Cohen's improvising the words for a cover of "I Like to Move It," changed the song from an one off joke for his character to the de facto theme song of the film series.
- Oliver & Company: "Why Should I worry" was originally just the "I Am" Song for the character Dodger, but is easily the most iconic song from the movie.
- Pinocchio has "When You Wish Upon A Star". It's notable for not being a Bootstrapped Theme for a character or a series, but for a company.
- One of the biggest hit records of all time was Percy Faith's lush rendition of the "Theme from A Summer Place", which held the #1 spot on the Billboard chart for nine straight weeks in 1960. However, while the tune was introduced in the score to the 1959 movie A Summer Place (for which it was composed by Max Steiner), it's not actually the main theme, just a secondary love theme for two of its characters.
- The Silent Hill movies use "Promise (Reprise)" as an impromptu theme. It originated in one scene from the second video game, but is used repeatedly in both movies and also opens the trailers to both. Ironically, the game series has an actual theme song titled "Silent Hill," but only the opening of this song is ever heard in the movies - over the studio logo to the first film, before the movie proper even starts.
Live Action TV
- The famous Mission: Impossible theme was originally written by Lalo Schifrin for a chase scene at the end of the pilot. Creator/producer Bruce Geller zeroed in on it as exactly the sort of thing he wanted for the opening credits.
- The "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music (officially titled "Think!") on the original Art Fleming-hosted version of Jeopardy (1964-74) became so famous that, when the show was revived in 1984 with current host Alex Trebek, a rearrangement of "Think!" became the show's theme song as well. To this day, the show still uses arrangements of that same melody for the theme tune and think music.
- Bob James' instrumental Taxi theme, "Angela", was originally written for a single scene involving a character of that name in the first-season episode "Blind Date". But the producers liked the piece so much they decided to make it the title theme for the whole series.
- The first season of The Twilight Zone used a different theme tune, which was composed by by Bernard Herrmann. For the second season on, the now-familiar theme was produced by splicing together two cues by Marius Constant named "Etrange 3" and "Milieu 2," written for the show but not intended to be used as theme music.
- Lexx's Brunnen-G battle hymn became the show's most popular piece of music, and was used in the opening credits starting with Season 3.
- In Andromeda, the motif that was originally Dylan Hunt's theme (by series composer Matthew McCauley) became the main title theme from the second season on, replacing the first-season theme, "The March of the High Guard" (by Alex Lifeson of Rush).
- The "Requiem for the Line" from Babylon 5 originally appeared in flashbacks to a key moment of the backstory in the first season. It was bootstrapped into the title sequence for the third season.
- Eight Is Enough had a instrumental theme tune in the first two seasons. On the second season episode "Who's On First" eldest son David sings a song with lyrics called "Eight Is Enough" at a school talent show. It became the show's theme song the following season.
- Johnny Pearson's "Heavy Action" is now widely thought of as the Monday Night Football theme, but it was originally composed for a BBC sports series (Superstars), and on MNF itself it was originally just used as background music for halftime highlights, not becoming the opening theme until several years later.
- Supernatural has no real theme song. However, "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas has frequently been used for recap montages. Between that and the fact that it sums up the two main characters pretty damn well, it's become something of a unofficial theme for the show.
- Murphy Brown used many, many classic 60's rock tunes during its runs as the opening theme as a Couch Gag, but "Rescue Me" is always played as its theme during awards shows.
- Red Dwarf's closing theme was retooled for its opening theme from Series 3 onwards. The original opening theme continued to be used as incidental music.
- Glee has No Theme Tune, surprisingly for a musical series. However, the song "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey has gone on to be the theme song for the show and its characters; its status as this trope was cemented in season 5, where virtually every member of the New Directions sang it (since the glee club was going to be disbanded).
- In the Classic series of Doctor Who, the stock music "Space Adventure pt. 2" is considered to be the theme of the Cybermen during the black-and-white era, but was not always used for Cyberman-related moments.
- The Union Underground recorded "Across the Nation" to be Test's theme; however, WWE decided to use it as the theme for its Monday Night Raw program instead. This required a bit of editing, as the original version featured a prominent "TEST!" chant in the bridge.
- Mick Foley continued to use Mankind's "Wreck" theme well after he stopped the Mankind gimmick. It has become the Mick Foley theme altogether.
- Teddy Long has used Rodney Mack's "Mack Militant" theme long after he managed Mack and after Mack left the company. Because of this, it is more associated with him than Mack.
- While "Sexy Boy" has always been about Shawn Michaels, it refers specifically to the "Heart Break Kid" persona that he never used again after the mid-1990s (despite continuing to go by the nickname itself). The line "I'm not your boy-toy" is an indirect reference to Michaels's manager, Sensational Sherri (to whom he really was a boy-toy)...but Michaels continued to use the theme not only long after Sherri had left WWE, but after she had died.
- John Cena's "You Can't See Me" continued to be his theme after he abandoned the rap gimmick. The song was originally used to promote Cena's rap album on which it appears. His well-known entrance theme, "The Time Is Now", was the first track on that album.
- Not quite a Theme Tune, but worth mentioning: the Act One finale of the musical Strike Up The Band, Jim and Joan (the principal couple) quarrel and split (until they reconcile in the second act), and her musical denunciation of him included four strangely lyrical bars. Although it was common in musicals of the 1920s for the Act One finale to include reprises of earlier numbers, with or without new lyrics, these four bars were not a reprise of any number in the version of Strike Up The Band which played Philadelphia in 1927. This version of the show failed to reach New York, but a few years later, a revised version of the show ran successfully on Broadway. In this version, Jim and Joan's love duet was a new song called "Soon," which George and Ira Gershwin developed out of those four bars mentioned above.
- Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna doesn't have an official theme, but the melody of the opening number, "All Come Together", is a prominent recurring riff.
- The Gusty Garden Galaxy theme has become more or less the main theme for the Super Mario Galaxy series. Portions of it appear in several areas of the first game (Purple Coin levels, the end credits); and in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it was used in the trailer-specific composition, and makes a few more appearances in the game itself. After that, the theme has reappeared several times, either in its entirety or as a snippet in another theme, and it's even used in Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS as the theme of Super Mario Galaxy's Rosalina in her debut trailer.
- While the overall Sonic series and the classic titles are know for this theme, Thanks to Sonic Adventure 2's Even Better Sequel status and its remake's Newbie Boom, Live and Learn, the main theme of the game, is arguably the theme of "Modern Sonic", either the series or the character. It was used in his Brawl introduction video, several promos for the 20th anniversary, and as his power up theme when fighting Shadow in Generations.
- The Heavy's theme in Team Fortress 2's Meet the Team series is simply known as the "TF2 Theme" because it is so iconic and does a good job in representing Team Fortress 2 as a crazy, hilarious, 1960s setting game.
- The Castle Lololo theme from Kirby has somehow become bootstrapped to Dyna Blade, as was the case in Kirby Air Ride and Kirby Super Star Ultra. The Milky Way Wishes theme has also bootstrapped itself to Green Greens (aka the main theme of the Kirby series) starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee. Also thanks to Smash Bros., the music that plays during the Gourmet Race mini-game in Kirby's Super Star ended up as Kirby's action theme.
- The "Underworld" level music for Kid Icarus was reused as the theme for the series as a whole when it was revived nearly 20 years later.
- The Hell March of Command & Conquer: Red Alert became the series's theme. Speaking of CnC, we also have "Act on Instinct" (the most known music of Tiberian Dawn), and Renegade had "Got a Present for Ya," which was presented as "Havoc's theme".
- The intro music to the first maze of Pac-Man is only played when you hit Start, but since it's the very first thing you hear when you play it, it's currently an icon of the series. 20th Anniversary Pac-Man World, in fact, plays a remix of this theme as soon as you enter a maze.
- MOTHER has "Eight Melodies (Queen Mary's Lullaby)", which also made remixed appearances in each subsequent game as well as, again, being part of one of the MOTHER remixes for Super Smash Bros..
- Metroid: Super Metroid had a couple different boss battle themes that played for multiple bosses. The one that just happened to play during encounters with Ridley (along with Torizo, Draygon, and the escape sequences) has been permanently branded as the "Theme of Ridley". Being the most recognizable recurring boss of the series, each new Metroid game brings with it a new remix of the theme whenever he appears. Funnily enough, Metroid Fusion had two different remixes of this theme, the second of which was used as an escape theme. Super Smash Bros. Brawl also had two remixes of this same track for two different versions of Ridley. In a similar fashion, the Zero Mission remake makes Kraid's boss theme the other main boss theme from Super Metroid (which was used for Kraid, Phantoon, and Crocomire), effectively making it his Leitmotif.
- Mega Man (Classic)
- The title theme from Mega Man 2 has more or less become the title character's theme tune, being reused by several games in the main series & also as his theme when he appears in crossovers such as Marvel vs. Capcom. A (barely) less popular version is the Mega Man 3 title theme. Anniversary Collection uses both of them for its intro.
- The Wily Stage 1 theme from Mega Man 2 is also quite iconic, and has accompained the Blue Bomber a few times. To hammer the above point as well, his debut trailer Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS, they use both the Mega Man 2 title and Wily Stage 1 themes.
- Mega Man Zero has Clover, the theme song from the second MMZ game, particularly the fast-paced version that serves as the BGM for the intro stage. It's strange, because before he got his series, back in the Mega Man X series he actually got a completely new leitmotif for every game (except in X5 and X6) he was in, though the one from X1 reappears in Z1's intro stage.
- Mega Man Legends "Mega Man Trigger" has also gotten this treatment. The Flutter vs. the Gesellschaft battle theme from the first game has been remixed for every single cameo of the Legends characters in Namco X Capcom, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- The "Orc War Room" theme from Warcraft II plays in the game's main menu, and is thus considered its main theme. Some fans even think of it as the series' motif.
- The main theme to Age of Empires started as an ordinary soundtrack in the first game.
- Most people outside Russia think of Korobeiniki as the Tetris theme... unless you grew up playing it on the NES, in which case you probably think of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
- Final Fantasy
- Officially, the theme song of the series is "Final Fantasy" (It's also known as "Prologue," because that's what it was called in Final Fantasy IV). Unofficially, while it is recognizable, it shares the title of "theme of the series" with three other pieces: the "Prelude" or "Crystal Theme," the "Chocobo Theme", and probably most of all, the "Victory Fanfare".
- Final Fantasy VII:
- "Let the Battles Begin!", "Fight On!", "J-E-N-O-V-A", and "One-Winged Angel" are the best known songs from the game.
- "Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII" is often thought of as Cloud's theme as he has no named Leitmotif of his own. A passage from the theme (the second, more dissonant section) is used to accompany a very significant moment in his character development - a passage absent from all other variations on the theme - so it's possible that passage was intended to be his theme.
- Final Fantasy IX: Melodies of Life (at least the instrumental version) was largely Garnet's theme, as she hums it throughout the game. But ask anyone what song they associate with the game, it's just that.
- Final Fantasy X: Yuna's theme, based upon Suteki Da Ne, is probably the most associated with the game in general. Although Hymn of the Fayth may also serve as a Bootstrapped Leitmotif for the game. (Tidus's theme seems to have become the bootstrapped leitmotif for the blitzball players and storyline section dealing with the sport.)
- Though Final Fantasy XIII does have its own quite well-known theme, it's just as often assosiated with its main battle theme: "Blinded By Light".
- Fire Emblem has a well-known theme song, but a lot of people in the west associate it with the encounter/recruitment theme known as "Together, We Ride", due to Marth's late debut. Oddly enough, the song used in Super Smash Bros. contains the theme proper in its latter half, though the "Together, We Ride" part definitely overshadows it.
- "Theme of Adol" from the Ys series, although there is at least one game in which it doesn't appear (The Ark of Napishtim). Also, "Feena" from I and II, and the Recurring Riff that appears several times in both IV and VI.
- Fatal Fury has "Kiss for Geese". It doesn't matter what game he's in, guaranteed, Geese Howard will have a variation of this music track coming with him, with the only exception being the SNK vs. Capcom series.
- The King of Fighters:
- "Esaka?" Originally used as the Japan Team's theme in KOF '96, it was brought back two years later in KOF '98 for the first "Dream Match" title. Following this, it received a number of remixes for KOF '99, KOF 2002 and KOF 2003, used as the theme for the multiple clones of the series' hero, Kyo Kusanagi.
- "Psycho Soldier" technically predates the KOF series (Being used as the main theme for the arcade game of the same name), but is far more recognized as the recurring theme of the Psycho Soldier Team within KOF, having remixes in '94, '96, '97, and 2002.
- The first Art of Fighting had the theme for Ryuhaku Todoh, the very first opponent that's fought. The song has essentially become synonymous with both the series and the characters, especially main character Ryo Sakazaki. Any time Ryo shows up, you can be almost guaranteed that this song will tag along either via remix or via a new theme very heavily inspired by it; "Kamikirimushi" from '96 and "Fight to the Limit" from 2001 being the only real exceptions.
- The title Theme Tune to the first Twisted Metal is "Twisted Theme", but the more common Recurring Riff in the game is that of "Asphalt Assault".
- The Wild Arms series has "Into the Wilderness", the intro theme of the first game. It has been remixed and sampled several times throughout the series since.
- Lucca's Theme from Chrono Trigger became the battle victory music in Chrono Cross. There are rumors that the tune was intended as Chrono Trigger's battle victory theme, but was repurposed as Lucca's Theme when CT's battle victory theme was phased out along with some other musical ideas left on the cutting room floor.
- Shin Super Robot Wars: "Everywhere You Go", theme of Ryusei Date has become the theme song of Banpresto, the company that makes the games. Whenever you see their logo, expect the first few notes to play.
- "Velvet Room," originally an incidental piece in Megami Ibunroku Persona and Persona 2, was elevated to this status by its use as "The Poem For Everyone's Souls" in Persona 3, to the point it even became that game's Final Battle theme.
- Reach Out for the Truth, the main battle theme for Persona 4 is a wierd case of both this and Bootstrapped Lietmotif. The song is often seen as the main theme for the game it appears in, but it became the battle theme for Yu in Persona 4 Arena
- Marvel vs. Capcom:
- "I Wanna Take You For a Ride", the character select screen music from Marvelvs Capcom 2, a game infamous for its Soundtrack Dissonance. This song is the only piece of music that's fondly remembered among fans. It was sampled for a song called "Take U 4 Ryde" by Talib Kweli and Oh No for the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 mixtape and the latest Marvel vs. Capcom 3 trailer has a remix of the song playing at the end of the trailer.
- Wwhile character themes shuffle around quite a bit, a few fighters were able to keep their iconic music. Most notably, there's Spider-Man, whose theme from Marvel Super Heroes has followed him into every subsequent Vs. appearance (MSHvs.SF ver., MvC ver., MvC3 ver.). Ditto for Captain America. (MSH, MSHvSF, MvC, MvC3).
- The title theme for Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was reused in several later titles in the series. Marc Baril, composer for the later games, favored making a more original soundtrack, but even he couldn't resist making a rendition of his own.
- The Legendary Starfy has Lobber's Cave, the first world featuring the titular old lobber man teaching Starfy to spin in means of attack. The theme got spun around in different styles for first four titles.
- Silent Hill 2 has "Theme of Laura", which is considered the theme for the game, if not the series, rather than just Laura herself. The opening theme to Silent Hill 1 may also be considered the series theme, as the melody in the second half is reused in most of the subsequent games, and a version With Lyrics is used for the credits of Silent Hill 3.
- Halo: Reach does not have a piece explicitly stated to be the main theme, but because the "Unreconciled" portion of "Tip of The Spear" is so awesome and contains a reprise of the original Halo theme, many consider it to be the main theme. Also, Halo 3: ODST also has no explicit main theme, but Orbital Drop Shock Trooper is widely considered to be the main theme, both because of its awesomeness and because of its title.
- "The Sun Rises" for Ōkami. What was used as a final boss theme eventually became the game's theme, if its appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as Amaterasu's theme is anything to go by.
- Street Fighter
- If you're a Street Fighter character who appeared in Street Fighter II or anything thereafter, your first theme will be linked to you forever, to the point that you're lucky if you get anything but arranged versions of it for all your future appearances even outside SF media. Ken's and Guile's themes in particular are strongly associated with the franchise. That's how dedicated the composers are to first impressions for your music.
- On a more trope-consistent basis, Street Fighter IVs secondary theme, used in two versions for the second half of the opening and for the "Volcanic Rim" stage, has been adapted into main menu music for Super SFIV and rearranged four times over for Street Fighter X Tekken, whereas the original opening theme "Indestructible" has been all but abandoned.
- Mass Effect has "Vigil" which plays over the main menu of ME1, as well as at some of the more emotional moments of the series. Fans have a very compelling argument for saying it's the "real" Mass Effect theme.
- Officially speaking, Deadly Premonition has two theme songs: "The Woods and the Goddess," which is the haunting melody from the title screen, and "Miss Stiletto Heels," the theme music from the bar, which, according to the composer, was meant to thematically represent the game. However, the song most closely associated with the game—and the song used to "represent" the game's Updated Re-release by its publisher, Rising Star Games—is "Life is Beautiful," the quirky, whistling-and-kazoo number played during the game's goofy comedic moments. Not just because the music is iconic; it's just that kind of game.
- The Sims has had all kinds of music, but the theme the University Expansion Pack in The Sims 2 ended up becoming the theme to the franchise and some variation of it has appeared in every expansion pack and base game following it.
- The title them from Morrowind (actually titled Nerevar Rising) has become the de facto main theme of The Elder Scrolls series, being played in various permutations in both Oblivion and Skyrim.
- If the Tekken series ever appears in a crossover, expect the theme that represents them to be the intro to Tekken Tag Tournament. Aside from the Tag games, it appears as the Tekken Rival theme in Street Fighter X Tekken, the theme of Jin and Heihachi in Namco X Capcom and the theme of Jin, Xiaoyu, Alisa and Heihachi in Project X Zone.
- Solid Snake's theme is either the Metal Gear Solid 2 theme or "Encounter", the "you've been detected" music from the original Metal Gear Solid.
- The Legend of Zelda has the first game's overworld theme. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link only reused the intro. But with few exceptions, such as Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, it always makes a return to cement it as the Zelda theme (Wind Waker even plays it over the intro recapping Ocarina of Time, turning it into a Bootstrapped Leitmotif for Link as well).
- The sequels to A Super Mario Thing have "The Lullaby" as part of the title theme, as the background music in several levels and for climactic boss battles. Interestingly, the song does not appear at all in the original- it was improvised by raocow as he went through a bgm-less level, and stuck as the series' official theme from then on.
- The BEMANI franchise brings us "FLOWER" by DJ YOSHITAKA. Originally a song for an event between jubeat knit APPEND and REFLEC BEAT, the song has since been crossed over to nearly every active BEMANI game; games where "FLOWER" itself wouldn't fit get a special remix instead ("FLOWER -TLION69 Remix-" in GITADORA, "FLOWER REDALiCE Remix" in SOUND VOLTEXnote ). Additionally, a BEMANI commercial uses "FLOWER" as its background music. The biggest thing Konami has done with the song so far is have it be the representative song for jubeat saucer fulfill (and by extension, the BEMANI lineup) in the Tenkaichi otogesai Zenkoku issei nintei taikai event, a crossover event that also involves Sega's maimai ORANGE, Namco Bandai's Taiko No Tatsujin Kimidori Ver., and Taito's GROOVE COASTER.
- Kongo Jungle has become this for Donkey Kong. One of the reasons for this is Super Smash Bros..
- In Homestuck, the song Sburban Jungle was initially only used as the installation theme for the game Sburb. It quickly more or less become the main theme of the comic, featuring in both the Act 3 and Act 4 closers.
- Considering that the game of Sburb is the source of all the conflict in the series in the first place, it's still pretty appropriate. The comic was almost outright called Sburb.
- The song itself is actually largely unused, it's mostly the Recurring Riff that is so popular. At this point finding a new song without the riff is becoming difficult.
- Defied later; the riff only appears for a brief 6 seconds instead of featuring heavily in the End of Act 5 song, Cascade.
- Upward Movement, ostensibly one of Dave Strider's Leitmotifs, has also seen a fair amount of reuse in the same way, most prominently as the base "foundation" and most recurring riff in the Act 4 closing animation's theme; it helps that it very much ties in with one of the series' Arc Words, "ascend".
- Homestuck Anthem, a song that was specifically supposed to be a theme tune, has managed to turn the tide lately and gain more widespread recognition.
- Chorale for Jaspers was originally Jaspers' Leitmotif, but it has since been bootstrapped into becoming one of Rose's themes. This is most prominent in At The Price Of Oblivion.
- Likewise, Doctor was originally a theme for LOWAS, which stayed valid when its remix Savior of the Waking World was used for John's ascension, but after Savior of the Dreaming Dead was used for Jade's, it sort of became a theme for ascensions.
- A Recurring Riff that is featured at the end of Eternity's Shylock and Descend, as well as being featured at the start of Umbral Ultimatum is shaping up to be an important theme for chaotic events to come.
- Possibly the best example of this is "Linus and Lucy" of Peanuts/Charlie Brown, which went from character theme to theme of the whole series. Complicated by the fact that there was already a tune, also composed by Vince Guaraldi, called "Charlie Brown Theme", which is damn near impossible to find since everyone calls "Linus and Lucy" the Charlie Brown Theme anyway. Listen to possibly the only video example of it on YouTube here.
- The first "Charlie Brown theme" is played during the credits of "It's Christmastime, Charlie Brown".
- "When You Wish Upon A Star" was just the opening theme to Pinocchio, but now it is nothing short of THE song associated with all Disney theatrical productions, eventually becoming the song that plays with the logo before all its films.
- Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" is associated with Cartoon Network's on-air look from 1997 to 2004.