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Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics

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"Most people don't know that the theme from Star Trek had lyrics. I do. Don't make me sing them."
Paul Goebel, also known as "The TV Geek", on Comedy Central's Beat The Geeks

Many Instrumental Theme Tunes actually have lyrics, which for one reason or another were not used in the version that opens the show. This can be for stylistic reasons, or because the theme song lyrics were really terrible, or because they were written only after the show was produced. Alternatively, the lyrics may never have been intended to have been sung, and are included as an in-joke or to give the producer a share in the royalty payments from the song for providing the "lyrics." (Note that many of the latter are Title Theme Tunes, which may say something about those.)

When somebody unconnected to the show adds lyrics later for a joke, it's With Lyrics. Fans have written many Filk Songs in this manner.


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  • The Lupin III theme actually has lyrics, but the version traditionally used is a Title Theme Tune. For a while [adult swim] aired a vintage opening that used the lyrics.
  • Crystal King had this version of the opening on one of their singles. You might know them from another famous anime theme song: "Ai wo Toridomose", the first opening to Fist of the North Star.
  • The opening theme of Baccano!, "Gun's & Roses" has a vocal version. note 
  • You know Miki's "Sunlit Garden" piano piece in Revolutionary Girl Utena? Thanks to the Opening of the Utena video game for the Sega Saturn, it and another oft-used background music has been given lyrics.

  • "Never Smile at a Crocodile", a song written for Peter Pan, but used only as underscore for the crocodile.
    • The version with lyrics is better known from an episode of The Muppet Show.
    • It can also be found on various collections of songs released by Disney on LP, tape and CD over the past 50 years.
    • ...and on at least one of the Disney Sing Along Songs videos.
  • The Star Wars theme has the "Life Day" song lyrics which don't exist, since they come from an Old Shame.
    • And then there was Bill Murray's sketch on Saturday Night Live in which he had his own as a lounge singer: "Star wars, nothing but star wars..."
    • There's also the Japanese version, sung by Masato Shimon!
  • Johnny Mercer wrote lyrics to "Laura" after the melody had been used as an Instrumental Theme Tune for the movie of that name. Later recorded by Seth MacFarlane.
  • Likewise — but rather more strangely — the theme music from the 1962 proto-shockumentary Mondo Cane attracted so much attention that it acquired lyrics and, under the title "More," became a standard.
  • Not to mention the "haunting Third Man theme." Adding lyrics made the Theme Tune into an actual song, not just a catchy zither riff.
  • The movie I Cover The Waterfront used the contemporaneous hit song of the same title as an Instrumental Theme Tune.
  • The "Tara Theme" from Gone with the Wind became "My Own True Love," with lyrics so insipid they could only have been written to cash in on the fame of instrumental theme music.
  • Speaking of ...Wind, many famous instrumental themes from movies were given added lyrics and releases as singles. Such examples include "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago (performed by the Ray Conniff Singers), and the Exodus theme performed by Pat Boone.
  • (Unfortunately) occurs with the film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. You know the opening theme? Well, it has lyrics, even more theme than that, and it kicks ass.
  • There apparently are lyrics to the James Bond theme, or at least the proto-tune that was eventually rearranged into the one we all know and love.
  • In Superman: The Movie, though the main theme has no lyrics, the love theme does. The lyrics to "Can You Read My Mind?" are even in the movie, but most people wouldn't guess since they're spoken by Margot Kidder as a mental monologue. Word on the street was that Barbra Streisand was originally lined up to sing it in the film. The producers decided to go with Kidder to make the scene more intimate ... but Margot Kidder isn't a singer, so all she should do was speak them.
  • Chico Marx's theme music, used most prominently in Monkey Business, was published in two different versions with lyrics: "I'm Daffy Over You" and "Lucky Little Penny."
  • The main theme from Max Steiner's score to Now, Voyager had lyrics added, and became the song "It Can't Be Wrong."
  • The theme to Chariots of Fire has lyrics. The "refrain" part goes: "And if he should stumble as he goes / (and) If he should fall / It won't really matter if he knows he gave it his all". It's been covered a few times with lyrics in tact: Most recently, Jon Anderson, who wrote the lyrics to begin with, covered it as "Race To The End" in celebration of the 2012 Olympics, though his version altered all but the first verse of lyrics, and included a totally different refrain.
  • The love theme from The Godfather has lyrics. It's called "Speak Softly Love".
  • The theme from Somewhere in Time was given lyrics and turned into a song of the same title in The '90s for Michael Crawford — specifically serving as a prerecorded prelude to EFX!, a Las Vegas show he toplined. Despite the strange origins, it's a rather sweet song (and performance) that would fit the movie much better than the flashy show.
  • The theme from A Shot in the Dark had lyrics added one and a half decades after the fact by Henry Mancini's frequent collaborator Leslie Bricusse.
  • The love theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (also known as Ilia's theme) had lyrics written for it and actually was released on LP after the movie's release. On the LP, it was sung by Shaun Cassidy and was accompanied by a more pop-style instrumental arrangement of Jerry Goldsmith's classical score. This is also where the song gets yet another alternate title: "A Star Beyond Time". It is not known whether or not it was intended to be used in the film at some point or whether the lyrics were written after the fact. Given the rise of Award Bait songs during the late 1970s, this may or may not have been intended as one.
  • The Troika section of Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite, with its Snowy Sleigh Bells and rousing pace, has become a Standard Snippet for Christmas (and winter in general), even used by Greg Lake in "I Believe in Father Christmas". While Troika is a famous instrumental piece, in the actual 1934 Soviet Lieutenant Kije film that Prokofiev scored, the melody is accompanied by a chorus singing the lyrics to the old Hussar drinking song that Prokofiev borrowed it from. As the English subtitles of the movie show, the lyrics have zero to do with Christmas or sleigh rides.
    Like a roadside inn is a woman's heart
    Where travelers stop and stay
    Checking in or checking out
    All the night and day

    Live-Action TV 
  • M*A*S*H: The show's theme song, "Suicide Is Painless," has lyrics: "Suicide Is Painless / It brings on many changes / And I can take or leave it if I please." The lyrics are featured in the film as part of a B-plot involving the mock funeral of the unit's dentist, Captain Walter Kosciusko Waldowski ("The Painless Pole") and refer to his suicidal tendencies. Since the character was not included in the TV series, and the lyrics don't relate to the premise of the show as a whole, there was no need to use the lyrics. Ironically, Mike Altman (the lyricist, and director Robert Altman's son), actually made more money from the movie than his father did due to the song being used sans lyrics by the TV show through 11 seasons and decades of syndication. The song with lyrics even hit #1 on the UK charts in 1980.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: "Jeannie, fresh as a daisy/Just love how she obeys me/She does things that amaze me so..." Aren't you glad these weren't used?
  • There exists a record with a version of the My Favorite Martian theme with lyrics: "He's a man from Mars, on Earth to take a look./He can read your mind, just like an open book - YES./He's a man from Mars, and he's extremely clever./Brilliant but kind, in every endeavor./For instance any dog can hear me/loud and clear/and don't get too near me/or I'll disappear."
  • I Love Lucy: "I love Lucy, and she loves me/We're as happy as two can be..." Ricky actually sings these to Lucy at one point in the series. If you have "Special Edition" I Love Lucy tapes, the beginning has the sung version. Even some of the episodes on the Complete First Season DVD have them. Not all of them, though. The fact that Desi sings the song, but it's only in a few episodes, is part of the push-pull between the starring couple and executives who wanted to minimize the promotion of Desi. The name of the show, "I Love Lucy" was a compromise to sneak Desi into the title, referring only to Lucy, but told from Desi's point of view as the "I."
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: One of several rather shady moves Gene Roddenberry made during the production of the show was secretly writing lyrics to the theme song, which were never intended to be used, so that he could essentially steal half of the song's royalties from the composer, Alexander Courage. The phantom lyrics begin, "Beyond the rim of the starlight/My love is wandering in starflight..." Here's a Spotify link to Nichelle "Lt. Uhura" Nichols singing the lyrics.
  • Bonanza: "Here in the West we're livin' in the best, Bonanza!/If anyone fights any one of us, he's got to fight with me!" The lyrics were used for the first airing of the pilot, but were dropped for being a bit lame. (Worse yet, the cast — none of whom could be considered even average singers — performed it as part of the episode's action.) To his credit, Lorne Greene didn't sing the lyrics at all; he performed them as plainsong. Note: little known as these lyrics are, they did get air play. Johnny Cash, back in his prime, sang the Bonanza theme just for the fun of it, and the video is available on the net. Here.
    • Interestingly, Futurama references these lyrics in the episode "Where the Buggalo Roam", when Bender sings (to the Bonanza theme music) "We got a right to pick a little fight with russ-lers! Somebody wants to pick a fight with us, he better bite my ass!"
    • Ironically, the lyrics were featured more prominently on an episode of Cheers than they ever did in Bonanza.
    • An obscure fact is that a second set of lyrics also exist, sung by Lorne Greene as the flip side of his 1964 Country-Western hit "Ringo".
    • Mystery Science Theater 3000 referenced the lyrics during a host segment in Joel Robinson's last episode.
    • The song is included on a CD called My Rifle, My Pony, and Me, which is a collection of songs from Western movies and TV series.
    • The lyrics are also referenced when Cloudcuckoolander superhero Flaming Carrot sings them to drive off an alien invasion. Yeah, it's that kind of comic book series.
  • Bewitched: "Bewitched, bewitched, you've got me in your spell/Bewitched, bewitched, you know your craft so well..." Actually recorded by Steve Lawrence (eerily channelling Frank Sinatra) in 1964; this recording can be heard in the 2005 movie.
  • The Munsters: "If when you're sleeping you dream a lot/Ghoulish nightmares parade through your head/And then you wake up and scream a lot/Oh the Munsters are under your bed." Good call on skipping these. Not so much for the 1980s revamp, though. Just watch any of them.
  • Last of the Summer Wine has a theme tune whose lyrics have only been used once in its (very, very long) run — the special which adapted the original novel.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Turns out it's an early Thematic Theme Tune. "So you think that you've got trouble/Well trouble's a bubble/So tell old mister trouble to get lost." Wheet-boomph.
  • The Andy Griffith Show: "Come on, take down your fishin pole and meet me at the fishin hole/I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day." Another Thematic Theme Tune — which makes sense, since the title doesn't lend itself to verse.
  • Hogan's Heroes: "Heroes, heroes, husky men of war/Sons of all the heroes, of the war before/We're all heroes up to our ear o's/You ask the questions — we make suggestions/That's what we're heroes for."
  • The Odd Couple (1970): "No matter where they go, they are known as the couple/They're never seen alone, so they're known as the couple." The lyrics, which along with the tune were originally written for the 1968 movie adaptation of the Neil Simon play, can be viewed here.
  • The theme to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century had lyrics which were sung by Kipp Lennon during the opening credits of the original Pilot Movie: "Far beyond the world I've known, / Far beyond my time / What am I, who am I, what will I be? / Where am I going, and what will I see?" Used on some episodes under the closing credits. In this case the problem is not just corny lyrics, but how winsome Kipp sounded singing them.
  • The theme tune of the Soap Opera Eastenders has four different theme tune lyrics, the first entitled "Anyone Can Fall In Love" (sung by Anita Dobson, one of the show's actresses), the second entitled "Glory Be" (reworked as a hymn and even featured on Songs of Praise) and the third entitled "I'll Always Believe In You" (sung to the 1993 version of the theme tune). The fourth was sung by the players of Scottish soccer team Dunfermline Athletic FC and started off "We're the boys from East End Park" (the name of their home ground).
  • Father Ted: originally composed as a short instrumental piece by The Divine Comedy, they later adapted it into a full-length piece entitled "Songs of Love" (not to be confused with any other songs of that name).
  • The theme song to All in the Family, "Those Were the Days", has a second verse that was never used on the show. The second verse had a different than the first verse. Instead of the line, "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great" (which combined with the unison bad singing of Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton is all but incomprehensible), the final stanza of the second verse went like this: "Hair was short and skirts were long/Kate Smith really sold a song/I don't know just what went wrong/Those were the days!"
    • There were even more lyrics in the full version. See them here.
    • The closing theme, "Remembering You", also had lyrics (by Carroll O'Connor) but was always done as an instrumental. O'Connor supposedly sang them once on the Mike Douglas Show. They start out: "Got a feelin' it's all over now / All over now we're through / And tomorll be lonesome / REMEMBERING YOU."
      • He sings them here on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
    • When it became Archie Bunker's Place, the opening theme lyrics were dropped altogether and "Those Were the Days" became an instrumental as well.
  • F Troop: The first season had a black-and-white opening with an Expository Theme Tune. For the second season (done in color), the titles were redone, and the tune replaced with a lyrics-free instrumental version in the process.
    Where Indian fights are colorful sights
    And nobody takes a lickin'
    Where Paleface and Redskin
  • Leave It to Beaver used an orchestral version of a song called "The Toy Parade". In the fourth season, it was re-worked into a jazzy take, still without the lyrics.
    Hey! Here they come with a rum-tee tum
    They're having a toy parade.
    A tin giraffe with a fife and drum
    Is leading the kewpie brigade...
  • The lyrics to the Dr. Kildare theme song were written for Richard Chamberlain to sing for his first single. His popularity as a Teen Idol at the time made the song a #10 chart hit upon its release in 1962. "Three stars will shine tonight/One for the lonely/That star will shine it's light/Each time that someone sighs."
  • Richard Rodgers wrote an incidental tango theme for the World War II miniseries Victory at Sea called "Beneath the Southern Cross." Then Oscar Hammerstein wrote lyrics to it, and the resulting song, titled "No Other Love," appeared in their next Broadway musical, Me and Juliet. (Rodgers and Hart's publisher asked them to add lyrics to the Love Theme from "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" from On Your Toes, but they refused.)
  • Dollhouse similarly has a full-length song, whose lyrics even reference the theme of the show. The only part used in the show is the "la la la" bit.
  • Twin Peaks has lyrics for its theme music. David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti wrote it for Julee Cruise's album Floating Into The Night and only later decided that an instrumental version would be the perfect theme for the TV show. Cruise sings the song late in the pilot, and the full version is on the soundtrack CD.
  • Hawaii Five-O's distinctive theme music is entitled "You Can Count on Me", and Sammy Davis Jr. at one point actually recorded it (an MP3 of which can be found on radio personality April Winchell's Multimedia page):
    If you get in trouble, bring it home to me
    Whether I am near you, or across the sea.
    I will think of something to do.
    I'll be on the lookout for you.
    And I'll find you — you can count on me.'
  • "Bless My Happy Home" from Mama's Family was written by The Carol Burnett Show composer Peter Matz and Mama herself, Vicki Lawrence. Only the instrumental version was used, though Lawrence sings the lyrics during her stageshow, Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show.
  • The lyrics to the Remember WENN theme were only heard a couple of times, when they were performed on the show (the first time by Patti LuPone).
  • 'Allo 'Allo!: The theme song's lyrics are sung in the first season horribly badly by Madame Edith (the wife of Rene Artois who owns the cafe). The actress Carmen Silvera actually could not sing, she was so tone deaf that she literally slaughtered any song she tried to sing. As a joke, this was written into the show.
  • Partial example: Blake's 7 nearly acquired some unpleasantly saccharine lyrics to go with the remixed Season 4 theme, to be sung by the actor playing Tarrant. The theme tune was already at odds with the increasingly bleak tone of the series and the idea was quickly dropped, seemingly without the With Lyrics version ever being recorded.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, the lyrics to "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids are missing, with only the "pa pa pa pa pa, da da da da, da da da da da, da da da da" left in. Worth noting that the founding members of the Solids are Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, a/k/a the creators of the show. Before HIMYM, the Solids also contributed "The Future Is Now" as the theme to FOX's Oliver Beene, another show Carter & Bays wrote for.
  • Stargate SG-1 had joke lyrics witten by people working on the show: "We're talking Stargaaate! It's a crazy trip! You can go quite far and you don't need a car, or even a shiiip!" They did air briefly as part of a Sci-Fi Channel contest to win a walk-on role on Stargate Atlantis, where one hopeless fangirl tried to curry favor by singing and dancing.
  • The theme tune to Dinnerladies had lyrics (written by Victoria Wood) in the closing credits to two episodes. They've got different words, but seem to fit together as the first two verses of the same song.
  • The theme to Chuck is a re-cut version of "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake. The original recording has three verses.
  • The long-running children's show The Friendly Giant had a beautiful instrumental opening and closing theme played on recorder and harp. This was actually an old English folk song titled "Early One Morning". Its lyrics date as far back as the 18th Century.
  • The classic Sesame Street theme has a bridge verse whose lyrics are rarely, if ever, heard on the show. "It's a magic carpet ride, every door will open wide..." The bridge was heard instrumentally when the full credits were rolled once a week, usually on Fridays. The lyrics were sung at the start of an early test show, and they are also heard on some of the show's record albums.
  • The Newlywed Game theme has the tune of "Summertime Guy", a song written by Chuck Barris. The backstory is, the song was just minutes from being sung on American Bandstand, when it was called off due to Barris being an ABC employee, the same network the show was on. Eventually, Barris used an instrumental cover of the same song as the main theme to his Newlywed Game show.
  • Most fans of The Carol Burnett Show can sing Burnett's sign-off song from memory, since it has only four lines and she sings it at the end of every episode. But hardly anyone knows the full version of the song, which has three verses and a bridge. Burnett sings it only in the final episode of each season.
  • One of the most obscure songs by The Beach Boys is the theme from the 1964-65 sitcom Karen, which was played during both the opening and closing credits. Watch the opening credits here. An extended version of the song recorded by the Surfaris had two more verses.
  • There are actual, official lyrics to the Doctor Who theme. Jon Pertwee recorded them once, though he made the wise choice to treat them as poetry rather than song.
  • From one BBC show to another, there is an official version of the Strictly Come Dancing theme song with lyrics, as performed by the show's live band during the pro number that opened the 2012 series. Listening to this version, it's easy to see why the show tends to favor the instrumental version instead.
  • Peter Gunn: Lyrics to the main theme and "Dreamsville" were added by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans a few years after the series finished.
  • The Dutch educational childrens program Het Klokhuis originally had an intro with lyrics sung by actress Gerda Havertong (famous from the Dutch version of Sesame Street). It was only used for 2 years (1988 - 1990) before the show switched to an instrumental intro, and as such many viewers who began watching after 1990 don't even know there used to be lyrics.
  • Angel extended theme tune of "Sanctuary"by Darling Violetta does have lyrics. Granted most of it is barely audible.
  • Better Call Saul: The opening theme is the first few seconds of Little Barrie's full-length theme. It cuts off at an awkward moment, in the style of Saul Goodman's cheesy low-budget commercials. It also cuts off just before the vocal, with its pretty apt lyrics:
    Kill communication
    Steppin' off the grid
    Just to let me know
    So maybe cut my ties...
  • The Burt Bacharach-style instrumental used as the General Hospital theme during its most popular era (1976-93) had lyrics, and the Folk Music group The New Christy Minstrels even recorded a vocal version of the song.
    Autumn breeze blowing
    Wind of whispering sighs
    I can't help knowing
    You're blowing me a surprise
  • Another Soap Opera example is The Young and the Restless, which had lyrics added by its composers after the Instrumental version became a hit.
    Dreams of the past
    Gone with a love that moved too fast
    Bright, shiny days
    Gone in a young and restless haze
  • The theme song for Downton Abbey is actually titled "Did I Make the Most of Loving You?", with the song's lyrics about a wistful, yet hopeful look at love. While the full song was made available on the official soundtrack, only the Orchestral version of the song have been used for both the TV Series and subsequent Films.

  • The lyrics to the City of Angels theme are sung on the original cast album, but not in the show. (Unusually for a musical, this is a Thematic Theme Tune, not a Title Track.) "Alaura's Theme" and "L.A. Blues" also have lyrics that aren't even used on the original cast album.
  • "Away above my head / I see the strangest sight / A fiddler on the roof / Who's up there day and night..." These lyrics for the opening music of Fiddler on the Roof were obviously never used in the show (or the movie); the melody actually is set to a different lyric in the show as part of the "Tradition" ensemble.

    Video Games 
  • Here's a clip from the "Mario & Zelda Big Band Live" concert in Japan, adding Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics to the original Mario theme. And then there's Do the Mario!
  • There is a vocal version of "World of Balance", the world map theme for the first part of Final Fantasy VI.
  • This is quite common amongst JRPGs, including Wild ARMs: alone the world and Creid (from Xenogears), as well as at least seven or eight arrangements that include lyricized Final Fantasy music.
  • The theme song from Ice Cap Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a rendition of a previously unreleased song "Hard Times" by The Jetzons, a band where one of the members was Brad Buxer, one of the composers for Sonic 3. When the song was finally released, it became the most known song of the band, who hadn't any hit songs.
  • One of the Commander Keen games has a song called "You've Got to Eat Your Vegetables". It has lyrics, but the original game used FM sound that didn't support vocals.
    • Bobby Prince originally wrote the song for Keen Dreams, which featured evil vegetables, but it was used in Keen 4 (Secret of the Oracle), with no evil vegetables, so they wouldn't have made sense anyway.
    • Also, the map music from Keen 6 actually has lyrics to go with it. Of course, given the technical limitations the game was made with, they couldn't actually be used (and the game sounds better without them, anyway). Nevertheless, the notes for them can be heard in the music that's played in the game. Bobby Prince has made the text of the lyrics available on his web site.
  • The lyrics for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl rendition of the Fire Emblem main theme are based on the Japanese lyrics, which were used in commercials for the series, translated into Latin.
  • Most of the important songs from EarthBound (1994) were written with lyrics and even had them included in the manuals. Of course, this was only for the Japanese version.
  • Many of the songs from the Guilty Gear series have had official releases with lyrics. This may be a very minorly retroactive example, depending on whether they were written with lyrics in mind, or whether they were added later. Considering a lot of Japanese games have vocal music CDs (such as the Final Fantasy vocal CDs as well as the Street Fighter vocal CDs set to the character's instrumentals) all of which were made after the respective games to cash-in on their success one could assume the same is true for Guilty Gear.
  • The theme for Tetris is actually a Russian folk song, called "Korobeiniki", and is only ever associated with the game in the west due to Pop-Cultural Osmosis. It's about a peddler who is stricken with a specific girl, with them haggling over goods as a courtship metaphor.
  • Main theme for Worms also doubles as song, but of many games in the series, only four of them feature lyrics. Knows as Wormsongs, these have a narrated stories that provide the closest there is to a proper plot, with one chorus shared inbetween them.
    We are worms, we're the best and we've come to win the war
    We'll stand, and never run
    Stay until it's done.
    Though our friends may fall and our world be blown apart
    We'll strike with all our might.
    We'll fight for what is right 'til the end
  • Super Robot Wars has a few. an example would be Neppu Shippu Cybuster
  • The English versions of the Professor Layton games drop the Japanese lyrics from the ending themes, leaving only the instrumentals. Curious Village being the exception as it had an instrumental to begin with.
  • Daytona USA, when it dropped the Daytona name and became Sega Racing Classic, eliminated vocals from the theme song.
  • Bokosuka Wars has lyrics to the in-game theme, "Susume Bokosuka," printed in the manual.
  • The remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening gives lyrics to the melody "Ballad of the Wind Fish".

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia has a lyrical version of the theme song called "Welcome to Amphibia". This variant uses different instrumentation as well, with the strings and whistling heard in the usual theme being omitted in lieu of the vocal track. The reason this version was never used is because creator Matt Braly found it to be very unfitting, but it would appear as the song Ned is listening to on his headphones in the season three episode "Thai Feud".
    Braly: Essentially, the lyrical version was forced on me by studio leadership. I don't dislike the song in isolation but I don't think it fits the show or the lead character. Like, who was this sweet voice singing? Certainly not Anne, our rough and tumble lead.
  • The Beagles, CBS cartoon from Leonardo-TTV (the folks behind Underdog) had an abbreviated theme. The complete theme was featured on a Columbia LP of the duo. The theme (the omitted lyrics are after the bridge):
    Looking for the Beagles,
    Looking high and low.
    High is for the eagles,
    Low is where the Beagles go.
    Ridin' on a busted bubble to wherever there's some trouble,
    That's where the Beagles go.

    Trouble's not a sometimes thing,
    It dims but won't die out.
    Pleasure makes the Beagles sing,
    Trouble makes them shout.

    Looking for the Beagles,
    Not where rich men go.
    Rich is for the regal,
    Woe is all the Beagles know.
    Ridin' on a busted bubble to wherever there's some trouble,
    That's where the Beagles go.
  • The DuckTales (2017) has an instance of this that overlaps with Filk Song, as while it gives the iconic Moon Theme from the NES game lyrics, these were explicitly written for the show (which is wholly staffed by self-admitted Ascended Fans) to serve as a lullaby that Della Duck sung to Huey, Dewey, and Louie while they were still in their eggs.
    Look to the stars my darling baby boys,
    Life is strange and vast, filled with wonders and joys,
    Face each new sun with eyes clear and true,
    Unafraid of the unknown because I’ll face it all with you...
  • Family Guy has an extended version that goes beyond the first verse heard on the show. The only known recording of it, however, is a live recording made for a CD called "Family Guy: Live in Las Vegas". The lyrics of the song continue with Brian and Stewie getting lines about how old film stars were better than new ones, Lois getting a line comparing Peter to Dick Van Dyke and Mike Brady, and Peter getting a line about how his "titties are real".
  • KaBlam! has this overlap with Real Song Theme Tune, as the opening theme song is an instrumental version of "Two-Tone Army" by The Toasters. The lyrics weren't used because they had nothing to do with super action figures, an imaginative little girl, an alien and a caveman, two FunnyAnimal brothers, or two wacky kids. This extends to the ending theme and some of the incidental music, which are also instrumentals taken from the band's songs.
  • The Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes themes, respectively "Merrily We Roll Along (My Honey And Me)" and "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down."
    • Daffy Duck sang the latter in an old cartoon. "My name is Daffy Duck/I work in a merry-go-round..." As did both Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valiant, although neither used the original lyrics.
    • "Merrily We Roll Along", which was written by Eddie Cantor, is sung by a look-alike, "Eddie Camphor," and other characters in 1936's "Billboard Frolics."
    • Bugs Bunny's theme music, "What's Up, Doc?", first heard in "Stage Door Cartoon" of 1944, was published 15 years later as a song. Its first verse begins: "There's a hunter on the hill and he's out to kill/Any rabbit that crosses his path."
  • Marshall Barer and Philip Scheib were the collaborative team (lyrics and music, respectively) behind the Mighty Mouse theme. On MM's cartoon show on CBS, the theme was extremely abbreviated but was lengthened to its entire first quarter by 1963. Andy Kaufman once famously lipsynched this song (or at least the "Here I come to save the day!" part) on Saturday Night Live. Mitch Miller and "The Terry-Tooners" recorded a version that included a middle bridge:
    Although we are in danger, we do not despair,
    For wherever there is danger he is there!
    He is there, on the sea, on the land, in the air!
    We're not worrying at all,
    We're just listening for his call:
    "Here I come to save the day!"
    That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
  • Most people are familiar with the lyrics to the Popeye theme song, "...strong to the finish, cause I eats me spinach..." But the original cartoon shorts from the 1930s played an instrumental opening theme with a second verse that had a different tune. Popeye sings these verses in Popeye Meets Sindbad.
  • Lisa Lougheed's version of "Run with Us", the theme to The Raccoons, had a full set of lyrics, but only the first verse and chorus were used on the show, during the credits. The full version wouldn't be heard until the song got a proper release in 1987.
  • Totally Spies! initially used an Expository Theme Tune set to the tune of Moonbaby's "Here We Go", but later airings only used the instrumental of the song.
  • Partial Example: for the Transformers series Armada and Energon, instrumental versions of the Title Theme Tune for the original Transformers cartoon (which was also reworked into the theme for Robots in Disguise before these two, and for Cybertron after them, albeit with lyrics fairly close to the original version for those) were used. In this case, though, the lyrics were hardly discarded... The assumption seemed instead to be that the original theme was iconic enough that a reworked instrumental version would still bring the lyrics to mind. Animated sets the G1 lyrics to new music that could basically be called a remix of the original. This video demonstrates that they are fairly close.note 
  • Woody Woodpecker cartoons have a recognizable, instrumental theme song. A version of the "Woody Woodpecker Song" with lyrics was released a single in 1948 by Gloria Wood and Kay Kyser's orchestra, with Harry Babbitt doing the "ha-ha ha-ha ha" laugh.

    Other Music 
  • The Standard Snippet part of Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1" was made into the British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory." Elgar didn't care for the lyrics, but they are not so forgotten in Britain. Notably, they are sung annually by the audience at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
  • The slow theme from "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets" was also set to lyrics after the fact as "I Vow to Thee, My Country." The lyrics are well known in Britain, but not so much outside it.
  • If you think sitting through singers paid by the minute wailing their way through "The Star Spangled Banner" at ball games as slowly as humanly possible is annoying, you should actually thank your lucky stars (no pun intended) because the original version had three more stanzas that have since been omitted. In fact, the melody itself was originally a pub song called "To Anacreon in Heaven", the lyrics of which can be seen here. Although originally, the anthem was sung at a much livelier tempo (in keeping with the fact that the melody was co-opted from a drinking song) until John Philip Sousa slowed it down because he found it irreverent.
  • This is common practice with national anthems, some of which are simply too long for anyone to want to sing them in full, ever. For example, only the third verse of the German national anthem is official (the other two bear Unfortunate Implications); those of Brazil and Israel have at least a dozen stanzas each, of which only one or two are commonly sung; Greece's has over a hundred.
    • This was parodied (or perhaps directly expressed) by Terry Pratchett when he wrote "We Can Rule You Wholesale", the anthem of Ankh-Morpork — which has conveniently pre-forgotten lyrics for most of its second verse and part of its second chorus.
    • Pratchett, or at least the book's narrator, claims that "all national anthems only have one verse, or rather they all have the same second verse", which goes something like da, da, da, da, da, daaaah...
  • Johann Strauss, Jr.'s most famous waltz, „An der schönen, blauen Donau" ("The Blue Danube Waltz"), originally had a choral accompaniment, singing the inane and idiotic words, „Wiener, seid froh!" „Oho! Wieso?" „Nu, so blickt nur um!" „Ich bitt, warum?" ("Viennese, be merry!" "Oh, ho! How so?" "Now, just look around!" "Let me ask, why?")
  • As The Other Wiki explains, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" had lyrics written by John Philip Sousa which are rarely sung.
  • Many younger fans of the Harlem Globetrotters might not know that the "whistling" theme is an old jazz song (complete with lyrics) titled "Sweet Georgia Brown". Dixie Carter sang them once on Designing Women
  • The original lyrics of Bach's "Wohl mir, daß ich Jesum habe", the melody of which is better known as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", are quite obscure compared to the lyrics for the various versions of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is also frequently played without the lyrics in order to secularize the hymn, which is popular both within and without religious spheres.
  • The lyrics to many big-band hit tunes were often written after they had already been recorded as instrumentals, such as Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," "Take The 'A' Train," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (originally the instrumental "Never No Lament"), and "Satin Doll."
  • Camille Saint-Saëns originally composed "Danse macabre" as a song for voice and piano, of which the much better-known concert piece for scordatura violin and orchestra is an Adaptation Expansion, though it necessarily omits the lyrics.
  • An Enforced Trope for the European anthem (the Ode to Joy) which has lyrics that are also quite well known among classically educated German speakers but the EU institutions have explicitly declared the instrumental to be the anthem. Doesn't stop Germans from singing the lyrics when it is publicly played - even when it is supposed to be the "lyrics free" EU anthem version.
  • Happens a lot with advertising jingles. A famous example (for residents of the Philadelphia area, anyway) is the jingle for the Mister Softee ice cream truck.