Whenever people start talking about the iconic TV cop show, Law and Order, invariably someone has to sing the opening strain of the theme song: “dun dun dun dun daaaaaa.” It’s that familiar, and that closely associated with the show.
It’s not an accident. It’s the work of famed composer Mike Post. Few people in the music industry have made such a mark on one aspect of the business as Mike Post has on TV theme songs.
Remember “Hill Street Blues”? It won two Grammys in 1981-Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Instrumental Composition. Post’s songs not only work for the shows they are written for, but are so good, so catchy, so memorable that they chart on the radio. Such was the case with the “The Theme from Hill Street Blues.” Another Post song, “The Greatest American Hero,” actually hit #1 on the Pop charts. Both were popular in the early 1980s.
Mike Post has a talent for, among other things, penning great music for cop shows: The Rockford Files, the aforementioned Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Law and Order…and many many more.
Post also has an impressive resume:
“[Mike] Post is regarded as the youngest musician ever to be appointed as musical director for a television program, assuming that role in 1969, at age 24, on The Andy Williams Show. Prior to that appointment, Post worked primarily as a session musician for a number of major artists including Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Sonny and Cher–he played guitar on “I Got You Babe” in 1965. He was also a successful producer and arranger, winning a Grammy at age 22 for Best Instrumental Arrangement on Mason Williams’ ‘Classical Gas.’
Post began his career in Los Angeles with the country-rock band First Edition, featuring Kenny Rogers. In the late 1960s he joined forces with Pete Carpenter, trombonist, arranger, and a veteran of television theme scoring, and began to write music for television. Post and Carpenter began working for producer Stephen J. Cannell and first wrote the theme for Cannell’s cop show Toma in 1973. The Rockford Files theme, however, was their breakthrough assignment. The whimsical synthesizer melodies seemed perfectly suited to the ironic character of James Garner’s Rockford. The score sealed their reputations and won Post his first Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement in 1975…
“…Post’s ability to encompass a show’s character in his music is what has landed him atop the elite class of Hollywood composers. Only Pat Williams, Henry Mancini and Dave Grusin have attained comparable levels of success and respect in this field.” —Museum of Broadcast Communications