10 Best Cartoon Theme Songs, According To Ranker

With season 14 of SpongeBob SquarePants announced and even The Pink Panther and The Fairly OddParents getting a new movie and spinoff this year, the iconic cartoon characters that have dominated television screens for decades continue to prove their appeal. One of the things that made these iconic characters in the first place, though, was the amazing theme songs that went along with them.

A catchy theme can help make the difference between a memorable character and one that gets forgotten about after. It’s no coincidence that some of the most iconic cartoon characters have the best themes and cartoon fans on Ranker have voted in their thousands to determine which is the best of all.


10 Spongebob SquarePants (1999)

A sea shanty that’s full of that incredible character that went into every episode of the show, the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song is a winner. The genius of the Spongebob theme song is that its call-and-response format gives a part that kids (or adults) can easily sing along with every episode.

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As a result, it has become the kind of earworm that many viewers find themselves humming even long after they’ve stopped thinking about the show itself. Patrick Pinney provides the voice of Painty the Pirate as the simple lyrics illustrate more or less everything the viewer needs to know about the show.

9 Inspector Gadget (1983)

Tea Inspector Gadget theme immediately grabs the viewer’s intention with a police siren and a level of drama that’s unusual for a cartoon theme song. It then gives way to a synth-laden tune that’s as strikingly 80s as it is insanely catchy. Based on Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King”, the song oozes tension and subterfuge.

Composed by Shuki Levy, who also wrote themes for Power Rangers and Digimon, the song also gets one crucial thing right, and that’s that it’s fun to listen to. Like the cyborg, gadget-wielding protagonist, the music has a goofiness that tells the audience something’s going to go wrong sooner or later.

8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a strong claim to awesomeness in the 1980s and their theme song made the case for them. Opening with a dramatic guitar chord, the song describes just some of the feats of the turtles. Between every line, however, the singer yells the words “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, meaning that’s the only part most viewers are likely to remember.

Luckily, that’s all they really need to remember to enjoy a theme that goes all out while the four members of the group pose dramatically in the background. Composed by Chuck Lorre, who’s more well known as a producer of shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Menthe song is the perfect level of cheesy.

7 The Fairly OddParents (2001)

One of the boldest choices of the new The Fairly OddParents spinoff series, Fairly Odder, was changing the original Fairly OddParents theme song. The lyrics of the original are more or less the perfect summary of one of the best Nickelodeon cartoons, including Vicky being malicious and Timmy’s wishes to Cosmo and Wanda getting out of hand.

What really sells the song and the show, however, is the jazziness that makes it stand out from other cartoon themes. While the style is old-fashioned, it’s delivered with an infectious sense of energy that makes it hard not to sing along and reflects a cartoon that’s absolutely full of amazing music.

6 Animaniacs (1993)

Any song composed by Richard Stone, who was behind the music of countless Warner Bros. shows including looney tunes in the 90s, has a high chance of being a classic and the Animaniacs theme is no exception. It’s a bouncy theme that exemplifies the chaotic energy of the Warner siblings and the show itself.

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It’s also the perfect theme because it includes some of the slightly more offbeat humor that was a large part of why the show became so well-liked, including jokes making fun of the show itself and its lack of any clear format. Although the recent revival makes some changes to the theme song, most of it holds up so well they didn’t have to.

5 Duck Tales (1987)

Funny, stylish, and quintessentially 80s, the Duck Tales theme is a huge source of nostalgia even for people who never watched the show. Jeff Pescetto provides the perfect voice for the theme song of one of the best saturday morning cartoons ever mademaking the adventures of Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck sound far more dramatic than they really are.

That’s because the best part of the theme is how straight it’s played. It’s no surprise that the song was written by an actual pop hitmaker in the form of Mark Mueller because it has the feel of an incredibly fun pop song that just happens to be about some ducks. Along with a very charismatic bassline, it’s almost too good to be a theme song.

4 The Pink Panther (1993)

Composed by movie score legend and multiple Academy Award winner Henry Mancini, the original Pink Panther theme was soulful, mysterious, and could easily have complemented a serious drama rather than a comedy. When it was used for the Pink Panther show in the late 60s, it immediately become one of the best TV show themes ever made.

There’s no way to improve on a masterpiece so instead, for the 1993 edition of the show, they simply turned the energy up a notch and made everything just a bit more modern. Fast-paced and adding even more over-the-top drama towards the end, the theme reflected the show’s intention to make the Pink Panther cool again and it did just that.

3 The Flintstones (1960)

Although the first two seasons of The Flintstones had a pleasant enough theme in the form of “Rise and Shine”, it’s easy to imagine the theme for the show having been largely forgotten if it hadn’t been changed to the iconic “Meet the Flintstones”. Performed by the Randy Van Horne Singers, who were the voice of a number of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the new theme was an instant classic.

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Introducing the Flintstones family with clever lyrics that gently poke fun at the show’s premise and central family, the theme is a joyful expression of the fun to be found in Bedrock. The song promises the viewer what a great time they’ll have with the Flintstones family but, for anyone who watched the cartoons, just hearing the song is a fun and nostalgic time on its own.

2 Phineas And Ferb (2007)

Classical and jazzy theme songs may be good for older viewers but for the younger audience of Disney XD, something a bit cooler and more modern is in order. Phineas and Ferb enlisted the rock band Bowling for Soup to make the theme for the show about the stepbrothers and their overly ambitious summer projects and it turned out to be a perfect choice.

“Today is Gonna Be A Great Day” is also full of the great jokes that make the show work so well. With the song promising that they’ll be able to do all of the things they want to when there’s absolutely no way they will and Candace joining at the end to call mom on them, it’s more or less the perfect illustration of what’s great about Phineas and Ferb.

1 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969)

There aren’t many shows where simply saying the title is enough to evoke the theme song but that’s just how catchy the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You theme is. Although it was created at the height of the Hanna-Barbera era, the theme manages to sound completely unique and timeless even compared to shows like The Flintstones.

Originally performed by Larry Marks, the theme’s relaxed vocals reflect the tone of the show as it’s only really the characters who are meant to be scared by the Scooby-Doo show’s hilarious villains, not the viewer. It’s easy to see how well it worked in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!‘s favor as the show, like the song, has gone down in history as one of the world’s favorites.

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