The Dave Grusin Archive
Music for the Screen
TV Series I-Z

Themes & Scores for TV Series' I - Z

The following are musical notes for  the TV series' "It Takes A Thief," "Maude," "Name of the Game," "One Life To Live," "St. Elsewhere," "The Virginian," and "Wild Wild West."

It Takes A Thief
1968-1970 theme

It Takes a Thief had pacey, meandering opening music with a jazzy lilt, characteristic of the driving themes Dave Grusin was turning out in the late 60s.  It made a sophisticated `done everything but ready for anything' statement, neatly evoking the rakish thief cum spy played by Robert Wagner.

Undeniably one of his most memorable themes for television. In addition to the link below, you can get a version of it on the Mercury CD “Mission Impossible and Other TV Themes.”  (Note: Dave Grusin did not score the pilot for this series “Thief,” the music for which was composed by Benny Carter.)

Read about the series and hear the theme at

1972 - 1978 theme

The theme for this highly successful program from the people who gave Dave Grusin his first theatrical scoring assignment in 1967 was also a big hit for the composer.  As brash and unconventional as the leading character, the rousing gospel number got viewers in the mood to be shocked each week - quite possibly contributing to the series high ratings.

It was nothing like what producer Norman Lear was expecting when he asked Dave Grusin to write the opening music for the show, having been thinking of something light and breezy.  That the iconoclastic Maude was eminently captured by the clever concoction with impertinent lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman cannot be denied.

Read about the series and hear the theme at

Name of the Game
1968 - 1971 theme/scores

Interestingly, there was already a theme written for the concept of “Name of the Game” at the pilot stage (the TV movie “Fame”), composed by no less a heavyweight than Benny Carter.  That producers decided to look for new opening music brought Dave Grusin and his insistent, forceful theme a fair bit of prominence, being released as a single by the composer and covered by other artists.

A rhythmic orchestral piece conveying the intense and energetic world of journalism (note a related treatment for the film "Absence of Malice"), there was more than just a hint of the funky directions in jazz Dave Grusin's music was heading.   So aptly capturing time, place and subject, the theme was, according to respected author of “TV's Biggest Hits,” Jon Burlingame, “one of the most dramatic of the era.”

Dave Grusin also scored some of the early episodes of this show.

Hear several versions of the theme at

One Life To Live
1984-1991 theme

Dave Grusin's upbeat theme represented a departure from the soap opera's original mood, set back when it premiered in 1968.  It would appear producers were looking for something like the highly popular “St. Elsewhere” for the daytime serial.  When it first aired,  the new theme was played by a synthesizer, backed by bass, electric guitar and drums.  After a few weeks a full orchestral version was substituted, but still keeping the synthesizer quality of his original, with trumpets doubling the synthesizer melody.   In September 1985, Peabo Bryson appeared on the soap opera to perform a vocal version, which was occasionally played over the end titles (and from 1987 over the opening). The theme was replaced in 1991 when the show took on a new look.  

Hear the instrumental & vocal versions of the theme at

Read about the series at

St. Elsewhere
1982 - 1988 theme/pilot score

Not just a highly successful theme for one of the finest hospital dramas in the history of television, the bouncy opening music for “St. Elsewhere” is probably the best-known of all Dave Grusin tunes, and easily the catchiest as well.

This was the composer's first and only venture into weekly television, following his departure from the medium during the “Baretta” series.  Because of the cooperative and helpful attitude of the people behind “St. Elsewhere,” Dave Grusin even  scored the first episode, suspending his determination never to compose for TV series again.   He admits that their willingness to try the electronic option, and not use a conventional orchestra, was a prime reason for taking on the assignment.

Elaborating on the combination of instruments used, Dave Grusin  reveals that the theme was done on a Fender Rhodes, with a Prophet, OB-X and a Fairlight, neither MIDIed together nor using a sequencer.  “I played it all in real time,” he says, adding “if I had done it acoustically, maybe it wouldn't have been as unique in some way.”  He also points out that the theme was done electronically, one track at a time,” being pre-MIDI for him.

With reference to the score itself, he explains, “I decided to look at some of the cues to see if we could use some elements of the theme without getting into a whole scoring date per se. We  did those electronically as well and basically wrapped it up in one day.”

“St. Elsewhere” has been released as a single, and graced such albums as “Night-Lines,” “GRP Live in Session” and the “Dave Grusin Collection.”

Read about the series and hear the theme at

The Virginian
1962  score

Dave Grusin composed the background music for a single episode of this series, possibly representing his first scoring efforts.

Wild Wild West
February 1966 score

But a single episode of this often jazz-influenced series starring Robert Conrad was scored by Dave Grusin, however, memorably so - introducing electronics at a time when they represented great innovation.

It was one of his earliest scores, and therefore, of considerable interest.

Links for info and music

Go to:   Made for Television Film Scores   

It Takes a Thief


Name of the Game

One Life to Live

St. Elsewhere

Wild Wild West

Dave Grusin
Feature Films