Music Week: ABC World News Tonight

ABC World News Tonight
Dun dunnnn dun-dun! Dunnnn dun dun-dun dun-dun!

You've heard this theme already. I know you know it — assuming you live in the USA. Bob Israel (who also worked on music for The Price Is Right) wrote this famous "umbrella theme", used for everything from 20/20 to Nightline, also a convenient audio signal that extremely boring television was about to come on when I was a kid.

But have you ever heard the full version of the theme? Did you know it got awesomely funky?

ABC World News Tonight.mp3 (970 KB)

Yeah! I know! I was as suprised as you were. Tip of the ear to Jake Rodkin!


Damn, oh shit! It is some nasty funky dank sound.

This is incredible! I feel like dancers should start coming out into the news room and shakin' it behind the anchor.
Blogger Danny Cohen 3/01/2006 11:18 AM  
Are you sure somebody didn't add the CHiPs theme on the end?
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 12:17 PM  
It sounds like something from one of those old NFL films. ABC News is SERIOUS and MANLY.
Anonymous Nate 3/01/2006 12:30 PM  
Man, I'm Canadian and I still have fond memories of this song. But whoa... this is just... it's like, a whole nother level, dude. Crazy disco beats!
Blogger Luke 3/01/2006 12:54 PM  
I think I remember this from my college years watching ABC World News Now with Aaron Brown (this was over 10 yrs ago now). It was the 2am-4am slot, and they had time to fill. It's nothing compared to the "World News Polka."
Blogger pickabone 3/01/2006 2:26 PM  
pickabones right i remember the whole deal from being a kid they used to play the whole deal.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 2:51 PM  
if you can find a copy of the full Price is Right theme, there is similar funkiness in the last 3-4 seconds of the song. It's the same ol' price is right... and then suddenly WHOAH!!! Bob Barker could break a hip listening to that!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 3:13 PM  
I got chills.
Anonymous Hoffmania 3/01/2006 3:13 PM  
Kinda funky. Not bad, but not what I'd expect for a News broadcast. What I really wish for is the full theme for PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer".
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 4:25 PM  
I'm a little young for this version, i'm used to the far less funky version from 1989 onward. Yes i know the year because i SEARCHED for the theme and i found a website that had it along with the ones from the network news shows. I think the quality of the news programs sucks overall, but the theme music was always catchy.
Blogger warsux 3/01/2006 4:28 PM  
Freakin sweet.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 5:28 PM  
Blogger Neil 3/01/2006 5:29 PM  
They've aired the entire track, like, a ka-zillion times. (That's a real number; I, uh, looked it up...). They'd roll the whole thing when the broadcast came up short or under sponsor billboards. It's the same theme since Roone Arledge took over the news division in the '70s. This version, I believe, is only its second incarnation & has been around since the early-to-mid '80s
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 10:11 PM  
This sort of theme music always puts me in mind of that hilarious duo in Broadcast News who walked around with the portable keyboard, dreaming up & demo-ing new, dynamic 'news themes.'

(to the Usher brothers)
Can I help you?

We're here to play the new news theme.

New theme? You don't need me for this.

Stay. Why should I be the only one
to feel silly?

We need a synthesizer -- but this
will give you an idea.

Go ahead.
(to Ernie) Wasn't he great?

It worked.

Man Two has the keyboard out and begins playing the prospective news theme: a suite meant to have majesty and drive, a towering
composition -- the effect of it somewhat lessened by the fact that the two men VOCALIZE OTHER INSTRUMENTS over the keyboard.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/01/2006 10:48 PM  
for some odd reason i am reminded of the commercials: "sometimes, i get that not-so-fresh feeling"(massengill) ... or, "when i bite into a york peppermint patty...i get THE SENSATION that I'M ON A MOUNTAIN!!!...." Perhaps those were the commercials on during the news? Or perhaps I'm delusional and watched much too much television as a young teen in the early eighties. Ya think?
Anonymous boomboom potato-head 3/02/2006 5:46 AM  
Meh. It's a crap theme. Generic is about the best you can say about it. "Awesomely funky"- you're kidding, right? Herbie Hancock's Headhunters- now that was awesomely funky.
Anonymous loony leftist 3/02/2006 6:31 AM  
Growing up in Philly (though I haven't been there in a million years) the ABC affiliate's news show (Action News) had its own awesomely funky news theme, complete with bongos. And lyrics! "Move closer to the world, my friend/ Take a little bit of tiiiiiimmeee/ Move closer to the WORLD my friend, and you'll seeeeeee." It was really awsomely bad, in retrospect.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/02/2006 12:03 PM  
Yeah action news!! The lyrics were sweet and nice, but the music DEMANDED that you watch!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/02/2006 2:28 PM  
ABC News theme was written by Edd Kalehoff. He, indeed, write the theme to The Price Is Right. Kalehoff also wrote the theme to CBS News 48 Hours and the little seen but fondly remembered "West 57th" which featured a hot young Meredith Verira.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/02/2006 8:02 PM  
Well, I've listened to it twice now and swear I'm not hearing anything new. As a "Nightline" junkie through the Kopel years and a musician with a reasonably keen ear (and memory) for interesting chord progressions, rhythms, et al, I feel sure I must have heard the entire version many times. Are you telling me "Nightline" didn't play this as their closing theme on (at least) a somewhat regular basis? If so, I must be losing it.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/02/2006 9:44 PM  
To follow up on what warsux said, this theme run from 1978 - 1989. You can find more themes from ABC, NBC, & CBS at Unfortunately, they are are all in Real Audio format. But still interesting to listen to.
Anonymous Pete S. 3/04/2006 1:15 PM  
I digg that theme, but i was curious if you have World News Polka, that is a funny theme song.
Blogger Maleboe 3/10/2006 9:36 PM  
Lots of ABC Themes here. And I love the World News Polka!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/23/2006 1:36 PM  
Nice theme song, guys!
Anonymous Jean-Claude 12/18/2006 10:34 AM  
Where can I get a download for this?
Blogger D Web 1/02/2007 11:06 PM  
OMG that was exactly what i needed for my project. you're awesome!!!!!!
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