“Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)” by Joey Scarbury

I don’t watch a lot of television or listen to much modern music nowadays.. It seems to me, though, the days are gone when a TV show theme song could become a big hit. In this particular case, the song was a bigger hit than the show which had only one full season (and parts of two more).

Despite the show’s lack of success, most ’80s kids (like myself) remember it. Admittedly, I remember very little about it besides William Katt’s inability to land and Robert Culp eating what appeared to be dog biscuits. I wonder if the show wouldn’t have faded even further from all of our memories if not for the success of this song. Were it not for “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, it probably would’ve topped the charts.

The show has lived on in subtle references in later hit shows like “Seinfeld”, “Heroes” (with William Katt guesting on a few episodes), and “The Big Bang Theory”. The theme song has been heard in a few movies over the years, including “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”.

In a bit of synchronicity, Michael Pare appeared in most of the series’ episodes. He was the star of the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers” which bombed at the box office but produced a chart-topping hit (“On the Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band). The movie found a second life through numerous showings on HBO and local television stations. That led to one of the worst sequels I’ve ever seen, “Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives”.

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