Quick … sing a few bars of the Different Strokes theme song! Or, sure, even the Diff’rent Strokes theme song, if you want to be historically correct.
If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, I’ll bet you didn’t have any trouble coming up with a few lines about how there is more than one drum in the world.
Or two with jeans (or is it genes?).
I mean, it was an iconic song, right? And an iconic show.
And Al Burton’s vocals struck the perfect chord (ba dum tss).
But did you ever stop wonder who the musical genius (?) was that slid us into the super-rich but turmoiled world of Arnold and Willis Jackson, and their adopted family, the Drummonds every week?
Who was it that put us in the mood for Mr. Drummond and Mrs. Garrett and Janet Jackson (not that we needed much prodding there)?
Well, that dude was none other than Alan Thicke!
Now, surely I don’t mean the same Alan Thicke who rose to national prominence as Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains … do I?
I certainly do, as sure as every red-blooded male at least once misheard that show’s title as “groin pains” and cringed accordingly.
See, before Thicke was a suave, thicke-haired television heartthrob (in an old-man sorta way), he spent a lot of his creative energies writing TV themes songs.
His tune credits include the themes to …
The Facts of Life
Wheel of Fortune
The Joker’s Wild
So he was kind of everywhere, with a seeming focus on game shows. In fact, you might even say that daytime TV was, um, Thicke with Alan’s songs.
But the Diff’rent Strokes theme may have been his best and most famous of them all. And it also got a little funkier than many of Thicke’s other offerings, pumping out smooth vocals and rich harmonies.
If you squint your ears (you can do that, right?), you could almost imagine Alan’s son, Robin Thicke singing this one, maybe alongside his controversial “Blurred Lines” on the album called … well, called Blurred Lines.
But this isn’t about Robin.
It’s about Alan Thicke, and how he brought Diff’rent Strokes to the world each week for the better part of a decade.
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