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WKRP in Cincinnati theme

by

Steve Carlisle



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

WKRP in Cincinnati was a TV show about a radio station. Unlike the glorified versions of radio stations commonly portrayed on movies and TV shows, this one was realistic, which eccentric DJs, a clueless general manager and an unkempt engineer named Bucky. The show ran from 1978-1982 and was revived in 1991 in a version devoid of the authenticity and spirit of the original, which predictably failed after just 2 seasons. The remake did, however, feature both Tawny Kitaen and Michael Des Barres.

Thank you for indulging our nostalgic rant - Songfacts was created by DJs and we have an affinity for this show and the special characters we came across at radio stations just like it. Anyway, the theme song was written by the composer Tom Wells, with lyrics by the show's creator Hugh Wilson. Orchestrations were added by Jim Ellis, and it was sung by Steve Carlisle. The song tells of the transient life of a radio professional, moving from market to market in search of a better gig, unable to settle down. It's a very melancholy tune that could relate to a few different characters on the show, as the singer is telling his girl that he once again is moving on, maybe they were never meant to be, and he'll be in Cincinnati for the time being. All he can hope is that she'll think of him once in a while. Want to know what happens to this guy? Check out Harry Chapin's "W.O.L.D.."
In the '70s, shows very often had closing credits and musical themes for those as well. The one for WKRP was particularly aggressive: a rock tune with loud, unintelligible lyrics. Jim Ellis, who is the voice of those lyrics, explains: "Talk about lucking out! My first TV show turns out to be a sit-com legend. Hugh Wilson. Working for MTM Enterprises, created WKRP In Cincinnati, and Hired Tom Wells to write and produce original music for the show. Tom, in turn, hires me to arrange and orchestrate the opening theme that he and Hugh had written, and to write a rock and roll closing theme. I had originally written the closer to be an instrumental, but on the day of recording, I began joking around singing the melody that the saxophone would eventually play. Of course there were no lyrics and I was just sort of scatting gibberish. Well Hugh and Tom thought that was funny, and that it made a joke about the general unintelligibility of rock lyrics. So, out with the sax and in with the Jim Ellis' only professional job as a lead singer. Not bad if you're only going to have one."
Who is Steve Carlisle, who sings this theme? We're not sure, but we know he released an album in 1982 called Steve Carlisle sings WKRP in Cincinnati. It contains 10 songs, including this theme.
Steve Carlisle
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Comments (3):

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." The Big Guy
What a classic series!
- Brent, Denair, CA
Hey DeeTheWriter, you forgot one...."The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati" by Rose & The Arrangement
- Michael, Akron, OH
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WKRP in Cincinnati Theme by Richard Cheese
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Red and Black - Cincinnati Bearcats by The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Band
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Hard Times in Cincinnati by Jake Speed & The Freddies
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Oh, Cincinnati by The Seedy Seeds
Cincinnati Daddy by The Jungle Band
Cincinnati Revisited by Joe Wise
South of Cincinnati by Tommy Webb
Cincinnati Bengals Theme 2009 by Young Ex
Cincinnati by The Distillers
Cincinnati Growl by Roy Ayers Ubiquity
Susie Cincinnati by The Beach Boys
Cincinnati by Noah Collins
Cincinnati Rag by Jerry Douglas
Cincinnati Hat by Donte Griffin
- DeeTheWriter, Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
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