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Love Boat Theme

by

Jack Jones



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

The Love Boat was a popular ABC TV show that ran from 1977-1986. It was set on a cruise ship, and followed a few plot lines each week as passengers and crew had various adventures. This song runs about 1:30, and was used to introduce the guest stars and regular characters. In the '70s and '80s, many shows had well-crafted theme songs that introduced the actors and led to the first commercial break. In the '90s, theme songs began to disappear as shows often went right to the action.
This was written by Charles Fox and Paul Williams. Along with Norman Gimbel, Fox also wrote the theme songs for Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, as well as the hit songs "Killing Me Softly With His Song" and "I Got A Name." Williams, who is also an actor and appeared on The Love Boat as a guest star, wrote for many movies, including A Star Is Born and Bugsy Malone, and crafted hits for the Carpenters and Three Dog Night. Williams told us how this song came together: "Charlie Fox gave me this melody, said that it was a new series called The Love Boat, it was about a cruise ship. We honestly didn't think it was going to last 6 weeks. We thought, who's going to watch a series about a cruise ship? And so he sent me the melody, and I thought, what's this all about? It's all about love, you know. Every episode was going to be about these three little stories... you know, meeting and falling in love, going through life stuff. And 'BOM ba da.' It's an important note, it's gotta be an important word. 'Bom, ba dee da da da,' so it's 'boats,' 'ships,' ba dee da da, you know, 'tits,' 'ba dee da da'... There's a lot of stuff you could stick in there, but the thing that seemed to work best is, 'Love, exciting and new, come aboard, we're expecting you.' The first line of the song, and you've got people on board the ship."
In 1976, Williams wrote the Oscar-winning "Evergreen" for the movie A Star Is Born, which begins with the line, "Love, soft as an easy chair." Says Williams, "You know, it's funny, because on stage I sometimes talk about that. I say, 'I'm going to do a medley of two songs that you'll never hear together again, but they're the only two songs I've ever written that begin with the word 'love.'" (Check out our interview with Paul Williams.)
When we spoke with Charles Fox, he told us how the show and the music for the theme came about. Said Fox: "When I did Love Boat, before it was a television series it was a television movie, a 2-hour movie-of-the-week. And we did two or three of them. Doug Cramer, who had been the president of Paramount Television when I did Love, American Style, he was partner on Love Boat with Aaron Spelling. And when I had the first meeting about the show, he said, 'Just think of 'Love, American Style' on the water, on a cruise ship.' The only difference is that a cast of characters would revolve around each story, whereas in Love, American Style, there are three separate segments with different casts - totally different scripts. Each one was about 12-14 minutes long. Love Boat, the cast would intertwine two or three different stories, start with the captain, with the steward, and all that. And Gopher. So that was the basic difference. But he says, 'Think of 'Love, American Style' on the high seas.'

So that had to have a spirit of adventure, you know. And I will tell you something else, I don't know if I've ever told this story to anyone, but when I sat with Doug Cramer he asked me if I knew Murder on the Orient Express, the film. It was a big movie at the time, and I said I did. He said, 'You know the shot of the train taking off - the Orient Express about to go from Paris to Venice and passing through the eastern block countries?' He said, 'There's a shot at the beginning, at the main title, where the wheel started to turn little by little, and the smoke stack.' And he says, 'There's a sense of excitement and anticipation. If you could write the same kind of music for that, I think that would be great.' So I said, 'Well, I remember that very well, and John Barry did a wonderful job with that, but it was a waltz.' I recall it being just a nice waltz which seemed to go very well with the period and all that. He said, 'Well, then, maybe you could use that as a guide.' Well, I went home and I looked at my show, and I said, 'It really has nothing to do with a waltz.' It was a big, elaborate film; it was Cinemascope with high shots of the train coming around bends. And ours needed to have more of an immediacy, it had more rhythm and more percussion. So I ended up writing the Love Boat theme with a disco beat. And Doug, when he heard it, said, 'Perfect.' (laughs) Said, 'It's exactly what I wanted.'"
Jack Jones was very popular singer in the '60s; among his hits were "Wives And Lovers," "Dear Heart" and "The Race Is On." He went on to become a successful performed in Las Vegas.
A version recorded by Dionne Warwick was used for the last season of the show.
Olivia Newton-John recorded a dance version of this song for the 2012 movie soundtrack CD A Few Best Men. (thanks, James - Minneapolis, MN)
Jack Jones
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Comments (4):

I like this song, because it has that Soul Train back-in-the-day 70s throw back beat. So what I do is dance to it. The one I am playing now the 1978 version of the show, Love Boat.
- Felicia, Milwaukee, WI
I think he was in Airplane 2 the sequel,and he was singing The Love Boat Theme.When Robert Hayes escaped from a mental hospital.I love the Love Boat Theme.
- Jennifer Harris, Grand Blanc, MI
This is the coolest song ever. I've sung it at many a karaoke bar.
- Jeff, Austin, TX
Jack Jones featured in a small cameo in the movie Flying High 2....the scene was a prison break , they shone the spot light on the prison wall and there was jack singing this song ??????
- pete, nowra, Australia
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