As Long As We Got Each Other (Theme From Growing Pains)

Album: Midnight Minute (1985)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the theme song to the TV series Growing Pains, which ran on ABC for seven seasons from 1985-1992. The wholesome sitcom drew strong ratings and launched the career of Kirk Cameron, who starred as oldest son Mike Seaver. A young Leonardo DiCaprio was added to the cast in season 7, but by then the show had jumped the shark.

    This was a time when 30-minute comedies (23 minutes minus ads) were willing to devote a full minute to the opening themes, so the song was crucial. Many of the top shows - Cheers, The Golden Girls, Family Ties - had songs viewers knew by heart. Producers of Growing Pains commissioned two seasoned songwriters to compose the theme: John Bettis and Steve Dorff. Bettis had co-written hits for The Carpenters, including "Top Of The World" and "Yesterday Once More." Dorff's credits included "I Just Fall in Love Again" by Anne Murray and "Through The Years" by Kenny Rogers.

    Another trend at this time was to leave the show title out of the lyrics so the song could focus on the feeling - it would be hard to convey much emotional depth in a song called "Growing Pains." Bettis and Dorff came up with a song called "As Long As We Got Each Other," which dialed in on the bonds that held the Seaver family together - no matter what happens, they're there for each other.
  • The theme went through a number of changes throughout the show's run. The season 1 version was sung entirely by B.J. Thomas of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" fame. In season 2, Jennifer Warnes, best known for her Joe Cocker duet "Up Where We Belong," sang it with Thomas. By season 4, the show was hit and a full version of the theme was recorded so it could be sold as a single and distributed to radio. Bettis and Dorff extended it into a full song (running 4:20), that was recorded by Thomas and Dusty Springfield. The full version was released in 1989 and appeared on Thomas' album Midnight Minute; the truncated version ran on the show. The Thomas/Warnes version returned in season 5, then an a cappella version with studio singers was used in the last two seasons.
  • Growing Pains faced stiff resistance, as many executives didn't like it's chances. The song's cowriter Steve Dorff was one of they naysayers. "When I saw the pilot, I didn't think it had a snowball's chance in hell of going on the air, let alone running seven seasons," he said in a Songfacts interview.
  • Frankie Valli was considered for this song, but Steve Dorff helped convince the producers that B.J. Thomas was a better fit.

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