Movin' On Up (Theme to The Jeffersons)

Album: TV Guide: 50 All-Time Favorite TV Themes (1975)
  • The Jeffersons was a spinoff of All in the Family in which the Bunkers' black next-door neighbors moved to a "deluxe apartment in the sky." This gospel-tinged song described their progression "on up." The show ran 1975-1985 and starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. Roxie Roker, who played their neighbor Helen Willis, is the mother of Lenny Kravitz.
  • The female lead, Ja'Net DuBois, played the role of Willona Woods on another black sitcom, Good Times. That show was a spinoff of Maude, which like The Jeffersons, was a spinoff of All in the Family. On Good Times, DuBois' character adopted a young girl named Penny, played by Janet Jackson. When Jackson was all grown up, she cast DuBois in the "Control" video as her mother.

    The male lead, Oren Waters, is gospel singer who has appeared as a backup singer on many secular pop songs, often with his family group, The Waters.
  • Ja'net Dubois wrote this song with the legendary songwriter Jeff Barry, who also sang backup vocals. Barry and his wife, Ellie Greenwich, composed several popular songs, such as "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Hearts?" "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Then He Kissed Me," "Baby I Love You," "Be My Baby," "The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget," "I Can Hear Music," and "River Deep - Mountain High."

    Dubois said of this song: "I know about black folks movin' up. I've been there."
  • The jubilant gospel choir on this track consisted of 35 black churchgoers. Despite the choir, the song is often covered by garage bands.
  • The Jeffersons featured TV's first mixed-married couple, a white husband and a black wife. It had its own short-lived spinoff, Checking In.
  • Many popular TV themes are extended and released as singles (like the Growing Pains theme), but "Movin' On Up" never was, existing only as part of the show and on various TV theme compilations. Still, the song has remarkable staying power and many young people who have never seen The Jeffersons know it well. This is largely because of sporting events, where there is only time to play short sections of songs. "Movin' On Up" fits well when a team sparks a comeback with a big play.
  • Running 1:07, this theme song took up the entire first segment of every episode of The Jeffersons. This wasn't unusual at the time, which was the golden age of TV theme songs. In later years, opening themes were cut down or eliminated to allow more time for plot development. DVRs also hastened the demise of the theme song - binge watchers skip through them.
  • Nelly sampled this for his song "Batter Up" (the title was inspired by the line in this song, "Now it's our turn at bat"). "Batter Up" was a spoof of the media's enthusiasm for sports and also featured St. Lunatics and Murphey Lee.
  • In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, rapper Ludacris said, "That's every black person's favorite TV theme, because we movin' on up!"
  • This featured in commercial for Apartments.com that aired during the 2016 Super Bowl. In the spot, Jeff Goldblum (in character as Brad Bellflower) is hoisted up a building as he plays this song on a piano. On one floor, he spots a guy dressed like George Washington standing next to the rapper Lil Wayne (known as Weezy), and asks, "Is that George and Weezy," to which Wayne replies, "Who else would it be?" Turns out they're grilling beans, since as we known from this song, beans don't burn on the grill.
  • Jennifer Hudson sang this to open a live remake of The Jeffersons that aired on ABC on May 22, 2019. Preceding it was a remake of All in the Family, with Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei singing that show's iconic theme song.

Comments: 7

  • Randy from Smyrna, TnThis song was also featured and performed twice by Victor Williams and Kevin James backed by an amazingly talented gospel choir during S7E16 of the hit television show, “King of Queens”. It was a very memorable episode!
  • Brent from Denair, CaWe finally got a piece of the pieiiiiii! What an awesome song!
  • Carolyn from Knoville, TnThis is one TV theme song that just made you feel good to hear it.
  • Krista from Carbondale, PaI LOVE this song! It's such a catchy, COOL tune! :) The Jeff's ROCK!
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnThe wife in the mixed-married couple across the hall was played by Lenny Kravitz's mom.
    This song was written and produced by Jeff Barry, who wrote "Sugar Sugar" and "I Honestly Love You", and produced "I'm A Believer" for the Monkees.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnOne of three gospel-like theme songs from Norman Lear sitcoms. The other two were Good Times and One Day at a Time.
  • Scott from Chicago, Ilone of the few tv themes you never get tired of hearing...
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