There was no greater thrill on a Saturday morning than hearing the opening chords of your favorite animated series. There are so many unforgettable cartoon theme songs of the '90s that you'd watch the series just to be greeted by those dulcet tones. Even now, you could flock to YouTube to relive that simpler time... but you don't have to. Because, for your own nostalgic purposes, I've rounded up some iconic '90s cartoon themes, some of which practically upstaged the rest of the whole damn series.
From the songs that spelled out an entire series to the tunes that showed you an entire world, it's all here. And not only did they accurately define a story or atmosphere, but these quality themes that have such a high re-listen rate all seemed to coincide within that era. Perhaps it was because so many '80s New Waves greats had settled down enough to try their hand at composing (we hear you Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman) and we '90s kids got to reap the musical benefits. Either way, I'm incredibly grateful for it.
So, without further delay, scroll down for a list of some of the most memorable cartoon theme songs from our childhood.
My father once lauded this as the best-but-most-annoying theme song of all time. The vocals are grating, and there's a whole spoken word interlude. It's amazing.
This is the only vintage theme song I have downloaded on my iPhone, it is that good.
3'Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers'
Similar and lesser to Duck Tales, but that "Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale" is key.
Damn near iconic, it has a good jazzy vibe, and you can't escape those choruses of "Hey Arnold!" Like, you know what show you're watching.
5'Sonic the Hedgehog'
He's the fastest thing alive! And we'll never forget!
During that one month everyone was obsessed with "Pokemon Go," I ended up finding 500 ways to creatively repurpose this theme song.
7'Batman: The Animated Series'
Really I'm just remembering Elfman's original theme from the Tim Burton films, but, nevertheless, a great song.
An absurdist show with a perfectly epic theme.
9'Tiny Toon Adventures'
Looney Tunes but with a modern twist! It... literally describes both the show and its theme.
Please. Like you couldn't hum this theme from memory at any given moment.
11'The Powerpuff Girls'
Not only do you know the music, but you can easily recite the girls' original story.
The music perfectly captures Dexter's constant struggle with the destructive DeeDee.
We can join the Warner brothers (and the Warner sister Dot) in singing along.
It's understated, yeah, but it also hasn't left your mind since 1991.
15'The Ren & Stimpy Show'
It's no "Happy Happy, Joy, Joy" or "Log," and yet the lyricless "Dog Pound Hop" still stands out.
It's an expert use of "la la la la-las."
It almost sounds like a military march.
18'The Angry Beavers'
Those horns, tho.
19'Rocko’s Modern Life'
You get the full O-Town tour in under a minute.
They really burn that "Freakazoid" into your brain.
Anything besides "let's get dangerous" is maybe a bit hazy, although I can't forget Darkwing Duck if only for that line.
There's definitely a solid jungle beat behind all this.
OK, SpongeBob isn't technically off the air yet, so this one feels like a cop out. However, it's a song that is eternally ready for a sing-along.
Bleh, I could really do without Rocket Power and its theme song. At the same time, I won't be forgetting either anytime soon.
What was the idea behind this one? Something fast and... kinda country.
OK, but I still don't understand how "Heart" is an element.
The whole reason I caption so many pictures with "fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight."
It's lightening fast and peppered by Johnny's "hoo ha hoos" and bursts of narcissism.
OK, most of the show aired in the '80s. Yet this song was a huge part of baby Mary Grace's life circa '91, '92.
It's always a wonderful kind of day with this aardvark and his anthropomorphic friends.
Sorry not sorry for all the songs you now won't be able to get out of your head, guys.