Wednesday 22 March 2023

TV On The Radio #1: Hill Street Blues

In my increasingly irrelevant quest to find lyrical references to obscure ephemera, here's a new series in which I dig out songs that mention old TV shows. I realise I'm about to reach Peak Series, or Theme Overload, but it's got to be preferable to any more posts with me whinging like Marvin The Paranoid Android. Hasn't it?

"Dispatch. We have a 9-11. Armed robbery in progress. See Surplus Store, corner People's Drive, 121st Street."

Mike Post's theme tune to Hill Street Blues deserves a post all on its own. Post originally wanted to write something gritty and action-packed, but ultimately decided to go in the opposite direction and compose a "beautiful and serene" theme that took you away from the brutality of life on the Hill. It's one of the most effective and memorable TV themes ever recorded; a Top Ten hit in the US, Top 30 in the UK.

From "beautiful and serene"... to a right old racket.

We're gonna have a TV party tonight
All right!
We're gonna have a TV party, all right
We've got nothing better to do
Than watch TV and have a couple of brews
Don't talk about anything else
We don't want to know
We're dedicated to our favorite shows
That's incredible!
Hill Street Blues!

Black Flag - TV Party

And while I'm not the biggest rap fan, I do have a soft spot for Snoop...

On the move, can't lose, Hill Street Blues

Snoop Dogg - Gangbangin' 101

Next up, here's something that screams EIGHTIES at the top of its lungs. A Jive Bunny-esque Megamix of a bunch of old 10cc songs by Kevin and Lol with added 80s-style rap, because... that's what the kids will love.

I blame the advent of the 12" single for much of this tosh...

I went to a party at the county jail
All the con's were dancing, they began to wail
They were in the street, dancing in the street
But that was indiscreet (what'cha gonna do about it?)
The band was playing, there was plenty of booze
So they called Furillo at Hill Street Blues
There's a riot going on
(What'cha gonna do about it? What'cha gonna do about it?)
Furillo and his men made it to the jail
You should have heard those sirens wail

Godley & Creme - Wet Rubber Soup (Recycled)

To clean your palate after that, here's some hard-rockin' Americana... direct from Portugal. Not to be confused with the former Scottish football player who used to play for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

I don't wanna smell your dirty shoes
Raise me up and sit me on the window
Please take me to the Hill Street Blues
Mama sold me as a wind-up toy

Finally, some Swedish rock from a band I was very into back in the late 90s... so that's, what, 25 years ago now? Sigh. Still, I started watching Hill Street Blues 40 years ago...

And hey... let's be careful out there!


  1. Love the HSB theme (who doesn't?) although personally I am also quite happy to read posts in which you channel Marvin the Paranoid Android.

    1. Yeah, but I'm just not happy writing them at the moment. I'm sure they'll return...

  2. Great idea for a series. Another great idea I should say, and I'm very impressed you've found some portuguese americana

  3. HSB theme is a real favourite of mine too, loved the series and the theme often pops up on my mp3 player in the car. Always raises a smile. I have it on 7" too and have played it out when DJing.

  4. Hill Street Blues - one of those themes where the title of the show can be recited ad infinitum over the tune

    1. I'm pretty sure Shaun Keaveny used to do it on 6Music. Back in the good old days, when I could listen to 6Music.

  5. I like the sound of this series ... hopefully it's got legs
    (like ZZ Top perhaps?)


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