Monday, October 17, 2011

Gary Portnoy - "Where Everybody Knows Your Name"

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Cheers Theme) - Keeper

(Debuted April 30, 1983, Peaked #83, 4 Weeks on the Chart)

Most casual music fans may not recognize the singer, but TV fans know the song very well. Yes, this is the theme song to the 1982-'93 TV show Cheers, which many may not have realized had other verses, or even was released as a single. "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" was released during the show's first season, when it was not yet a hit series. Many fans have forgotten that the show was nearly cancelled due to poor ratings during that first year (it ranked #71 among the 74 shows), and the theme song had not yet become iconic.

The song began life due to a Broadway play called Preppies. Glen & Les Charles thought that one of the songs would be perfect for the TV show they were beginning and asked Gary Portnoy if they could use it. Unfortunately, that song was legally tied to the show and unavailable so Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo worked on some other ideas for songs and eventually came up with "Where Everybody Knows Your Name." The Charles brothers loved it and a very familiar opening was set.

Gary Portnoy wasn't content to make his mark on a single American TV show in the 1980s, either. He also recorded the theme to the show Punky Brewster, and wrote the theme to Mr. Belvedere (which Leon Redbone sang). Neither of those was released as a single, however.

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