How the ‘A-Team’ Theme Ripped Off Another Famous Rock Song

by Megan Molseed

Maybe fans of the classic TV primetime series The A-Team have noticed it before. But for those who haven’t, it’s a bit of a revelation to learn that the popular 1980s action series ripped off another very famous rock tune for the unforgettable theme song.

Fans of the 1980s and 1990s television remember well that the right theme song was key. Even to this day, it’s easy to find ourselves rocking out to some of these most classic theme songs.

From the theme to The Rockford Files; the Hill Street Blues theme song; The Andy Griffith Show; or Gomer Pyle USMC, the creators of the A-Team theme song had some big projects under their belt by the time this series came along. And, not only did they know what the audiences wanted; but they also knew how to achieve it. A process that includes taking a snippet from the 1967 hit song Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream.

The A-Team’s Theme Song Comes From The Minds Of Some Big Names In The Industry; As Well As One 1960s Rock N’ Roll Hit

Longtime TV theme song composer Mike Post was approached to create the A-Team’s theme song not long before the show’s premiere. This invitation came after Post won awards for his work on the theme music for The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues. And, the composer notes, he was drawn to the A-Team script almost immediately.

“That script,” Mike post remembers in a discussion with Television Academy. “I laughed till I cried.”

Post quickly partnered with Pete Carpenter, another veteran in the TV theme song business. Carpenter had a hand in developing the theme song for shows multiple popular shows. Shows such as Bewitched, The Andy Griffith Show, and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

When the two TV theme song legends came together on the project, they both agreed that the end result has to “be military”. This, the composers note, is “because that’s where these guys all met.”

The Composers Knew Exactly The Element They Needed To Pull In To Create The A-Team Theme’s Unique Sound

However, coming into the project, Post had a very specific idea in mind already for one piece of the hit TV series theme song.

“The middle section’s gotta be: let’s rip off Cream,” Post recalls of his initial conversation with Carpenter about the project. “Let’s rip off Sunshine of Your Love in the middle section.”

And, it’s something a fan cannot un-hear once the two songs are played back to back. There is no doubt that there is a major element of Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love in the A-Team theme song. A combination that introduced a whole new generation to the song that was produced 15 years before the A-Team premiered on NBC.