‘Wheel of Fortune’: How the Theme Song Has Evolved Over the Show’s 46 Years

by Madison Miller

Even from the next room over, fans of the classic game show “Wheel of Fortune” can recognize when the show is on.

This is thanks to the catchy theme song that appears at the start of each episode. It has what sounds like an audience chanting “Wheel of Fortune” slowly and is then followed by a catchy tune.

The theme song has changed a lot over the show’s 46 years on television but is still highly recognizable.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Theme Song

According to Winona Daily News, the original theme song was created by Alan Thicke in 1975. It features the classic audience chant and hum-worthy upbeat instrumental music after. It’s called “Big Wheels.”

Thicke is well-known for his many contributions to different TV theme songs.

He wrote “The Wizard of Odds” theme in 1973 and it was his very first. Besides “Wheel of Fortune,” he also created theme songs for other game shows like “The Joker’s Wild,” “Blank Check,” “Celebrity Sweepstakes,” “The Diamond Head Game,” “Animal Crack-Ups,” and “Whew!” However, “Wheel of Fortune” is the only game that remains widely popular today.

Thicke also had a successful acting career, notably as Dr. Jason Seaver on “Growing Pains” in the ’80s. He is the father of singer Robin Thicke.

Thicke’s composition was replaced with “Changing Keys” by Merv Griffin in 1983. This would allow the show to use it for the network and syndicated versions of the show. Steve Kaplan was the music director of the show starting in 1997. He used a remix of “Changing Keys” for the theme song until replacing it with “Happy Wheels” in 2000.

“Changing Keys” was nominated for the Best Game Show Theme Song during Game Show Network’s award show in 2009. It lost to the classic “Think!” tune from “Jeopardy!”

Since 2006, Frankie Blue and John Hoke handle the music. They use “Happy Wheels” and an original rock composition for the show.

According to IMDb, the new version of “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” has a new rendition of the 2017 theme song. This is what the normal “Wheel of Fortune” program has been using since season 34.

Bleeding Finger Music gave the show all-new arrangements and cues. This does not include the Toss-up think bed, Final Spin, and Speed-Up Round cues.