‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Explains Why Show Returned to Its ‘Old’ Theme Music for New Season

by John Jamison
(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Pat Sajak and Vanna White have been hosting “Wheel of Fortune” together since 1982. Over that time, they have seen plenty of changes to the set and have heard the theme music change a handful of times. For the past few seasons, the show got away from its classic theme music. But one of the old tunes is back with a modern spin this time around. The two hosts explained why in a clip posted to the show’s Instagram account.

For reference, from 1983 to 1989, “Wheel of Fortune” used a theme song called “Changing Keys.” It’s not quite as recognizable as the “Jeopardy!” theme music. But then again, it’s a subjective thing. The classic “Wheel” theme is certainly familiar enough to conjure up a few memories, depending on the person.

Well, those particular fans can rejoice. Apparently, “Changing Keys” is coming back this season with an updated arrangement. It’s one of many changes Pat Sajak discussed in a video recently.

“A number of changes. I mean the set looks terrific, I think. A nice clean look to it. We’re going to see more of Jim Thornton this year. I’ll leave it to America to decide if that’s a good thing or not,” Sajak began.

“And music is nice. So remember the old theme? The last several years we had the theme “I Defy You.” I’ll give you a hundred dollars right now if you can hum last year’s theme. Nobody knew it. Everybody knew (hums). And it’s back. Isn’t that exciting? And the music throughout the show is very nice,” the longtime host continued.

Sajak added that they’d discuss the changes further throughout the week. The new season is getting underway, and it has a whole new look.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans Weigh In on the Theme Music Change

Don’t mess with people’s game shows. For some, watching programs like “Wheel of Fortune” is a decades-old tradition. It follows that many fans take things like a change in theme music very seriously. Thankfully, most appeared to take the news pretty well.

“I’m so happy that Changing Keys is back! Even though I grew up with Happy Wheels by Steve Kaplan throughout the 2000s!” one “Wheel” aficionado commented.

“Glad ‘Changing Keys’ is back! Great to hear Merv Griffin’s theme songs on both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Just as ‘Think Music’ is synonymous with Jeopardy, ‘Changing Keys’ is synonymous with Wheel of Fortune!” Another commented.

But not everyone is a huge fan of the music tweak. The nostalgia factor didn’t have the same effect for at least one person.

“Okay, so the music during the toss-ups is so distracting that I can’t even concentrate on the puzzle. I have no idea how the contestants do it unless the music is added after,” one annoyed fan commented.