‘Jeopardy!’: How the Final Jeopardy! ‘Think’ Music and Theme Song Have Evolved Over the Show’s 37 Years

by Kayla Zadel
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Cue the “Jeopardy!” music. People immediately know what’s about to happen when the iconic game show “think’ music and theme song begin to play.

‘Jeopardy!’ Music History

According to IMDB, the main theme music for the first-ever “Jeopardy!” episode in 1983 was “January, February, March.” Then in 1984, the song was altered to have more of an electronic sound.

However, the music used during the “Final Jeopardy!” round was the original version of the “Think!” music. Yes, the “think song” is actually titled just that, “Think!” Furthermore, this song has remained the same for the entire 50 years of the show. But different versions have been used.

‘Jeopardy!’ Music Composed by Merv Griffin

The song is written by Merv Griffin. Griffin originally intended for the track to be a lullaby. He wrote the 30-second track in 1963 to help his five-year-old son Tony fall asleep. He called it “A Time for Tony.” What’s more, Griffin told the New York Times that he wrote it in less than a minute.

Moreover, the Final Jeopardy! “Think!” music is exactly 30 seconds long. It’s perfectly timed so that contestants know when the song is over, their 30-seconds is up to answer the final question.

Griffin made a lot of money off of his jingle used on “Jeopardy!” According to CBC, every time the “Jeopardy!” song is played, Griffin’s estate gets royalties. He died in 2007. 

“That little 30 seconds has made me a fortune, millions,” he told the New York Times in 2005. “Probably close to $70-80 million.” Since then, that figure is estimated to have exceeded $100 million.

Additionally, the iconic “Jeopardy!” track and its composer have won many awards. “Think!” was named best game show theme song at the 2009 Game Show Awards. What’s more, in 2003 Griffin won the Broadcast Music Inc. President’s Award on the strength of the “Jeopardy!” theme song.

‘Think!’ Music Variations

In 1991-1992, the main “Jeopardy!” theme was remixed with a bongo track for the tournament games. This version continued to be used in the 1992-93 season.

Then in 1997, an all-new arrangement for both the main theme and the “Final Jeopardy!” round track was made. Its jazzy orchestral arrangements are thanks in part to Steve Kaplan. Furthermore, the producers took to updating the “Jeopardy!” main theme in 2001, but with similar sounds to the previous version.

In 2008, the main theme and “Think!” got a makeover again for the show’s 25th season. This time by Chris Bell Music, Inc. However, the “Jeopardy!” theme has gone through some slight re-orchestrations since the beginning of the 25th season. Beginning October 13, 2008, the game show began using a different track of the “Think!” music from time to time until it eventually replaced the previous version.

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