William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Readers: Pick Your Theme Song

It’s summer and everybody’s on vacation, except, it seems, Yours Truly. And whoever is left is over at Anthony’s place fighting the Kaya wars. (My side? Take a look at the guy who introduces Pielke Jr in this video. Would you believe any equation/identity introduced from a man who purposely spikes his hair? Fashion tip: Never do that.)

So with all this inactivity on our hands, it’s about time we settled on theme songs, which is to say, leitmotifs. A tune or snippet of a melody that, when heard, tells listeners Briggs has done it again.

Long ago, it had been suggested to me that this offering by Mac Davis would fit best:

But that was then. And since this is now a more humble and self-effacing self speaking to you, something softer and more enlightened is in order.

Note carefully: a theme song is not your favorite pop song. If it were, I might nominate Where Oh Where Are You Tonight? (apologies for not linking to a better version, but the rights holders keep having YouTube delete the good ones).

No, a theme song tells people who are you, what you are about, and what you are going to do. It should accomplish this task in as few as notes as possible.

Yet must brevity be all? The most memorable television theme songs used to last a full minute; now they are five to ten seconds. But that’s because production companies have to make a profit. Ideally, Yours Truly would, too, but we can’t have everything.

There is no end to this post. I don’t have a candidate replacement in mind. I’ll work on it.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear your theme songs, especially those of regular contributors. If any are at their computers, that is.

Note that links to YouTube are sometimes quarantined by WordPress. Best to cut and paste the URL directly. If yours seems lost, don’t worry, I’ll un-quarantine it in time.


  1. “The Way” by Fastball comes to mind. Just drive away and keep on going.

    I considered “What Doesn’t Kill You” by Kelly Clarkson, but using a depressed individual who hated life’s words as a triumph song was just too hard on my brain.

  2. “Chances Are” popped up first, but too mushy. This is much better for a lone voice upholding right and justice:

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_s-Qk07KxA

    Sticking with the folk/country theme…this is all you brother. Not trying to inflate your ego anymore…but I must write this. You will be remembered for the stance you have taken my friend. History will be kind to you sir.

  4. I was going to choose something classical or a hymn, and then thought…what would people think of this old nerd… so here’s the best (along with “American Pie” and “Sounds of Silence”)
    “Let it Be” by the Beatles.

  5. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 19, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Some have suggested “I am the walrus,” but this would be unseemly and an insult to walri. Hard to decide between “Madame Bonaparte” played on the uillean pipes by Finbar Furey (no YouTube) or the clarinet solo in “High Society” played by the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra (it’s in the trio section). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqOHEbeYv0U at 2:16.

  6. Hooray For Captain Spaulding from “ANIMAL CRACKERS”

  7. hey YOS, if instrumental is allowed I’ll do Klezmer–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQTWUaM78oc

  8. Synchronicity II by the Police!


  9. The Lettermen. Heading for the Hills

  10. Spiked hair? Peak of fashion.

  11. Who Are You? The Who

  12. Briggs, I’ll have to think about what my theme song would be, but you might consider this for yours. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMV44yoXZ0

  13. Me And My Arrow, by Harry Nilsson http://youtu.be/U1n9QTkrkP0

    I sweat I hear it playing my head everywhere I go! LOL!


  14. Ask me tomorrow and I will take a different pick. Today: Tom Waits — I’ll be gone.

  15. Sander van der Wal

    July 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Time Actor by Richard Wahnfried: video link.


  16. Otis Redding – “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” for me.
    And for for a dapper dresser like yourself – “Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces”

  17. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    “Für Elise” in rag time could have been played by Dr. Briggs. In fact, it almost looks like it was:

    video link


  18. Grateful Dead – Touch of Grey

    (Sorry, no access to YouTube at this moment.)

  19. My theme song can only be:


    For Briggs has done it again we have:


    Payback for last Saturday.

  20. Oh… I meant to suggest that Briggs consider the Greatful Dead song as his theme song. My life is too bland to warrant a theme song.

  21. YOS,

    Technically it’s a “stride” piece and not ragtime although the right hand is mostly a rag. At one point he even played it as a boogie-woogie. The style is similar to Joe Sullivan’s rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor called “Minor Mood.”

    Frankly, I don’t think there is any musical piece that comes close to summarizing me so I don’t have a theme song or even just a theme. Guess I must be unique. Flight of the Bumblebee maybe although the E-CF-E-C refrain running throughout is pure Gvidon.

  22. If allowed, one more offer. More in keeping with the images on your home page:

  23. I think Bruce is leading with Peter Gun but

    For Brigg’s, I am torn between
    Theme song of the pink panther,
    Lara’s song,
    In the halls of the mountain king (by Cleveland Orceshstra please!)

    Me. Truth be known – it’s wasted day and wasted nights

  24. “Kyrie eleison” from Bach’s B minor mass. “Lord have mercy” seems more than appropriate…


  25. I’m torn between three:

    Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C sharp minor (popularly known as “Moonlight”)

    Lalo Schifrin’s “Mission Impossible” Theme

    “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC

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