Part 1 - Welcome Back
Have you seen the new Applebee’s ads? They’re using two old TV theme songs to invite people back to their restaurants. I almost wrote about one of them last fall, but the ad stopped, and I forgot about it.
Now it’s back! And I’m glad! I get to hear the song again, and it makes me want to go back to Applebee’s!
This is a shot of the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter from a DVD cover. The show ran on TV from 1975 to 1979. That was my last 2 years of high school and my first 2 years of college. I loved it, and so did my friends and family!
The show was about a teacher who returned home to his old high school, the one he’d left behind for better things. He came back to take on the kids who were expected to fail. The show struck a chord across the country.
Meet the characters from the top – Juan Epstein, Mr. Woodman (the principal), and Arnold Horshack. In the middle are Julie and Gabe Kotter (the teacher and his wife). Vinnie Barbarino and Freddie ‘Boom Boom’ Washington are at the bottom. Epstein, Horshack, Barbarino, and Boom Boom were the students, and they were as interesting as their names.
Meet John Sebastian! In the 60’s he was the lead singer of the Lovin’ Spoonful. My favorite song – “Do You Believe in Magic.” The Kotter producers wanted a theme song like that, so he hired John.
I have loved “Welcome Back” since I heard it in 1975, but I didn’t know the story behind it. John tried using the main character’s name in the lyrics, but nothing rhymed with Kotter.
When you hit a wall, try something new. That’s what John did! He turned to the theme – leaving to find your dreams, returning home, and trying to do something good.
It worked! The producers even changed the show’s name to Welcome Back. They added Kotter to the end.
John only wrote one verse for the series, but the song became such a hit that he came up with a second verse and a harmonica solo. It sold over a million copies and hit #1 on Billboard’s Top 100.
Now 44 years later, his song is still earning him money. A songwriter gets paid whenever a business uses it in their commercials. Welcome Back, John!
If you’d like to hear it, click on my search link and pick the version you want:
welcome back kotter theme song - Bing
Want to see John today? Click on this link to his website:
John Sebastian (johnbsebastian.com)
- Restaurant image - By Michael Rivera - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
- Cast from Welcome Back, Kotter – Source: Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2221632
- John Sebastian - By Reprise Records - Discogs, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64534344
- Welcome Back, Kotter - Wikipedia
- Welcome Back (John Sebastian song) - Wikipedia
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!