Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How The Big Bang Theory's Theme Song Creation Involved A Shower

The 21st century has often (rightfully) been proclaimed as the golden age of television, but it certainly hasn't been quite so golden for catchy TV theme songs. Back in the day, almost every major TV show opened with a distinctive jingle, and while certain programs continue to do this — most of Netflix's slate, for example — other shows have eschewed the form entirely. Even when shows do open up with a musical number, it usually doesn't stick with you like the earworms of the past.

Unless you're talking about The Big Bang Theory. Chuck Lorre's CBS sitcom was a throwback in many ways, most notably the inclusion of a laugh track, but also in its use of a memorable theme song. From 2007 until the show's 2019 ending, every episode featured an original song by Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian alternative rock band behind hit songs like "One Week," with lyrics that rapidly describe (what else?) the Big Bang itself. 

Catchy tune aside, the song is so perfectly suited to the series that it should come as no surprise that Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson wrote it expressly for that purpose. More surprising, then, is that such a great song was only written at the last second — and that Robertson didn't even expect them to use it.  

Robertson describes himself as having been rather "jaded" at the time Chuck Lorre and company asked him to write the song, according to Entertainment Weekly, explaining, " I was overworked, I had written for a lot of different TV and movie projects that never worked out. Honestly, when I realized who Chuck Lorre was, I thought, 'This probably isn't going to work out then' because this guy is a super big deal and he probably asked 20 other songwriters to write this song."

Ed Robertson wrote the Big Bang Theory theme 20 minutes before the deadline

In fact, the creators and producers of The Big Bang Theory had not contacted any bands besides Barenaked Ladies. They knew what they wanted, and Ed Robertson's band had it. Even when they informed Robertson of this fact, though — after a conference call in which he candidly stated he wasn't interested in wasting his time if they'd contacted a bunch of bigger bands — the musician was still cynical about his odds. "Honestly, the first thing that went through my head is, 'Ah, this probably isn't going to work out.'"

They were still interested. Even then, though, as Robertson has described on his TikTok account, he was so doubtful about the whole thing that he didn't bother writing the song until the last second, and only at the urging of his wife. "I actually wasn't going to write it. The deadline was that particular morning. I was supposed to call and present the song. Hadn't written it yet. My plan was to get on the conference call and say, 'Guys, thank you so much. But I haven't had time to pull this off.' [...] I told my wife and she said, 'Who's it with?' And I said, 'Some guy, Chuck Lorre.' And she said, 'Chuck Lorre? You should Google him.' So I thought I should take a stab at it."

And stab he did. "I wrote the song in the shower 20 minutes before the conference call."

Creative professionals often describe how the best ideas hit you in the shower, right when you don't have a pen to write them down. In Ed Robertson's case, those shower thoughts resulted in a tune that played on TV for 12 seasons — and which you're now humming to yourself.