The Barney Miller Theme By Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson; A Living, Breathing TV Theme

Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson

The team of Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson wrote this theme (and the Charlie’s Angels tv theme). They scored for many shows but these two are considered iconic from that era. They were very well known separately as educators, musical directors and composer/arrangers.

Jack Elliott was musical director for the Grammys for thirty consecutive years, Judy Garland‘s musical director and creator of the Henry Mancini Institute as well as composer of many, many television and movie scores…

Allyn Ferguson was among the founders of the Dick Grove School Of Music, musical director for Julie Andrews, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme and Johnny Mathis as well as scoring for countless tv series and movies…

The Boys In The Squad Room During Barney Miller’s Prime

When you heard that funky solo bass line, you knew what you were in for! Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson‘s Barney Miller theme has all the elements of the show in that opening line and then, as soon as you get into the groove, all hell breaks loose with that trumpet. It’s hip, cornball AND nostalgic all at the same time.

Point, click, sit back, close your eyes and listen; you WILL see the old squad room with Barney Miller and the boys laying out the laughs…

*Personnel as determined:  Bass: Chuck Berghofer; Guitar: Dan Ferguson

*There were different musicians on sessions for: first year’s theme, second year’s theme, and the 45 rpm record. Trumpet on this first year’s theme was Gary Barone, later to become Chuck Findley for all others. David Foster played keyboards on the single (released on our Feel Records), but it was Allyn, who actually played keyboards on all TV sessions! Sol Gubin on drums here, and after that, was Paul Humphreys.

*The TV themes that stay with me reflect every character, every episode, the times the series took place in AND the genre of theatre applicable; fresh forever in my music mind.

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10 thoughts on “The Barney Miller Theme By Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson; A Living, Breathing TV Theme

  1. Hi – Thanks so much for your blog & mention of my father, Allyn Ferguson. So nice to hear you appreciate his music, as a young musician. He was very prolific & loved to write. (1 small correction, if I’m understanding info listed above). Bass player for Barney Miller theme was actually the terrific, Chuck Berghofer & my brother, Dan, was the great guitar player:) We’re working on a website & someday hope to have much Allyn Ferguson music available, in its various forms. Cheers! Jillian Ferg

    • I appreciate the correction Jillian. I care a lot about the detail and really try to be accurate. Thanks for connecting with me on this. I will definitely be watching for your website featuring your father’s great work! All the best, AF

  2. Hi Arnold,
    Me, again! I happened to come across this again, and was talking to my brother about which particular ‘take’ this session came from. It was the very first season. And, he says there were different musicians on sessions for: first year’s theme, second year’s theme, and the 45 rpm record. Trumpet on this first year’s theme was Gary Barone, later to become Chuck Findley for all others. David Foster played keyboards on the single (released on our Feel Records), but it was Allyn, who actually played keyboards on all TV sessions! Sol Gubin on drums here, and after that, was Paul Humphreys! All the best, and I enjoy your tracks. Jill

    • Jillian,

      Nice to hear from you; you know I am thirsty for this stuff! I also love detail! If you don’t mind, I would like to add this info as you stated.

      Kindest Regards, A

      • Sure! I’m also a bit of a detail fanatic, and search for the same about my father and brother & their projects, as well.

  3. I am looking for an arrangement for jazz band for this terrific theme song. Hal Leonard offered one, but it has long been out of print. Any ideas?

    • Hi Cher,
      My brother, Dan Ferguson would be able to help you. He played on the original session and all of the episodes. He is also a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and often wrote with my father, Allyn Ferguson. You are welcome to email us or call the office. 818.222.5444.

  4. Pingback: Glass Ceilings | Untossed Coin

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