Vintage Television

Vintage TV: 1978 NBC Nightly News theme

In the 1970s and 1980s, if my parents were watching the news, you could lay down good money that it was on NBC. If we were watching CBS or ABC and they broke in with a special report, Dad changed the channel so they could see it on NBC. I never knew why.

For years, the NBC Nightly News opened with this really annoying ticker-like thing. But then they made a new open using a hummable theme with a great drum line. Here’s an example of this open from 1978 (with bits and pieces from the rest of the newscast).

I sure do miss David Brinkley’s newswriting and on-air delivery. The man minced no words.

Anyway, turns out that none other than Henry Mancini composed this theme. Like most news music, you hear only bits and pieces of the entire theme on TV. So now you can hear it in its entirety! Groove to the funky sounds of NBC News by clicking Play below.

Last updated on 25 December 2019 by Jim Grey

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14 thoughts on “Vintage TV: 1978 NBC Nightly News theme

  1. Cajundweeb says:

    Believe it or not, the clip shown is from the local NBC affiliate in San Francisco; the actual music starts about 10 seconds in from the start after a brief station ID.

  2. Brian Nemeth says:

    Another big-star composer John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Superman) also did the theme to NBC News – a.k.a. The Mission. It was released in 1985 during the Tom Brokaw-era, but the updated version for Brian Williams is playing today; The Mission theme for NBC News has been around for 24 years.

    I don’t know which ones I love: the Henry Mancini theme for the tag team of John Chancellor and David Brinkley, or the John Williams theme for Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams; I love them both.

  3. Quintessence says:

    Can you send the mp3 file to me too? I’ve tried a lot of places, but can’t find it either. Thanks!

  4. Quintessence says:

    Sorry to ask you this, but can you resend the mp3 file? My daughter wiped out the previous file you sent. Thanks!

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