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.


14 responses to “Vintage TV: 1978 NBC Nightly News theme”

  1. Cajundweeb Avatar

    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. Jim Avatar

    Cajundweeb: Yeah, except the video was deleted for a terms of service violation.

  3. Jim Avatar

    Replaced the video with another copy of the same one from elsewhere on YouTube.

  4. Brian Nemeth Avatar
    Brian Nemeth

    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.

  5. ghettopeople Avatar

    Can you open that MP3 to download for a day or two? I’ve been looking all over for it.

    1. Jim Avatar

      The magic Internet fairies should have delivered it to your e-mail inbox by now.

      1. ghettopeople Avatar

        Thx for that…makes my year!!

  6. Quintessence Avatar

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

  7. Quintessence Avatar

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

  8. Eddie Avatar

    Would love to get a copy of the mp3 (Mancicni NBC Nightly News Theme)

    1. Jim Avatar

      The magic Internet fairies have delivered a link to your e-mail inbox!

      1. Adam Avatar

        I just heard this again after 30 years…memories! Can I get a copy of the theme song?

        1. Jim Avatar

          Check your e-mail.

          1. Adam Avatar

            Thank you so very much, and Happy Holidays!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.