The Man Behind The Catchiest Theme Song Of The 80s Was More Than A One Hit Wonder

Do you remember flipping on the TV just in time to hear the instrumental theme song to ALF?

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Without a doubt one of the most memorable shows of of the 80’s, ALF crash lands into the Tanner family for 99 episodes over four seasons and hilarity ensues.

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Originally from the planet Melmac, ALF is taken in by Willie and Kate Tanner, along with their children Lynn and Brian and the family cat Lucky.

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In tune with the theme song, the composer of this iconic rhythm was none-other, than a man named Alf Clausen.

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Clausen had some great work under his belt before moving to this memorable TV show, starting with The Partridge Family. In the 1970s, he worked on variety shows, acting as music director for both Donny & Marie and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour.

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After ALF wrapped in 1990, Clausen was out of work for months. Then one day he got a call.

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“I’m a producer on a television series, we’re looking to change composers,” the man said, “and we were wondering if you would come in for an interview.”

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That series was none-other than The Simpsons.

The Man Behind The Catchiest Theme Song Of The 80s Was More Than A One Hit Wonder
NME

Simpson creator Matt Groening told the composer, “We don’t look upon this as being a cartoon, but a drama where the characters are drawn, and we would like it scored that way. Can you do that?”

His audition was for the episode, “The Simpons Treehouse of Horror I” in season 2 and he passed the test. He then got the gig as The Simpons’ composer.

The Man Behind The Catchiest Theme Song Of The 80s Was More Than A One Hit Wonder
IndieWire

You may not know it to watch, but the show has a strong musical element. In one week Clausen had to whip up 57 musical cues.

ALF even made an appearance in a couple episodes of The Simpons, which to most was just a pop culture reference, but to others it was an inside nod to the composer.

In August 2017, Clausen was let go from the production after 27 years of providing music for the hit show.

Clausen said he received a call from producer Richard Sakai, saying that the company was seeking a “different kind of music” and that he would no longer be scoring the show.

During his run with the series he won two Emmy’s in 1997 and 1998 and had another 21 nominations dating back to 1992. He ended up scoring more than 560 episodes during his work on The Simpsons and is believed to be the most-nominated composer in Emmy history with a total 30 nominations overall.

The Man Behind The Catchiest Theme Song Of The 80s Was More Than A One Hit Wonder
TVLine

Speculation surrounding his dismissal points to a cost-cutting measure that the show has been under fire in the last few years.

Clausen used a 35-piece orchestra every week, something that Groening insisted on at the start of the show.

Source: MeTV / Variety

Emma C
Freelance Writer